Sharing the Road: What You Should Know About Motorcycle Awareness Month

Countless Mississippians have a passion for exploring and experiencing the state from the back of a motorcycle. Unfortunately, motorcyclists face exposure to significant risks on the road due to their lack of protection and the fact that other motorists don’t always take sufficient care to drive safely around motorcycles.

We observe Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month each May to raise awareness of the hazards motorcyclists face and how they can most effectively protect themselves. Below are some facts and tips to keep in mind as summer kicks off and rides on Mississippi roads become more frequent.

What Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month? 

Since its establishment in the early 1980s, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month has helped to raise awareness of the safety issues that affect motorcyclists. It focuses on strategies and tips that motorcyclists can use to improve their safety while sharing the roads with other vehicles.

Motorcycle Statistics  

Although motorcyclists make up a relatively small percentage of the vehicles on U.S. roadways, motorcyclists account for a disproportionately large percentage of traffic deaths. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatality rate for motorcyclists was 22 times higher than that of passenger car occupants in a recent year. In that same year, 6,218 motorcyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents, accounting for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities throughout the country. 

Motorcyclist deaths are also on the rise in Mississippi. Reports show that motorcycle fatalities in Mississippi increased by nearly 55 percent in a recent year. Observing some basic motorcycle safety practices can help protect individual riders and make the roads safer for everyone. 

Motorcycle Safety Tips 

According to § 63-7-64 of the Mississippi code, all motorcycle operators must wear a safety helmet that complies with federal standards. Violating the state’s helmet law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 days in jail or a fine of up to $100.

Wearing a helmet isn’t just the law – it also saves lives. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a helmet saved as many as 1,872 lives in a recent year and could have saved an additional 749 if all motorcyclists did so. Helmets also reduce head injury risk by 69 percent.

However, wearing a helmet isn’t the only thing motorcyclists can do to prevent injury and death. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when you ride:

  • Wear proper riding gear, such as a leather jacket and chaps or gear made with durable synthetic materials that protect against road rash.
  • Wear eye protection, such as goggles or a helmet with an attached face shield, to guard your eyes from insects, road debris, and dirt and to prevent severe eye injuries in the event of a crash.
  • Ride with your lights on or add reflectors to your clothing, especially at night, to increase your visibility to drivers.

Unfortunately, while taking appropriate precautions can help reduce your likelihood of being involved in an accident and suffering catastrophic injuries, it doesn’t offer total protection against the actions and carelessness of other motor vehicle operators. 

Contact a Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today 

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless or negligent driver, the legal team at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman is here to help. As experienced personal injury attorneys serving North Mississippi clients for over 90 years, we’re proud of the work we do and how hard we fight for the justice and compensation injured individuals deserve. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.

About the Author
Jefferson D. Gilder is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars in 1990. Mr. Gilder is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Gilder's areas of practice include personal injury, criminal, medical malpractice, civil rights, and product liability. Mr. Gilder spent his first ten years as an attorney practicing with his father, Robert G. Gilder, at Gilder Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi before forming Gilder, Howell & Assoc., P.A. with Jamie W. Howell, Jr. in June of 2000. This firm although as another legal entity has now combined their resources and experience with Chatham – Pittman, to form Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Jefferson through our contact page.