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Summer is Coming! Motorcycle Safety Review

With spring coming to an end, albeit somewhat mild this year, it may be hard to imagine that summer is coming, and soon. With the first day of summer almost a month away, motorcycle riders are getting ready to take to the roads with more frequency. Riders are reminded to review Maryland road safety requirements to help ensure that the upcoming season is a safe one for drivers, riders and passengers.

Motorcycle Safety Basics

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), there are a number of specific safety rules and regulations that Maryland motorcyclists must obey. To learn about these laws, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Three of the basic laws that apply to Maryland motorcycle riders are reviewed below.

Get a Class M License

According to the Maryland MVA Motorcycle Operator Manual, crash statistics show an over-representation of motorcycle riders who are not licensed (or who do not have the proper license). Generally, licensing requirements are somewhat different depending on the age of the applicant – under or over 18. Younger riders (as well as new drivers, regardless of their age) must have driver education training and must take and complete an approved motorcycle safety course. Older and experienced riders are encouraged to take an approved motorcycle safety course and some licensing requirements, such as the need to obtain a learner’s permit and satisfy certain testing requirements, may be waived if they do so.

Wear a Helmet

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and based on information provided by the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), motorcycle riders who wear helmets lower their risk of dying in a crash by close to 40%, and reduce their risk of head injuries by almost 70%. In fact, statistics available for 2016 show that nationally, more than 800 lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had been wearing helmets. For the same year, helmets saved more than 1800 lives across the United States. According to the Maryland MVA Motorcycle Operator Manual, riders who wear helmets are three times as likely to survive crashes than riders who do not.

Statistics clearly show the wisdom of wearing a helmet. In Maryland, this wisdom is currently the law, as helmets are mandatory for all motorcycle operators and passengers, and have been for more than 25 years. Also, no one can operate a motorcycle unless it has a windscreen or the operator is wearing appropriate (legally approved) eye protection.

Note that the Maryland senate has introduced a bill that would no longer require helmets for experienced motorcycle riders who are older than 21 and have completed an approved safety course, according to news reports.

Do Not Drink and Ride

According to the NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts, drinking and riding has, historically, been of concern when it comes to motorcycle riders on the national level. Statistics available from 2013 show that motorcycle riders who were involved in fatal accidents were more often impaired by alcohol when compared with any other type of driver.

These are just a few of the rules and regulations that govern Maryland motorcycle riders. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident and/or want to know more about the rules that apply, contact an experienced motorcycle injury law firm.

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