It happens all the time. A distracted or otherwise impaired driver drifts into another lane, if only for a moment, and sideswipes a motorcycle. Or they veer into oncoming traffic. The results can be—and often are—disastrous. Even though the state of Louisiana law requires motorcycle drivers to wear a helmet, they’re often no match for other motor vehicles.
On an early morning in August 2019, in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, a westbound vehicle crossed the centerline of Highway 84 and motorcycles. This caused two more motorcycles, which had also been eastbound, to collide, roll and eject their drivers. One of these drivers was then struck by yet another eastbound motor vehicle. This motorcyclist—a 22-year-old Vidalia man—was pronounced dead at the scene.
But it’s not always the other driver’s fault
Often, these accidents happen in an instant, offering the motorcyclists little to no time to react. But it’s not always the other driver’s fault. Motorcyclists must practice safe driving as well.
In May, a motorcyclist in New Orleans was driving recklessly along the I-10 High Rise bridge. The driver steered his motorcycle between two 18-wheelers, lost control, and was struck by one of the trucks. This marked the fourth motorcycle fatality of May 2019.
Staying safe on Louisiana roadways
Driving a motorcycle is a lot of fun, but it can be dangerous. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s 2017 Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State report, Louisiana saw a staggering 92 motorcyclist fatalities in 2016 and a slight jump to 95 in 2017. Worse, many of these could have likely been prevented if safe-driving precautions had been observed. A few of those precautions include:
- Always wear a helmet (in Louisiana, it’s the law), but also wear other protective gear, such as wearable airbags, body armor, gloves and boots. Reflective tape can help nighttime drivers better see you too.
- Follow the rules. As a motorcyclist, it’s your duty to observe safe traffic laws.
- Defensive driving can save your life. Always be on the lookout for distracted or erratic drivers.
- Drive sober. Never drive a motorcycle while impaired. This is a no-brainer.
Start seeing motorcycles and start saving lives. You can obtain your motorcycle awareness license plate through the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles.