Earlier this month a motorcyclist was seriously injured when he rear-ended a Smyrna police SUV at the intersection of Old Nashville Highway and Rocky Fork Road.
According to WKRN, the rider was transported to TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center and subsequently airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for additional treatment. The police officer was not injured.
Truth be told, this accident probably would not have received any media attention had it not involved a police vehicle. It should serve as a reminder that there are many more motorcycle accidents on Middle Tennessee roads than one might think.
Tennessee Motorcycle Crash Data
Consider the following statistics, courtesy of the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security. In Rutherford County—site of the above-described accident—there were an average of 133 motorcycle crashes per year between 2012 and 2016. In Davidson County—home to Raybin & Weissman—there were an average of 330 motorcycle accidents a year during that time period, an average of nearly one per day.
In fact, between 2012 and 2016 Davidson County had the second-highest motorcycle crash rate in the state, if one considers the number of crashes vs. the number of individuals with a Class M Motorcycle Operator license. Only Blount County, in eastern Tennessee, had a higher crash ratio in that time period, with 174 crashes and 10,147 licensed riders.
Moreover, there have been at least 114 fatal motorcycle accidents in Tennessee each year since 2005, and 2017 is shaping up to be the most deadly year in at least a decade, with 125 fatal motorcycle wrecks as of November 3.
These sobering statistics should serve as a reminder that motorcyclists, automobile drivers and truck drivers alike need to raise their level of awareness when it comes to motorcycle safety issues.
Tennessee’s Motorcycle Rider Education Program
Understanding the importance of rider education, the Tennessee Department of Safety administers the Tennessee Motorcycle Rider Education Program, noting that “the safe operation of a motorcycle requires practiced skill, knowledge, and a respectful understanding of the limitations imposed by the operator, the machine, and the environment.”
The program offers two courses, a Basic Rider Course for beginning riders and an Advanced Rider Course for experienced riders. Motorcycle Safety Foundation certified instructors—that is, “highly experienced riders with the patience, understanding, and knowledge to help students develop the skills they need to become safe, responsible motorcyclists”—teach the courses in safe, off-street environments.
The benefits of completing the program are many. For instance, “those applying for a Tennessee Motorcycle License who bring the certificate from an approved Tennessee training site, pass the Vision Test and pay the required fee will have their license skills and knowledge tests waived,” according to the program Web site. A completion card and certificate also entitles the holder to an insurance premium discount, among other advantages.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Of course, automobile drivers and truck drivers also play a critical role in keeping motorcyclists safe. Motorcycle accidents can be caused by a wide range of factors, including inattentive drivers and weather conditions that cause drivers to lose sight of riders.
To mitigate the risks, I encourage you to review my post on motorcycle safety, which highlights the following safety tips.
- Pick a lane and ride in the middle of that lane
- Don’t ride on the shoulder
- Don’t bob and weave through traffic
- Don’t bypass congestion by riding on the lane divider
- Recognize your limits and ride within those limits
If You Have Been In a Motorcycle Accident…
If you or a family member has been a victim of a motorcycle accident, contact us or call us at 615-256-6666 for a free consultation. We are committed to helping victims obtain compensation for injuries caused by another party’s carelessness, and over the years we’ve worked with countless motorcycle accident victims throughout Middle Tennessee, helping to get their lives back on track. No matter the extent of your injuries, our lawyers will work diligently to negotiate a favorable settlement or prove your case in court. We will fight to get you justice.