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| Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn

To some, there is no greater rush then taking a motorcycle out on an open North Carolina (NC) highway on a clear, sunny day. Riding a motorcycle along Highway 441 through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park when the roads are open and the weather is nice can be a thrilling past time, but it can also be a deadly one.

A report compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 5,290 deaths occurred from motorcycle accidents in 2008, 159 of those deaths occurred in North Carolina (NC). Despite increased driver awareness and several campaigns designed to educate drivers on the importance of sharing the road with motorcycles these alarming statistics have been on the rise in recent years. According to the US Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting, motorcycle accident fatalities have increased 150% in the past decade.

There are a few things riders can do to decrease their likelihood of being fatally injured in a motorcycle crash. Most importantly, all riders should always wear their helmets, even on short trips. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of death by 29% and are 67% effective in preventing serious brain injuries. Riders may want to consider wearing motorcycle jackets and gloves. This gear is specially equipped with padding that helps prevent abrasions to the skin if the rider was to crash.

Both seasoned and beginner motorcycle riders may also consider taking a course in motorcycle safety. Bike Safe North Carolina is a program offered by the North Carolina Highway Patrol. The program, held at the Highway Patrol Driving Facility in Raleigh, offers Rider Skill Days – a combination of classes and on-the-road training held by police motorcyclists that teaches riders safety techniques as well as basic motorcycle training. Rider Skill Days are conducted on weekdays and weekends for convenience.

Roadways littered with tactor-trailers and cars can be dangerous for motorcycles. By equipping riders with the best driving techniques and advanced safety devices such as helmets and body armor, motorcycle drivers are less likely to be in these staggering statistics.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.


One Comment

  1. Gravatar for sightseer

    I know what you mean about accidents and being extra careful. I ride "the dragon" about once every other month, and have heard some similar stats. I have actually seen one crash while riding there. The equipment DOES make a difference (and don't cross the yellow line). some good information about motorcycle touring is at

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