With summer right around the corner and warm weather here to stay, North Carolina will naturally see an influx in the number of motorcycle riders on our public roads and highways. While some riders may be passing through or touring local cities as part of summer rides, others are traveling directly to North Carolina communities to celebrate several motorcycle events. These include the upcoming Hog Happenin’ and Smoke Out 18.
- Hog Happenin’ – Hog Happenin’ is a regional bike fest that also features the North Carolina State Championship Barbeque Cook-Off. It takes place on June 2 and 3, 2017. During this upcoming weekend, riders and barbeque teams will be traveling from across North Carolina and surrounding states to attend the event in downtown Lincolnton, northwest of Charlotte in Lincoln County. The event draws hundreds of motorcycle riders and numerous barbeque teams that often travel with trailers or larger vehicles. This sudden influx in motor vehicle traffic, especially when a great deal of riders and motorists are from out of town and may not be familiar with local roads or laws, can create a number of risks for everyone on the road.
- Smoke Out 18 – Smoke Out 18 is an annual motorcycle event held in Rockingham, North Carolina from June 16 -17. Each year, the event draws numerous riders from across the region, as well as other attendees who travel by motor vehicle to enjoy the entertainment, vendors, and festivities. Unfortunately, this means a weekend filled with additional traffic and increased risks of auto accidents.
Although this time of year can be great for hitting the town on your bike, heading out on a road trip, or attending local rallies and events, the increase in traffic, out-of-town motorists on vacation, and alcohol-impaired motorists can make the summer months some of the most dangerous months of the year. In fact, the period between Memoria Day and Labor Day is referred to as the ‘100 Deadliest Days of Summer’ by AAA. This is because the summer months historically see an increase in traffic wrecks, injuries, and deaths.
If you have plans to enjoy local events as a motorcycle rider or motorist, or if you are simply a local resident who needs to head out on the road, our Hickory personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor want to remind you that there are increased risks on our roadways, and that safety should always be a top priority. To help you stay safe, we have put together some key points about these risks and what you can do to protect yourself and those around you.
- Increased traffic – Rallies like Hog Happenin’, Smoke Out 18, and other regional events bring a surge in traffic to our local communities. This can be dangerous for anyone on our public roads, and especially for motorcycle riders who can be easily overseen by drivers of passenger vehicles. Whether you are a rider or a motorist, be sure to always be vigilant when on the road and to make sure that the coast is clear before you make any driving maneuver, such as changing lanes, making turns, or entering an intersection.
- Tourists – An increase in traffic is not the only concern during the summer months when events and celebrations are common. Riders and motorists who come from other cities or states are common in the surge of traffic, and they may not always be familiar with local roadways, highways, or local laws. As such, they pose risks of causing wrecks when they travel slowly, disobey local laws, or when they make sudden moves after missing a turn or exit. Protect yourself by always following at a safe distance, devoting your full attention to the road, and being prepared to make a move.
- Driver / rider impairment – The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer earn their name in large part due to increases in alcohol-related accidents. After all, these events and the summer months are a time when Americans choose to kick back and enjoy themselves with alcohol. If you plan on consuming alcohol, make sure you do so responsibly and that you never ride or drive under the influence; doing so puts the lives of others at risk. It can also increase your chances of being involved in a crash. For example, the NHTSA notes that close to half of all single-motorcycle wrecks involve a rider who was impaired by alcohol. If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a plan to not ride or drive. This includes having a sober ride, calling a cab or rideshare service, or staying the night where you plan on celebrating. Alcohol-related accidents have significant consequences, not only in terms of preventable injuries and death, but also criminal and civil liability for those who choose to get behind the wheel while impaired.
- Distracted driving – With increased traffic and other risks, avoiding distractions on the road becomes even more important than it already is. All distractions should be avoided, including eating and drinking, reading maps, and of course, texting or using a cell phone. Whether you are on a bike or behind the wheel, driving should be your only task. Distracted drivers substantially increase risks of car wrecks, and can easily fail to see riders when they take their eyes off the road. They can also be held liable when their negligence causes preventable wrecks.
- Sharing the road – Sharing the road is important during this time of year. Remember, motorcycles are considered motor vehicles with all the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Share the road by obeying the law, being aware of surrounding riders or motorists, using signals, and making yourself visible to traffic. When passing or following riders or motor vehicles, enough space should be given. By making the effort to respect the rights of others, many wrecks can be avoided.
The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor is passionate about protecting the rights of victims who suffer injuries in preventable wrecks, including motorcycle accidents. Because we know riders commonly suffer serious injuries in collisions, we fight aggressively to help them pursue the compensation they need to cover damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. If you have questions about pursuing a personal injury claim, contact us for a FREE consultation.