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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Austin

Learn about motorcycle safety just in time for motorcycle awareness month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month in the US, and here in Austin we’re as focused on the meaning behind this event as anywhere else. At Shefman Law, we’re constantly taking on the cause of developing safer roads for motorcyclists, so we’re incredibly invested in the work that Austin and the rest of Texas at large are doing to promote safer circumstances for bikers. We’d like to take a moment to look at the background of Motorcycle Safety Awareness month as well as the reasons why increased visibility is essential for all motorcyclists in the Austin area.

A Bit of Background

Motorcycle Safety Awareness began in response to a statistic most drivers aren’t aware of: May is one of the most dangerous months of the year for motorcycle riders. According to LookLearnLive.org, most motorcycle incidents in Texas occur in the month of May. Whether this is due to the changing weather or some other phenomenon, motorcycle activists began pushing for a nationally recognized safety month as far back as the late 90’s. In 2004, the U.S. Senate officially recognized this grass roots push and designated May Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. Since that time, many states, including Texas, officially proclaim Motorcycle Awareness Month once every year.

Why Motorcycle Awareness Month Matters

As Austin motorcycle accident attorneys, we come face to face daily with the reality of bikers’ situations on Texas roads. The fact of the matter is it can be a very dangerous place out there for people on motorcycles.  According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 494 Texans were killed on motorcycles in 2013. At Shefman Law, we find this number absolutely unacceptable, especially considering that a number of these deaths tend to be preventable. Motorcyclists are at a disadvantage of the size of their vehicle compared to others on the road, and it takes a community wide effort to look out for the safety of these individuals. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month will certainly not completely wipe away these numbers, but if we rally around its premise we may begin to make a dent in the horrific number of accidents occurring in and around Austin.

What Austin, Texas is Doing About Motorcycle Safety

As motorcycle personal injury lawyers, we pay close attention to the initiatives happening in our home state and town when it comes to motorcycle safety. For the month of May, Texas is pushing forward with two separate media campaigns focused on making our roads safer for bikers. One, titled “Share the Road,” is a broad program focused on general motorcycle awareness. The other campaign, “Look Twice,” is specifically engaged with getting drivers to proactively look for motorcyclists out there on the road. If you’re a resident of Austin, you may also have noticed a campaign aimed at getting more bikers to ride wearing their helmets. These posters were produced by the Texas Department of Transportation, and can be found hanging in various places throughout Texas. Also, you may have noticed that on May 8th, a large gathering of Austin riders rode through town carrying 24 big white flags. This event, put on with the help of Austin Region and CenTex, was another effort at raising the visibility of motorcyclists on the road. Throughout the month of May, be on the lookout for more great events happening in the area, and make sure to spread the word that motorcycle safety is an important concern for all Austinites.

At Shefman Law, we look out for the safety and well being of all Austin motorcyclists and bikers. Please take a moment to watch our video on Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month here. If you’ve been involved in an accident and have received injuries because of it, contact the lawyers at Shefman Law for a consultation today. You’ve got a bike? We’ve got your back.

New Technology That’s Making Motorcycles Safer

New technology for motorcycle safetyAt Shefman Law, we’re not just exceptional motorcycle accident lawyers, we’re riders just like you. Due to the way in which these two passions intersect, it probably won’t surprise you to find out that motorcycle safety is something we hold near and dear to our heart. Whether it’s practicing safe riding techniques on the road or representing the victim of an Austin motorcycle accident, everyone at our firm is committed to the safety of bikers. To celebrate this, we’ve put together a few emerging trends in motorcycle technology that promise to make riding an even safer practice. Hopefully with these added technologies, we’ll continue to be able to lower the number of motorcycle accidents and injuries that occur throughout our community.

Intelligent Active Motorcycle Suspension

Any experienced rider, whether you’re a motorcycle injury attorney or not, is aware of the problems that setting up your bike’s suspension can cause. There tends to be a tradeoff when making a suspension choice: in order to get a firm ride that’s suitable for cornering on smooth roads, you end up loosing roadholding on a bumpy surface. Making this choice can often result in a safety sacrifice in one or more areas. Lucky for us, the industry is currently finalizing an automated suspension system that recognizes how you’re riding a bike at a given and automatically adjusts the suspension to ensure the safest ride possible, which is great news to a motorcycle accident personal injury attorney.

Adaptive Headlight Technology

As Austin motorcycle accident lawyers, we’re well aware of the dangers posed by taking corners at nighttime. Due to the requirement that all headlights have to have their top half cut off by a suitable reflector to prevent blinding oncoming drivers, when a motorcycle rider leans into a curve the visible area tilts accordingly with the bike. This typically creates a scenario where a biker can’t see what’s in front of them as they turn, creating a scene just wanting for a crash. Luckily, BMW has just developed a headlight system that can tell when you’re leaning into a corner and in turn adjusts its aim accordingly. This technology is a major addition to safety protocols for bike’s, making it a breath of fresh air for anyone interested in the lives and health of motorcycle riders.

