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Motorcycle Accidents and the Importance of High-Visibility Gear

Anyone in South Florida who enjoys motorcycling likely knows that motorcycle accidents can result in injuries that are much more severe and debilitating than injuries that a vehicle occupant might sustain. As the Insurance Information Institute (III) explains, “motorcycles are by their nature far less crashworthy than closed vehicles,” and motorcycles “are also less visible to other drivers and pedestrians . . . than four-wheel vehicles.” Yet many motorcycle crashes could be prevented if more bikers attended to safety issues, including wearing proper clothing and gear for safe riding. According to a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists often are very reluctant to wear reflective gear.

Why does it matter if motorcyclists wear reflective gear regularly or not? In short, wearing reflective gear can help to prevent a serious crash, yet few motorcyclists take this precaution.

Many Right-of-Way Violation Accidents Happen Because a Motorist Did Not See a Motorcyclist 

The recent NHTSA study begins from the premise that many motorcycle collisions “that result from a right-of-way violation committed by another vehicle that had crossed into the path of the motorcycle are . . . attributed to the other driver not seeing the motorcycle.” Recognizing this problem of visibility, researchers for the NHTSA sought to consider the countermeasure of encouraging motorcyclists to wear “high-visibility motorcycle gear to increase the conspicuity of the rider.”

As the researchers emphasized, while using high-visibility gear may be able to reduce the rate of serious motorcycle crashes, “the effectiveness of this countermeasure depends on the acceptance and willingness of motorcycle riders to use high-visibility gear.” What the authors of the study found is that motorcyclists rarely are willing to wear high-visibility gear—most obviously reflective vests and other reflective clothing—even if it significantly reduces the rate of an accident.

Most Motorcyclists Do Not Want to Wear High-Visibility Gear 

Analyzing responses from male and female motorcyclists from multiple age groups, the NHTSA study found that choosing high-visibility gear is not of great importance for most motorcyclists. This fact remains true even when bikers know that wearing reflective gear could improve safety.

For a majority of motorcyclists who participated in the study, the following were the most important issues when selecting clothing to wear while biking:

  • Comfort;
  • Durability;
  • Crash protection;
  • Weather resistance; and
  • DOT certification.

While some of the factors listed above suggest that safety is an important issue when selecting motorcycle clothing, the importance of being seen by drivers did not outweigh other concerns for a majority of the motorcyclists studied. Some motorcyclists indicated that they would consider wearing reflective gear in certain situations but would not do so all of the time. The most common reason for avoiding high-visibility clothing was that the motorcyclists “[did] not like the way it looks.”

To encourage riders to wear high-visibility gear, the authors of the study suggested some of the following:

  • Creating more appealing high-visibility gear;
  • Encouraging motorcycle clothing manufacturers to incorporate high-visibility elements;
  • Creating public awareness campaigns to highlight the effectiveness of high-visibility clothing in preventing certain motorcycle accidents; and
  • Providing financial incentives (such as insurance discounts) to encourage riders to wear reflective gear.

Contact a West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney 

Many motorcycle accidents happen because of a driver’s negligence. If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by another party’s careless or reckless behavior, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. A West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyer can help. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information about how we can assist you with a motorcycle accident claim.




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Martin County: 772-283-6839
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