Spring has nearly sprung in Southeast Michigan! But just when we are relieved to have plowed through the season of snow mounds, we hit more bumps in the road – literally!
It’s no secret that Michigan is bruised with crumbling roads and crater-sized potholes. Just a couple weeks ago, an officer from Grand Blanc, MI stood knee-deep in a pothole that temporarily closed McWain Rd. A few days prior to that, a group of Dearborn residents invested their own money and time into patching their city’s roadways before Wayne County trucks showed up to finish the job. And while weathered Michigan roadways are a costly annoyance to commuter cars, trucks, and buses, they can be life-threatening to a seasonal group of Michigan drivers who, along with the rising temps, will soon be rising to rev their engines – motorcyclists.
Whether you live in the heart of the city or on the outskirts of Greater Detroit, you identify with one of the nation’s toughest names. Home of the automotive industry, the tri-county community is especially booming with thousands of motorcyclists. From late Spring to early Fall, motorcycles are turning up the volume in southeastern Michigan for charity rides, poker runs, swap meets, and even just to catch some fresh air to and from work. But just in their short season of comfortable riding weather, motorcyclists are 37 times more likely to be killed in an accident than drivers of cars or trucks.
No matter their destination, motorcyclists not only have to worry about typical driving dangers, such as distracted or reckless drivers, malfunctioning brakes, and blown tires, but they also have to worry about the roads themselves. Potholes, especially the knee-deep ones caving many of Michigan’s main pipelines, can physically catapult a motorcyclist over his or her bike handles and into traffic. Even the gravel that temporarily Band-Aids many Michigan roads can cause a rider to lose control of his or her bike.
In Michigan, motorcycle riders and passengers, ages 21 and up, can decide for themselves whether to wear a helmet. While not legally enforced for everyone, helmets and protective riding gear are always a smart idea, as you never know when your bike will take a tumble over a pothole or slippery gravel, or an accident with a motor vehicle will occur. However, even when wearing a helmet, motorcyclists are at a more significant risk for accident-related injuries, including: road rash, soft tissue injuries that damage muscles and ligaments, broken bones, neck and back injuries that could lead to paralysis, organ damage, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
When a motorcyclist is injured or killed because of a roadway defect, such as a pothole or a flawed road design, many people think no one is at fault and nothing can be done. Insurance companies are especially quick to blame the motorcyclist, and will often claim the stereotype of reckless driving, even when there is no such evidence. But claims can be made against the Michigan governmental department that has authority over the neglected roadway where the motorist was injured or killed, and insurance companies can be fought.
Whether you, or a motorcyclist you care about, has been injured or killed in an accident, we can and will serve the justice and rightful compensation you or your loved one is entitled to.
And to all other drivers: please remember to watch and listen for the motorcyclists around you. They also share the roads, and they too have families and loved ones waiting for them to return home.