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Drivers should remember to watch for motorcycles

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time in which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages motorists both in North Carolina and across the country to take the necessary steps to avoid collisions with motorcycles.

As many people have probably noticed, more and more motorcycles are appearing on Charlotte's roads and highways as the weather continues to get warmer. The spring weather makes May an opportune time to remind motorists that there are simple things they can do to avoid motorcycle accidents.

For instance, drivers need to give motorcyclists plenty of following space, especially since, unlike other vehicles, they typically will not apply brakes to slow down. This, in turn, means a motorcycle will often decelerate without its brake lights coming on.

Likewise, drivers need to check blind spots and their surroundings carefully, especially when at an intersection or when turning left. Drivers also need to be especially aware when merging or changing lanes.

Of course, these really are basic safety practices that drivers really should be following at all times.

However, motorcyclists already have it rough when it comes to traffic accidents. For instance, according to recent statistics, while motorcycles constitute only 3 percent of all registered motor vehicles, 14 percent of traffic deaths involved motorcyclists. Overall, motorcyclists are over 25 times more likely to die following a crash than are those who travel in full-sized passenger cars.

In short, even if they are wearing the necessary protective gear, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable when out on the road. This is why motorists should be especially careful to drive safely when motorcyclists are around.

Should a motorcyclist suffer a serious personal injury at the hands of a negligent driver, they may be able to get compensation from the driver who was at fault.

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