New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Study Program Commissioned to Decrease Crashes

My experience as a motorcycle accident attorney representing many bikers injured throughout central and northern new jersey is that most often these victims suffer extensive fractures, scrapes, burns or traumatic brain injuries as the result of the failure of drivers of a car or automobile to see the motorcycle until it is far too late. Those who ride on our over crowded highways and roads also experience the decay in the infrastructure or the toll that the roads and highways take due to the winter weather and constant pounding of tractor trailer trucks, cars and buses. Reducing the incidences of motorcycle crashes in the nation’s most densely populated state is a noble and vital goal.

According to the Federal Highway Authority about 2,500 New Jersey motorcyclists are involved in crashes each year. In 2006, in NJ there were 89 deaths which have more than doubled the 40 motorcycle deaths in 1991. As reported in a recent Glouster County Times article, Rowan University partnered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and Virginia Tech to promulgate a study gathering data about motorcyclist habits that may help to reduce the incidence of motorcycle related fatalities and injuries.   Dr. Yusuf Mehta, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rowan said”Motorcyclists are vulnerable highway users, and we have been watching the number of motorcycle fatalities in our state increase. The goal is to understand the root cause of increasing motorcycle fatalities.” Dr. Mehta said his students will look at police reports of motorcycle crashes and investigate several factors such as pavement conditions, street lighting, and visibility. The study will continue through June 2009 and is funded through a $199,000 grant from the State Department of Transportation.

In addition, surveys will be sent to motorcycle dealerships, ride coaches, and riders asking if dealers encourage riders to take safety courses and wear protective gear. Furthermore, a survey sent to riding coaches asks whether they agree with road and written tests, and riders will receive a survey asking what they think they could do to improve safety.  Some MVC statistics gathered from the same Gloucester County Times article state “more than half the motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles occur at intersections. More than two-thirds occur when the vehicle’s driver does not see the motorcycle. In motorcycle crashes that don’t involve another vehicle, more than two-thirds result from excessive speed and more than 40 percent of crash fatalities occur during turns and corners.” Cathleen Lewis, a spokeswoman from MVC said “Our goal really is just to use the information that’s found to get a better understanding of the riding community. Rider education is very important not just for new riders, but riders who are returning to their bikes. Most riders don’t take courses until they have been injured so let’s stop that trend and educate ourselves before any another serious injury or fatality happens.

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