Saturday, July 30th, two area residents were seriously injured in a traffic accident involving a motorcycle and a minivan. The accident occurred in the late morning on Thurmond Road in Barrow County, hnear the intersection with Dooley Town Road. According to reports from the Georgia State Patrol, the accident occurred when a woman backed her minivan out of a private drive, striking the motorcycle. Both the driver of the motorcycle and his passenger were injured; the driver of the minivan was cited with failure to yield.
While this tragedy does not appear to have been the fault of the motorcyclist—or even avoidable by the driver of the motorcycle, it is a good reminder of some of the dangers of riding a motorcycle and the need for some specific safety practices. Motorcycles simply do not offer the same passenger protection in the event of a crash; nor are they as stable as cars are on the road. Because of these limitations, motorcyclists should take care to do what they can to minimize the risks of accidents and injury in the event an accident occurs.
- Never ride without a certified motorcycle helmet. A certified helmet will carry a “DOT” label on it, which ensures that the helmet meets Federal standards.
- Always wear appropriate eye protection. Even if your bike as a windshield, eye protection makes sure your vision won’t be affected by bugs, dirt, rocks, or even the wind.
- Wear appropriate shoes, gloves, and clothing. Your clothing should be durable, with long sleeves and pants, to protect the body in the event of an accident. Durable gloves ensure a firm grip on controls, and proper footwear, such as leather boots, help protect the lower part of the leg.
- Drive defensively. This is even more important for motorcyclists than for cars, since motorcycles are less visible to other vehicles on the road.
- Be particularly alert at intersections. Nearly 50% of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur at intersections.
- Always check rearview mirrors before changing lanes or stopping.
- Watch the road surface and traffic ahead to anticipate problems and hazards. Minor irritations—such as potholes, oil slicks, puddles, and debris—can be particularly troublesome for motorcyclists.
- Assume that you are invisible to other motorists and take steps to make sure that other vehicles can see you. Wear brightly colored clothing, use headlights day and night, and avoid driving in a vehicle’s blind spot.
A partner with Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC,, Brandon Smith has devoted his practice to pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts, products liability and serious personal injury. A frequent guest speaker at legal seminars all over the country—Brandon is focused on helping injured victims nationwide, however possible. Named a SuperLawyer in 2017, he has also been called out as one of 10 Best Attorneys For Georgia by the American Institute Of Personal Injury Attorneys.