High-visibility clothing may be key to the safety of motorcycle riders

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2021 | Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents often prove to be deadly. The combination of an automobile and a motorbike is an uneven match. It’s not uncommon for a motorist to tell a police officer responding to a crash scene that they never saw a motorcyclist coming before they collided with them.

Is there anything you can do, as a motorcyclist, to keep yourself safer? Here are the steps you can take to enhance your chances of a motorist seeing them. 

How often do motorists fail to see motorcyclists?

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published its Hurt Report in 1981. It captured how at least 75% of motorcycle accidents involved a passenger vehicle. The federal agency was able to attribute most of these crashes to a car operator’s inability to detect a motorcycle in their path. 

How motorcyclists can enhance their visibility

A research study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2003 captured how there was a 37% reduction in motorcycle crashes than was otherwise the case when riders wore fluorescent or other high-visibility clothing. The same research suggested that the addition of a single item, such as a decorative helmet, bright-colored shirt or neon vest, all significantly improved the chances of a motorist seeing them than someone who didn’t wear any clothing of this sort. 

The researchers working on that BMJ study also discovered that motorcyclists could also increase their chances of a motorist seeing them by turning their headlights on, especially when it becomes dark outside. They also noted that the high-visibility gear that a motorcyclist may need to change out what they wear to coincide with the changing weather conditions at different points in the year. 

What to do if a motorist failed to see you

Rural or poorly lit roadways and intersections are two of the most dangerous areas where motorists often strike motorcyclists. Drivers are often traveling at a significant rate of speed in these areas, and motorcyclists are vulnerable to getting hit front and center. 

Fortunately, Washington state law allows injured motorcyclists to recover damages associated with any severe injuries they suffer in a Issaquah crash. An attorney can review your case and help you understand more.


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