Last week, Joseph McPhatter, a family man from Maryland was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident. Typical situation; cut off by a motorist, was ejected 100 feet from the site of impact and hit the ground at 140 mph. No, he did not die, but in fact, he had minor injuries and was able to return to his family that evening. How is this possible? He was wearing a new “impact jacket”. This new jacket essentially gives the motorcycle driver an “airbag” around them when they crash.
This was the first case in the US where an impact jacket has saved the life of a person. However, police departments in Japan, Spain, Brazil and Taiwan have recently benefited using these devices to save officers’ lives. Motorcycle accidents are the third killers of law
enforcement personnel, next to auto accident’s and shootings. The Georgia State Patrol is the first police department in the country that is considering these jackets for future purchase. Four other agencies are reviewing these jackets for their police officer’s safety. If you would like further information regarding this new jacket, visit http://www.impactjackets.com for further information.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, (NHSTA), there has been an 89% increase in motorcycle fatalities since 1997. In fact, motorcycle fatalities have increased for the eighth straight year. Last year, there were almost 5,000 cyclist fatalities. There are many reasons for these incidences; more rural road driving, alcohol consumption, lack of proper riding techniques and the sport of riding motorcycles has become very popular. Many accidents are among the newest drivers that can easily loose control.
Motorcycle Safety is crucial if you prefer this mode of transportation. In the state of California, and in most states, a helmet is required to protect your head and neck. A good face shield is good, as well to protect the face. Beyond that, it’s up the driver how he wants to protect himself. Some basic safety tips to remember when riding a bike for the first time.
· Driver defensively! 70% of all motorcycle accidents will occur in or around an intersection.
· Know your hand signals. Double check that the drivers around you see you changing lanes.
· Avoid driving between lanes of slow moving traffic.
· Avoid tailgating · Don’t drink and drive.
· Wear brightly colored clothes to be seen by motorist · Know your limits. Take rider courses to keep current of your states’ laws and maintain your proficiency if you’re an occasional driver.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, MSF, is an internationally recognized rider safety program. Whether you are riding a street or dirt bike, there is a safety program for you. There are over 1500 location throughout the US providing a relatively brief, 15 hour course that will help make you a more safe motorcycle driver. In fact, with a MSF Rider Course Completion Card, many states will waive the on-bike riding skills tests and/or the written test. For a Rider Course near
In addition to the MSF, the California Department of Motor Vehicles distributes an updated handbook each year entitled, “The California Motorcycle Handbook 2007”. Their website has a free copy in PDF form at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/ . You can also find new updated sate laws as well as current news and sample tests.
If you want the exhilaration and wind-in-your-face of riding a motorcycle, get proper training and wear the right protective equipment. It will be more fun and safe that way.