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Springtime brings an increase in Missouri motorcycle accidents

speed-of-motorcycle-1016169-m.jpgSpring is here, and many Cape Girardeau motorcyclists are now back on the road, taking advantage of the warm temperatures. Sadly, at this time of year, Missouri law enforcement officials and emergency rooms consistently report an increase in motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities. Within a two-week period in late March, five people were killed in motorcycle accidents in the St. Louis area.

Sadly, all too many springtime accidents involving motorcycles are completely preventable.This spring, our auto accident lawyers want to remind drivers in southeast Missouri to always look twice for motorcycles: after all, many car/motorcycle collisions occur because drivers simply don't realize motorcycles are traveling near them until it's too late. What's more, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious, life-threatening injuries when they're involved in accidents with larger vehicles. In this post, we share a few tips to help drivers avoid these dangerous accidents.

Avoiding motorcycle accidents: Tips for Cape Girardeau drivers

1. Think of any motorcycle in motion as a PERSON, not a vehicle. They have much less protection than you do in your vehicle in the event of a traffic accident: there's virtually nothing to shield riders from the force of impact with another vehicle, or with the pavement.

2. Remember, motorcyclists can be harder to spot than other kinds of vehicles. Make it a habit to look left - right - left, especially when pulling out of a driveway or making a turn.

3. Keep an alert eye out for motorcycles when changing lanes or passing trucks: a motorcycle can be masked by a larger vehicle or disappear into a blind spot.

4. Often, motorcyclists don't use their brakes to slow down - and therefore, there will be no telltale brake light to warn you. Keep a safe distance behind motorcycles.

5. Motorcyclists frequently adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to steer clear of road debris or passing cars. In other words, they are not moving over to allow you to share their lane. Just like any other vehicle, motorcycles are entitled to an entire lane.

This season, please stay alert and drive safe! Motorcycle accidents can be prevented and lives can be saved, provided we each act responsibly and drive with a bit more care.

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Ride safe this spring:10 tips to help you avoid Cape Girardeau motorcycle accidents

missouri-map-215800-m.jpgThankfully, warmer temperatures are on the horizon, and many of our local motorcyclists are preparing to get their bikes out of storage and hit the open road. It's a great time of year to take a moment to remind yourself about the importance of safe riding practices. In this post, our Cape Girardeau auto accident lawyers discuss ten key tips to help you ride safe in 2014.

Ten Safety Tips for Missouri Motorcyclists

1. Check your bike before you ride. Especially if your bike has been in storage during the winter months, you'll want to make sure all its systems are in good working order before you hit the road.

2. Wear your protective gear, including helmet, gloves, boots, jeans and safety glasses. As many riders know all too well, we lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so there's virtually nothing between us and the pavement. Nothing, that is, except our safety gear, so it's crucial to dress smart. Head injuries are especially common in motorcycle accident victims, so a helmet is essential. It's Missouri law, and it just might save your life.

3. Stay visible: don't linger in other vehicles' blind spots. Often, other drivers simply aren't watching out for motorcycles, and many don't realize we're there until it's too late. Motorcycles can be harder to see than other kinds of vehicles, so a key part of safe riding is making sure we stay visible.

4. Use the SEE method: Search for potential danger, Evaluate potential hazards, and Execute proper action to avoid the hazard.

5. Watch for dangerous obstacles like slick pavement, loose gravel and roadway debris. These obstacles, which can be a mere nuisance for other drivers, can be deadly for motorcyclists.

6. Use extra caution in intersections and when turning left. The majority of motorcycle accidents occur when riders are passing through intersections or executing left turns - even when we have the right of way. Use extra caution, and again, never assume another driver sees you.

7. Don't follow too close in case you have to perform an emergency maneuver. If a roadway emergency presents itself, you'll want to have as much time and space as possible to react safely. Never tailgate.

8. Know how to handle passengers. Carrying a passenger will change the way your motorcycle handles. If you're not used to riding with someone else on board, be sure to get plenty of practice before riding in traffic.

9. Carry a balanced load: pack and secure your saddlebags safely. Here again, added weight can change the way you ride. Pack sensibly and make sure the weight is distributed evenly and secured properly.

10. Be patient and enjoy the ride. Remember, when riding, the journey is the destination. Take your time and enjoy having your boots in the breeze. Doing so will help ensure you have a safe, enjoyable ride.

We wish our area motorcyclists a happy riding season! For more information about motorcycle advocacy and upcoming events in our area, please check out our team's motorcycle blog, Ozarks on Two Wheels.

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Avoiding motorcycle accidents: Fall safety tips for Cape Girardeau riders

forest-road---hdr-1319712-m.jpgFall has finally come to Cape Girardeau! Even though the temperatures are getting cooler, it's a beautiful time of year to head out for a motorcycle ride in southeast Missouri. In this post, our auto accident lawyers discuss a few useful safety tips to help area motorcyclists prepare for an autumn ride.