Anti-Lock Braking System

Although anti-lock braking systems have been around since at least the early 90’s, we’re finally getting to the point where they are becoming requirements on the road. As Austin motorcycle injury lawyers, we have to say that it is about time. By 2016, all bikes on the road in the European Union will require ABS systems, and we only hope the same type of legislation will eventually make its way to the U.S. An ABS prevents the wheels of a bike from locking during braking situations and adjusts the pressure of the brake fluid in order to keep traction and avoid fall downs. This leads to decreased stopping distance while also assisting in maintaining stability. As experienced motorcycle accident attorneys, we believe that any increase in motorcycle safety and functionality is a step in the right direction, so we encourage everyone to look into the potential benefits of procuring a bike with a developed ABS built in.

At Shefman Law, we do everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve in a motorcycle accident. If you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact Austin’s Shefman Law today. You’ve got a bike? We’ve got your back.

March 20th Motorcycle Crash Highlights Austin’s Need For Improvement

Motorcycle attorney community saddened by Austin crashAs members of the Austin motorcycle community, as well as motorcycle injury attorneys, we’re consistently face to face with the reality of the biker community in our lovely city. The fact of the matter is that Austin still has a ways to go in educating the rest of the community in regard to motorcycle safety and general care. On March 20th, there was a serious crash that occurred in the South Austin area involving a local motorcyclist and an automobile. As committed motorcycle accident lawyers, everyone at Shefman Law was deeply saddened to hear of another motorcycle crash that could surely have been avoided with better and more thorough safety practices. Like all motorcycle accidents in our city, this only highlights the need for continued vigilance in the face of difficult circumstances.

 

The crash that occurred happened at near the intersection of Victory Drive and Panther Trail near South Lamar Boulevard according to Austin-Travis County EMS. Although the City of Austin recently implemented a bicycle route system in this area in order to improve mobility for both cyclists and motor vehicles, it continues to see accidents such as this one occur. Although we can’t be sure who is at fault in this most recent accident, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Shefman Law find each and every motorcycle crash to be a reminder that there is still much work to be done to prevent these kinds of occurrences from happening in the future.

 

Our city also saw a fatal crash occur on the night of February 22nd, when a man crashed his bike into a parked SUV and sustained serious injuries. This tragic occurrence, in which the man was not wearing a helmet, underlines the need for both sides of this conversation to truly focus in on motorcycle safety standards. In the interest of protecting our community, we must do everything we can to spread the word that making our streets safe for motorcyclists is a major priority while also encouraging judicious safety techniques within the biker community itself.

 

In the March 20th crash, two people were taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge for serious injuries. Luckily, neither appears to have been life threatening, though this in no way speaks to the residual damage that may have occurred for either the motorcyclist or the driver of the car. At Shefman Law, Austin motorcycle accident and injury attorneys are always ready to tackle your case when you’ve been in an accident such as the one mentioned above. If you are entitled to compensation due to driver negligence or unsafe road conditions, the personal injury lawyers at Shefman Law will do everything in their power to get you the justice that you deserve. Let’s do our all to prevent these kinds of terrible accidents in the future, and call today for a consultation with our experienced motorcycle attorneys if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury in a motorcycle accident.

What To Do If You Witness A Motorcycle Accident

Kirkfield Motorcycle CrashAt Shefman Law, Austin’s finest motorcycle accident attorneys, we’re not just great personal injury lawyers; we’re riders as well. Because we enjoy taking our bike out just as much as the next Austin motorcyclist, we take a personal interest in safety on the roads, and we’ve made it our calling to counsel members of our community that have sustained injury in a motorcycle accident. Often, we’re asked not only what you should do if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, but also what steps you should take if you’ve witnessed another rider being injured. In the spirit of this, we’ve put together a general list of what you may do if you’re the first on the scene of a bike accident. Remember, we’re not just Austin personal injury attorneys; we’re bikers, just like you.

Stop, Take a Deep Breath, and Reassure the Victim While You Wait For Assistance

The first thing you’ll want to do in the event that you’ve witnessed a motorcycle accident is to take a deep breath and center yourself. Calm tends to go a long way in these types of situations, and a centered demeanor will be comforting for other people involved in the crash. As Austin motorcycle injury lawyers, we can’t speak enough to how positive it can be to spend some time reassuring the victim while you wait for trained medical assistance. Often times in any major accident, a strong, reassuring presence is just what the situation needs.

Make a Detailed Assessment of Injuries and Call for Help

If no one has called for an ambulance yet, get a good look at the victim’s state and make the call. If breathing is taking place normally, do not remove the victim’s helmet. Similarly, make sure that the victim does not try to move or reach for her or his bike, as certain injuries can potentially be aggravated. As Austin motorcycle accident lawyers, we recommend that you also take down a detailed account of the scenario surrounding the crash. What other vehicles were involved? What direction was the driver coming from? Did you notice any drivers making illegal or specious lane changes or turns? If the victim does end up requiring a personal injury attorney or specialized motorcycle accident attorney, your observations may prove invaluable.

