Proceed with caution: Georgia motorcyclists hit the road for fall colors

Georgia motorcyclists are hitting the roads to take in the fall beauty.

According to WJBF.com, Georgia has about 200,000 people who have registered motorcycles and they will certainly be put to good use as bikers head out to take in the autumn colors along the state's scenic byways. Georgia has it all: mountains, forests, open plains and the Atlantic coastline. But Georgians on their cycles need to take good care to stay as safe as possible to avoid motorcycle accidents on Peach State roads.

Motorcycle accident statistics

The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety reports that from 2007 through 2011, 11 percent of all traffic fatalities were of motorcyclists. Of those, about one-tenth of those who died were not wearing helmets.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC provides on its website information about the nature of motorcycle crashes as gleaned from 2001 through 2008. For example:

  • More than half of all injuries that did not result in death and were treated in emergency rooms were leg, foot, head or neck injuries.
  • The demographic with the highest fatality and injury rates were riders in their 20s
  • The overall economic cost of motorcycle accidents is about $12 billion annually.

Common sense safety

The CDC advises that motorcyclists:

  • Wear approved helmets; a rider without a helmet is 40 percent more likely to sustain a fatal head injury in an accident and Georgia has a universal helmet law that requires all riders to wear them.
  • Do not get on a motorcycle or let anyone else do so after drinking any alcohol.
  • Do not follow the vehicle in front of you too closely; keep a safe distance.
  • Wear protective clothing, gear and footwear to prevent road rash (severe injury to skin from sliding on pavement in an accident).
  • Wear bright colors and display reflective markings.
  • Do not speed and slow down for adverse weather or road conditions.

The reasons to ride safely are obvious. An unprotected rider in an accident with a heavy motor vehicle is at a severe disadvantage and at risk of death, broken bones, road rash and traumatic brain injury.

Safe riding important, but so are safe driving practices of those in motor vehicles

A biker can follow all the safety tips and obey Georgia traffic laws, but if those in heavier vehicles drive negligently or recklessly to cause collisions with motorcycles, those car and truck drivers will be legally liable for resulting injury and death to motorcycle drivers and passengers.

If another driver is driving while distracted such as by cell phone use or eating, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise disobeying the rules of the road, any Georgia biker injured as a result should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible about potential legal remedies, such as a personal injury lawsuit.

Similarly, a Georgian who has lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident should consult an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer about whether a wrongful death suit is appropriate.

Keywords: Georgia, motorcycle accident, statistics, fatality, helmet, CDC, injury, safety, distracted driving, negligence, personal injury lawsuit, wrongful death

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