Ride safe this fall: Tips for Cape Girardeau motorcyclists

• Be safe, be seen. All too many motorcycle-car accidents happen because other drivers simply aren't aware of motorcycles traveling near them. And when the temperatures drop, drivers are even less likely to expect to encounter motorcyclists on the road. To help make themselves more visible, riders can wear reflectors along with clothing and protective gear in brighter colors. In addition, a motorcycle's lights and turn signals can make it easier to spot in low-light conditions.

• Anticipate, but don't assume. Seasoned riders know that riding safely requires being attentive to vehicles traveling nearby. It's always good to think ahead - to anticipate another driver's actions - but it's dangerous to assume that a driver knows you're there and will adjust his/her maneuvers accordingly. Err on the side of caution: do your best to be predictable, signal your intentions, and avoid traveling in other vehicles' blind spots.

• Dress for the ride. Cold temperatures can cause fatigue and impair your driving performance. And it's no secret to motorcyclists that it's always colder on a bike than it is outside. Check the forecast before you head out to ride and pack the gear you'll need to stay comfortable given weather conditions. On especially cold days, wear your leather (including gloves and non-skid boots without laces), make "warm up" stops frequently, and stay hydrated.

• Be prepared to encounter hazards. During the autumn months, glare is sometimes a problem for all motorists, since the sun's position is lower in the sky. In addition, dead leaves on the road can be slippery, particularly in shaded areas, and they can mask other potential hazards like potholes and loose gravel. After dark, when the temperature drops, remember that bridges and overpasses can become slick extremely quickly. Riders would also do well to remember that Missouri's deer population tends to be more active at this time of year: be sure to use extra caution when riding on roads near wooded areas and those marked with deer crossing signs.

For more information about motorcycle safety, area events and legal issues, please visit our motorcycle blog, Ozarks on Two Wheels. Happy riding!

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Off-duty highway patrolman killed in three-vehicle motorcycle crash

247384_e___motion.jpgThis evening, an off-duty highway patrol officer was killed while riding his personal motorcycle on California's Highway 12. According to the Napa Valley Register, 38 year-old John Fanene was traveling west when his motorcycle was clipped by an eastbound pickup truck that was attempting to turn left off the highway. The driver of the pickup, 39 year-old Edward Turner, reportedly saw Fanene at the last moment and attempted to accelerate through the turn, but Fanene struck the right rear side of the pickup.

Authorities say Fanene was ejected from his motorcycle on impact and thrown nearly 200 feet. He landed in the roadway, where he was struck by another eastbound vehicle. Fanene was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured. Police are investigating the accident, but drugs or alcohol are not believed to be contributing factors.

Sadly, many motorcycle accidents happen every year simply because drivers fail to see motorcyclists traveling near them. Consider the following facts:

• Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injury than other motorists because they do not have the protection of an enclosed vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the number of motorcycle fatalities in 2010 was about 30 times the number of deaths in other types of auto accidents.

• Motorcycles are less visible than other kinds of passenger vehicles, and less stable in braking and swerving maneuvers.

• 2009 data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that 42% of fatal two-vehicle motorcycle accidents occurred when a vehicle attempted to turn left while a motorcyclist was going straight or passing the vehicle.

So, what can motorcyclists do to help make themselves more visible to other motorists? Here are a few basic tips:

• Allow extra distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles. You need space in front of your bike in case an obstacle suddenly presents itself, so it's important to create an exit route, just in case you need it.

• Don't ride in other vehicles' blind spots. Your best bet is to ride

• Slow down as you're proceeding through intersections, and be aware of what other vehicles are doing. Position your motorcycle so it's clearly visible to motorists attempting to make left turns.

• Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing - and use your lights and signals to alert other motorists to your presence, and to your intentions.

• Ultimately, it's best to ride like other drivers can't see you. If you assume a driver sees you and you're wrong, you can put yourself in harm's way. Conversely, if you assume you can't be seen, you'll be prepared for the unexpected.

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Arkansas driver pleads not guilty in hit-and-run crash that seriously injured motorcyclist

file3951268343242.jpgA North Little Rock man has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in connection with a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist. According to KTHV, Nathan Ray is charged with reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, and driving with a suspended license.

At around 1:00 a.m. on September 3, police say Ray was traveling east on Interstate 40 when he struck the rear end of a motorcycle. The rider, 28 year-old Trevor Ware, was thrown onto the car's windshield and then dragged under the vehicle. But Ray kept driving, dragging the motorcycle for about a mile and half down the highway before it dislodged itself from his car.

Ware was seriously injured in the crash. He sustained a brain injury, a torn colon, a fractured femur and fractured vertebrae. He remains hospitalized in a coma. Family members say he was not wearing a helmet when the collision occurred.

