Motorcycle accidents in Boston are a huge problem, killing and injuring four times as many people as bicycle accidents on our roadways in 2008.
Nationally, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in recent years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Our Boston motorcycle accident attorneys are including this as the second in our nine-part series on Boston Road Safety. The Massachusetts Highway Safety Division began a push at the beginning of the new year to reduce roadway injuries and fatalities.
When it comes to motorcycles, the headlines are hard to escape.
Just last month, a 41-year-old named Christopher Landry died at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital after crashing his motorcycle into a utility pole, according to a news report from the Patriot Ledger.
Investigators say Landry was traveling southbound on Front Street when he veered off the road and into a pole around 4 in the afternoon. He died four days later, and the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
And even more recently, a former network news reporter is facing vehicular homicide charges, after a crash in Plymouth in which a 26-year-old motorcyclist was killed.
WCBVTV in Boston is reporting that 71-year-old Bob Zelnick, who was a reporter with ABC for more than two decades, has been accused of cutting off a motorcyclist who was trying to get onto Route 3 back in October. The 26-year-old motorcyclist died at the scene.
According to news reports, Zelnick's license was suspended at the time of the crash.
He is expected back in court in May.
The NHTSA reports some unsurprising news - motorcycle fatalities are directly impacted by whether a rider wears a helmet.
Some riders say they revel in the freedom of the wind blowing in their hair on the open road. But the risk of not wearing a helmet is simply far too great. In fact, of those motorcyclists who died in crashes, more than half weren't wearing a helmet. What is most critical to keep in mind however, is most accidents involving another vehicle are the fault of the other vehicle's driver.
Further, a recent NHTSA study found that motorcycle deaths have continued a startling upward climb. The numbers had increased more than 60 percent from 1997 to 2004.
Alarmingly, motorcycle riders were more than 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone in a motor vehicle.
Even more troubling, only 58 percent of motorcyclists are believed to wear their helmet, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey.
Most of the riders killed are between the ages of 20 and 29 - far too young to go.
While many motorcycle accidents in Boston and elsewhere are the result of other drivers not paying enough attention, nearly half of all motorcycle crashes involve no one but the motorcyclist, which could point to rider impairment, inexperience or general recklessness.
A motorcyclist, perhaps even more than others on the road, has to drive defensively.
The NHTSA offers the following safety tips:
1. Treat other motorists with courtesy and respect.
2. Avoid tailgating.
3. Avoid riding between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic.
4. Know and obey all traffic laws and ordinances.
5. Avoid excessive noise by leaving the stock muffler in place.
6. Use signals when appropriate.
Continue reading "Boston Road Safety, Part 2: Motorcycles " »