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Could technology save motorcyclists' lives?

If you're a motorcyclist, you have probably survived more close calls with motorists than you like to contemplate. From wearing reflective clothing to installing loud pipes on your bike, you've done all that you can to ensure that you are a visible, audible presence on the road.

Still, annually, more than 8,000 collisions involving motorcyclists and motorists could be avoided or mitigated if passenger vehicles were equipped with safety systems that detect motorcyclists in the vicinity.

According to research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), if a trio of safety systems were installed on cars and passenger trucks — blind spot detection, front crash prevention and lane maintenance — their presence could reduce motorcycle fatalities by allowing drivers to ''see'' motorcyclists in their paths.

Many of the newly-manufactured vehicles come equipped with crash-avoidance features. These safety systems consist of sensors and cameras that warn drivers of hazards. They also can potentially intervene before accidents occur. Expanding those safety systems to include motorcycle-detection features could substantially reduce the fatality rate for motorcyclists.

The senior statistician for the IIHS focused on evaluating collisions between drivers and motorcyclists over a recent four-year period. Overwhelmingly, 86 percent of those accidents caused deaths or injuries. Most of the accidents that occurred were caused by a driver striking the rear of a motorcycle.

While there is no way to determine with certainty how many lives could potentially be spared with these types of expanded safety systems present in all vehicles, it's logical that if drivers could see the motorcyclists, they could likely avoid them.

The devastation that can result from even low-speed collisions between passenger vehicles and motorcycles is borne almost entirely by the motorcyclists. Even wearing leathers or other padded, protective gear, gloves and helmets cannot protect you from all of the injuries of a motorcycle crash. Your recovery is likely to be long and possibly incomplete, with surgeries and extensive rehabilitative therapies. Even with the best medical treatment, which can be quite costly, you may never be able to return to your activities of daily living (ADLs) or earn a living. Life as you know it has been permanently altered.

Seeking compensation from those responsible for the damages and injuries that you suffered can help you recover financially from a motorcycle accident while you are physically healing from the trauma.

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Becker, Kellogg & Berry, P.C. - Fairfax Personal Injury Lawyer

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