Investigators located Ray later that morning and took him into custody. They suspect he was intoxicated at the time of the crash, but they have not released the results of his blood screen. Authorities say he has an extensive criminal record that includes charges of driving while intoxicated, refusing a breathalyzer test, driving without proof of insurance, failure to yield and leaving the scene of a single-car accident. Ray is free on bail until his next court date, which is set for January 9.

If you'd like to contribute to the Trevor Ware Hospital Fund, click here to visit his family's donation website.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) the number of motorcycle deaths was about 30 times the number of car deaths in 2010, per mile traveled. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to serious injury when they're involved in collisions with passenger vehicles, because there's nothing to protect riders from the force of impact. And motorcycles are simply less visible than other kinds of vehicles, making them easy to overlook.

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Motorcylist Killed, Passenger Critically Injured in Recent Missouri Crash

648267_modern_mechanical_art.jpgOn Wednesday night, a motorcycle accident in Mexico, Missouri left a man dead and a woman in critical condition. According to local police, 48 year-old Michael Woodruff's motorcycle rear-ended a pickup truck that had slowed to make a left turn, and the impact caused the motorcycle to catch fire.

Woodruff was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, 41 year-old Kimberly Holmes, was airlifted to University Hospital in Columbia, where she remains in the intensive care unit. The accident remains under investigation: according to KRCG 13, witnesses reported that Woodruff's motorcycle had been traveling at a high rate of speed as it approached Mexico city limits.

Our Popular Bluff motorcycle accident attorneys know that motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable drivers on our roadways. Many car accidents that involve a motorcycle turn deadly. Because riders are often overlooked on our roadways, passenger vehicle drivers must practice cautious and alert driving to help protect our two-wheeled drivers.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) understands the dangers that these motorists face on our roadways and for that reason has placed motorcyclists on their "most wanted" list. This list is part of a safety campaign that is aims to increase the public's awareness of, and support for, actions that can help prevent accidents and save lives on our roadways.

According to the NTSB, the number of motorcyclist fatalities has doubled from 2,116 in 1997 to 4,462 in 2009. It is estimated that 12 motorcyclists are killed on our roadways every day. Even though these two-wheeled travelers only make up 3 percent of the vehicles on U.S. roads, they account for nearly 15% of all highway fatalities. Nearly 75% of these motorcyclists were killed in broad daylight, between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Nationwide

Traffic Assorted 2552 (1).JPGWith the price of fuel still so high, many people are seeking out more economical forms of transportation: more and more Missourians are relying on motorcycles as a regular mode of travel, especially since the weather has been so unseasonably warm this year. Our Cape Girardeau motorcycle accident lawyers want to discuss some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents in southeast Missouri.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents:

• Failure to yield or encroaching on a motorcyclist's right of way
• Lack of riding skills
• Failure to notice a motorcycle
• Failure to appreciate the blind spots for other cars, trucks, buses, and large trucks
• Failure to follow speed limits and other traffic laws
• Lack of stability provided by two-wheel configuration
• Failure to appreciate the abilities of a motorcycle such as size, speed, acceleration abilities and stopping distances

It's crucial that all drivers are mindful of the differences between a motorcycle and other motor vehicles, as they create additional risks for a motorcyclists. The simple difference in size makes a motorcycle easy to miss. To avoid the common causes of motorcycle accidents, riders should take extra precautions: above all, never assume a car "sees" you or is aware of your location.

Tips to Help Prevent Missouri Motorcycle Accidents

• Attend a motorcycle rider training course
• Practice awareness and good defensive driving techniques
• Anticipate what might happen if. . .
• Always check rearview mirrors before changing lanes or stopping
• Ride more cautiously in heavy traffic or inclement weather
• Never operate a motorcycle without the proper motorcycle operator's license
• Drive within your skill set and experience abilities
• Read through your owner's manual to stay familiar with your bike's capabilities
• Wear the right protective clothing to minimize injury if the worst does happen

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Poplar Bluff Missouri Car Accident Lawyers Promote Scooter Traffic Safety and Awareness after Fatal Hit and Run Accident on Missouri Highway 142

Traffic accidents produce a constant need for offering condolences. Everyday someone is 585806_scooters_3.jpgseriously injured or killed in a traffic accident. Poplar Bluff Missouri car accident lawyers share in the sorrow over the latest tragedy on our southeast Missouri roadways.

Investigators from the Butler County Sheriff's Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal hit and run accident that occurred Sunday around 10 p.m. August 14. An 18 year-old boy from Poplar Bluff, Mo was riding his motorized scooter on Highway 142. He slowed to make a turn and was struck from behind by a pickup truck. The driver of the truck then fled the scene. The driver of the scooter was pronounced dead. The hit and run traffic accident occurred just east of Poplar Bluff.

