Every year, hundreds of motorcyclists are injured and killed on the roads of Massachusetts. The statistics can be staggering - especially when they reveal that passenger vehicle fatalities occur at a mere fraction of the rate of fatal motorcycle accidents. Luckily, new technologies are making motorcycles safer for riders. If you or a loved one has been injured on a motorcycle, you have legal rights which must be protected. An experienced Boston motorcycle accident attorney can help you carefully consider the viability of your case.
The Rising Rates of Motorcycle Injuries
Traffic fatalities across the United States declined after the economic crash of 2008. Slowly, Americans returned to the road, and traffic fatalities are again on the upswing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that 2016 traffic fatalities are at least eight percent higher than 2015 fatalities (which were, in turn, 7.2 percent higher than 2014 fatalities). NHTSA also reported that, in 2014, motorcycle fatalities occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles. Motorcycles have been repeatedly demonstrated to be less safe than passenger vehicles over decades of research.
This is not to say motorcyclists should not ride, but they must operate on the defense. They can never assume another driver sees them or is even halfway paying attention or exercising reasonable care.
The Massachusetts General Laws contains general provisions for rider safety. These include guidelines for number of passengers, lane use, headlight use, and handlebar height. These basic rules of the road are not, however, entirely sufficient to prevent fatal motorcycle accidents. New motorcycle technologies are improving and expanding in ways that can help riders both meet their legal duty of care and prevent fatal traffic accidents.
New Safety Features Save Lives and Help Riders Meet Legal Obligations
FairWarning reports that anti-lock braking systems are becoming standard features in motorcycles. Despite support from NHTSA and other powerful advocates, ABS is not yet required in the United States. It is still a widely-available feature, however, and consumers are wise to access its protection. It is interesting to note that both the California Highway Patrol and New York City Police Department require all motorcycles in their fleets to carry ABS.
Motorcycle buyers should also consider other features which can help them meet this obligation. For example: engine size affects speed, and this can be a problem for new or inexperienced riders who are not prepared to manage a powerful engine. Other intriguing safety options are in various stages of research and development. Airbag vests and jackets; safer helmets with GPS and backup cameras; LED and adaptive headlights; gloves with Bluetooth connectivity; system monitoring and diagnostic warnings; electronic stability control; and many other such innovations may soon become widely available to consumers. With so many options, it can be difficult to know what safety features are most important. Motorcycle buyers should carefully research all options and identify those which best suit their riding needs.