Check the Victim for Shock and Manage the Scene

Depending on the scenario, helping to organize traffic surrounding the accident can be incredibly helpful. If there are other witnesses around, ask them to direct cars around or away from the victims and their vehicles, and attempt to keep space accessible for emergency vehicles. One thing we’ve learned from years of experience as motorcycle injury lawyers is that shock is very typical in these situations, which is why you should do your best to keep speaking with the victim while you wait for assistance. Watch for pale, cool, clammy skin as a sign that a victim is in shock. Also, if a victim is having trouble answering simple questions (“What’s your name,” etc.), this may also be a sign of shock, which you’ll want to notify responding medics of.

When the Ambulance or Officers Arrive, Give Them Full Details

The final step in assisting in a motorcycle accident is to comply with the responding professionals as best you can. If you have noticed difficulty in breathing or other visible signs in the victim, make sure the medics know this. If you were able to get down a license plate number from a car that has left the scene, pass it on to the police officers when they arrive. As Austin motorcycle accident attorneys, we can’t say enough how your ability to take in details can help with treating the victim and assessing blame in the crash. This is where a calm demeanor can really pay off.

At Shefman Law, we pride ourselves on being not only exceptional motorcycle accident injury attorneys and personal injury lawyers, but also on being members of Austin’s wonderful biker community. If you’ve been involved in an accident or have sustained injury through a motorcycle crash, contact the personal injury lawyers at Shefman Law today to begin your journey towards justice.

Four Major Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents, And How to Avoid Them

Riders can take steps to avoid motorcycle accidentsAt Shefman Law, we’re not just motorcycle accident attorneys: we’re the premiere Austin motorcycle injury lawyers. We’ve worked with victims of motorcycle crashes for years, and it’s this experience that makes us effective at what we do. Furthermore, not only are we experienced motorcycle accident trial attorneys, we’re also riders ourselves.

Our history dealing with motorcycle accidents has led us to a deep understanding of the common types of crashes and the causes behind them. We’ve put together a list of four of the most frequent reasons why an accident occurs on the road, as well as a few general tips on how to avoid some of these occurrences. Read on to know what you should try to avoid each and every time you take your bike out on the road.

1. Car Makes A Left Turn

As Austin motorcycle accident attorneys, this is easily the most common incident we see motorcyclists finding themselves in. The scene typically unfolds like this: a car fails to notice a rider, or misjudges her or his speed, and makes a left in front of the rider at an intersection. This type of collision constitutes nearly 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car, making it a high priority on the list of situations to avoid for all riders. Most of the time a vehicle that strikes another motorist while making a left-hand turn will be found responsible for the accident, though this doesn’t mean diligence is not required from a biker’s perspective. Always be aware of the dangers at hand when approaching a four way stop, and keep an eye on whether drivers are noticing your presence. If all else fails, make sure to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer immediately following a crash.

2. Road Hazards

Due to the relative instability and thin tires of most motorcycles, road hazards present a greater danger to bikers than they do for most other motor vehicles. Whether it’s potholes, sewer grates, or poorly laid gravel, Austin motorcyclists can be faced with treacherous conditions when out on the road. When a motorcycle accident or injury is caused by a road hazard, there can often be responsible parties, be it the state, county, city, or other agency that maintains the road. Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to compensation, so you should always contact a motorcycle injury lawyer after an incident. Like many situations on the road, your best bet is to take unknown roads slowly and safely, while attempting to steer clear of any blocked off street or known hazard areas.

3. Car Changes Lanes Into You

Sadly, most motorcyclists will be familiar with this scenario: you’re out, enjoying a weekend ride, when suddenly a car begins to change lanes into the space you’re occupying without checking for your presence. One thing we’ve noticed in our years of experience as Austin motorcycle accident attorneys is that many drivers simply fail to take the time to look out for the bikers sharing the lanes with them. Although cars are required to check their blind spots when changing lanes, it’s still essential to spend as little time as possible outside of the view of other motorists. Also, taking extra caution when riding in situations where lane changes are more likely to occur (i.e. when highway traffic is slowing, or lanes are coming to an end) in order to avoid a dangerous situation. Even though cars are required to safely share the lanes with motorcyclists, riders have to remain ever vigilant to the dangers of careless drivers.

4. Lane Splitting

Lane Splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars. Even in a state like California, which permits “safe and prudent” lane splitting, it’s always a practice to avoid. The legality of lane splitting in many states is quite often debatable, and as experienced Austin motorcycle accident and injury attorneys, we encourage every rider to stay away from the often disastrous practice. Safely sharing the road is tough enough for bikers without the added burden of a legally dubious and highly dangerous act such as lane splitting. As a motorcyclist, do your part to remain safe, and avoid lane splitting.

At Shefman Law, we not only represent motorcycle riders, we are motorcycle riders. If you’re in need of a tough and effective motorcycle accident attorney, call today for a consultation. Remember, we only take a fee if you receive compensation.

 

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