Scooter Traffic Safety and Awareness for Southeast Missouri Motorists
Motorized scooters have become a very popular mode of travel. Light weight and with high fuel economy, scooters are a great way to get around. From students to senior citizens, they make a great choice for a quick trip to the store or other errand. They are easy to park and easy to handle, which makes them a great alternative to a motorcycle.

However, like motorcycles they are harder to see and have none of the protective barriers of a car. Another drawback is acceleration and top speed capabilities. Many scooters can only reach 45 mph and most take longer than a motorcycle to accelerate and match traffic speeds. This puts drivers of motorized scooters, motorized bicycles and mopeds at a greater risk for a traffic crash.

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70-Mile Ride to Help Reduce Risks of Motorcycle Accidents in Southeast Missouri

Motorcycle riders from the Bootheel and all over Southeast Missouri headed west recently in the hopes of raising awareness and decreasing the number of motorcycle accidents in in Southeast Missouri and elsewhere in the state this summer. More than 500 riders from all over Missouri came out for this year's event. A 70-mile ride, beginning and ending in Springfield, took riders through the towns of Nixa, Willard and Republic to help raise awareness of motorcyclists on our roadways.

344595_motorbikes_.jpg Our Cape Giradeau motorcycle accident lawyers urge motorists to consider everyone traveling on our roadways as motorcyclists often get overlooked by other motorists. The riding event is held every year in the spring as that is the time when motorist can expect to begin to see more motorcycles on the road. Motorcycle accidents with cars typically result in serious or fatal injuries to the rider. More than half the time the driver of the passenger vehicle is at fault.

The theme of this year's ride was "Can You See Me Now?" The riders organized and titled this event after there were more than 2,000 accidents involving motorcyclists in Missouri in 2010. Nearly 100 of those accidents were deadly, according to American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

A four-year, $3 million study being sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), aims to look deeper into the causes of motorcycle crashes. Oklahoma State University, through the Oklahoma Transportation Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma, is conducting the survey. It is the first major study into the main causes of motorcycle accidents since 1981, according to BikeWorld.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers tips that every driver know about motorcycles:

-Motorcyclists, often times, seem to be traveling faster than they actually are. This can be credited to the small size of their vehicle. Truth is, they're probably not. Don't assume that all motorcyclists are speed demons.

-Motorcyclists often slow down by downshifting instead of hitting the brakes. Downshifting does not activate a brake light. For this reason, drivers should allow more distance between them and a motorcycle when following behind in traffic.

-Be aware of motorcyclists in your blind spots. Because of their small size, they can often get lost in your line of vision. Be sure to be extra cautious of motorcyclists when changing lanes and at intersections.

-Because of their small size, motorcycles often appear to be farther away than they actually are. This can also make it difficult to judge their speed. Always assume that a motorcycle is closer than it appears to be.

-When a motorcycle is in motion, don't think of it as a motorcycle, view it as a person.

-The stopping distance is just about the same for motorcycles as it is for cars. Difference is, they can't stop on slippery roads as easily, as sliding is common for them. Follow at a safe distance as they can't stop as easily as you may be able to.

-While motorcycles have excellent maneuvering abilities, they often adjust their position in lanes to avoid debris and wind from passing vehicles. Understand that these drivers are zigzagging for a purpose and not to be reckless.

-Remember that turn signals on motorcycles are not self-canceling like those on most motor vehicles. Sometimes they may forget to turn them off. Make sure their signal is for real when traveling near these riders.

-Don't ignore them -- and don't crowd them. Practice extra caution, especially at intersections and when changing lanes.

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Motorcycle Accidents are Back as Southeast Missouri Motorists Celebrate Spring

Spring seems to be southeast Missouri's favorite season. With the return of balmy weather, everyone is hitting the roads, including avid Cape Girardeau motorcyclists whose treasured bikes have been in the garage all winter long. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents seem to be the unavoidable result. But are they really unavoidable?

Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyers
remind everyone that motorcyclists are much more vulnerable on the roads than car and truck drivers, whether wearing a helmet or not. Jackson, Delta, Kennett, Farmington and all southeastern Missouri residents want to keep their loved ones as safe as possible on the roads this spring season.

According to the Hurt Study:
"The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision."

What can you do to help?

Here are some ways to drive more safely and avoid Cape Girardeau motorcycle accidents this year:

1. Always look left-right-left before pulling out of a driveway or making a turn, to spot any motorcycles near you.
2. Motorcycle accidents frequently happen because bikers slow down by downshifting, so there is no brake light to indicate they are slowing. Be aware when following a motorcycle and stay 3-4 seconds behind.
3. Never share a lane with a motorcycle, even if it is driving in the very far side of the lane and there is plenty of room. This is illegal!
4. Motorcycles are more susceptible to bad weather and high winds, so use extra caution under those type of circumstances.

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