Every year, the roads of West Virginia are the site of many fatal motorcycle accidents which devastate victims and family members. Claims for damages following a crash can be made by a rider (or passenger) who can prove negligence by another driver. Family members can also have claims for wrongful death after a fatal motorcycle accident. Contact a West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident. Your right to compensation is protected by the law.
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 rise. 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% higher than 2014 fatalities). NHTSA also reported that, in 2014, motorcycle fatalities occurred twenty-seven times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles.
New Safety Features Save Lives and Help Riders Meet Legal Obligations
The West Virginia Code 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.
FairWarning reports that anti-lock braking is quickly becoming a standard feature of motorcycles, as well. All new motorcycles sold in Europe must now include ABS. 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.
Of course, no amount of safety features or technology can substitute for attentive and defensive driving. Motorcycles – being small – can be difficult for other drivers to see. Use your horn and lights as necessary in order to make other drivers aware of your presence. Slow down when roads are slippery, or during times of poor visibility. Identify obstacles as early as possible so you have the maximum amount of time to react to them. Be prepared to react to erratic movements from other drivers, or from wildlife near the roadway. Complement your safety features with safe driving habits in order to improve your chances of staying safe.