The Snell Memorial Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a high-quality standard of safety for helmets. Unfortunately, with its recent changes to its testing formula for motorcycle helmets, it may have fallen short in that area.
Because the Department of Transportation’s standards for motorcycle helmets were outdated at best and obsolete at worst, Snell intended to develop a new standard for motorcycle helmet safety. Sadly, the way in which Snell tests for this new standard fails to accurately test the safety for motorcyclists. To test for the safety of a motorcycle helmet, a two-impact hit must occur in the same location, despite the fact that those types of impacts are more likely to happen in a car accident than with a motorcycle.
This standard has resulted in forming helmets that possess a harder shell, which increases the risk of brain trauma for the rider. To add insult to injury, Snell has added a second standard that only really takes away the requirement for a second hit. It does not account for the additional damage that can be caused to the rider, seeing as how a rider can be ejected from his or her motorcycle and suffer from all types of trauma.
Wearing a helmet improves chances of survival in a crash
The best protection that a motorcyclist can have for protecting their brain is a motorcycle helmet. Motorcyclists can wear helmets that meet the standard of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Department of Transportation symbol must be on the outside back of the helmet to show approval. In addition to the head, arms and legs must also be covered when riding a motorcycle.
Many motorcyclists obey this requirement by wearing leather or heavy denim while riding. Additional outerwear such as boots, or gloves also help protect other parts of the body in the event of a crash. Some motorcyclists even wear brightly colored clothing while driving to help other motorists identify them on the road.
What makes a motorcyclist more vulnerable?
Due to their size and lack of visibility, motorcyclists must practice extra precaution while driving. Commercial trucks in particular have issues noticing the passengers to the left or right of them due to their blind spots. In some cases, it can be virtually impossible to notice a motorcyclist from the mirror of a commercial truck. Regular vehicles may also have a difficult time noticing and identifying motorcyclists trying to pass them when motorcyclists engage in actions such as downshifting and weaving throughout vehicles.
How can Oklahoma City riders stay safe on their motorcycles?
Motorcycle riders are the group of motorists who continue to be the most at-risk for fatal traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,014 motorcycle riders were killed in 2019 from fatal traffic accidents. Anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle knows how exhilarating it can be. Unlike a regular vehicle, Motorcycles have the ability to travel at faster rates. This ability is also what makes them more dangerous and more likely that a motorcyclist will be seriously injured or die in a crash. To help ensure the safety of not only motorcycle riders but all motorists on the road, there are safety tips that motorcyclists can practice.
Inspect the motorcycle prior to every ride
Just like a vehicle, motorcycles can deal with issues from tire pressure to brake issues to oil or gas leaks. Motorcycles also differ when it comes to handling and responsiveness. It is important that every motorcyclist take a thorough inspection of their motorcycle before taking it on the road. If need be, take the time to become more comfortable with the motorcycle by taking it to a safe, uncontrolled area and riding it.
If cargo is being carried on the motorcycle, it should be balanced and properly secured. The suspension and tire pressure should also be able to accommodate the extra weight. Take the time to also learn how the motorcycle operates in a variety of conditions, such as riding it in the snow or rain, or experiencing how it rides when encountering other road hazards such as potholes and road debris.
Be sure your passengers are being safe, too
If a passenger is also riding on the motorcycle, he or she should hop on the motorcycle only after the engine has started. The passenger must also sit as forward as possible, directly behind the driver. When the motorcycle is in motion, it is important for the passenger to keep any extra movement down to a minimum, and to lean at the same time in the same direction as the driver. Both of the passenger’s feet must be placed on the footrests at all times, even when the motorcycle is not moving. The passenger must also keep their legs and feet away from the muffler and hold on firmly to the driver’s waist.
Become a defensive motorcycle rider
It is important that all motorcyclists drive defensively and obey all laws of the road. According to the NHTSA, the majority of crashes that involve motorcyclists occur because other vehicle drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist. Because of this, motorcyclists must make sure to ride with the flow of traffic, always check behind them and signal before switching lanes.
Proceeding with caution at intersections and yielding to pedestrians are also recommendations to abide by while driving. Some ways to help motorcyclists increase visibility on the road are applying reflective materials to your motorcycle. Some of the most common materials that motorcyclists apply on their motorcycles are reflective tape, which helps to shine a visible light and allows the vehicle drivers to see that a motorist is ahead or around them. Another method that motorcyclists use is keeping their headlights on at all times, even during the day.
Were you injured in an Oklahoma City motorcycle accident? You can hold the responsible parties accountable for your injuries. The experienced Oklahoma City motorcycle accident attorneys at Cunningham & Mears will fight vehemently for your right to compensation. Call our office at (405) 232-1212 or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More