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Iowa drivers: Share the road to prevent motorcycle accidents

With the warmer weather, for many Des Moines residents there is nothing quite like being able to take the motorcycle out for a spin. Even if it is driving someone mundane -- like the grocery store or to and from work -- for many there is just something exhilarating about being on a bike on the open road.

However, as is heard all too often on the news, a motorcycle ride can quickly turn into a painful, and in some cases deadly experience, when other motorists on the roadways fail to properly pay attention.

To try to prevent fatal motorcycle accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deemed May to be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The point behind designating this month is to remind other motorists how to safely share the road with motorcycles.

For example, while something like gravel or pavement seams may be annoying to a driver in a car or truck, these can easily be driven over. However, for a motorcyclist these annoyances can be serious hazards. Due to this, when following behind a motorcyclist, do not be surprised if the motorcyclist has to change speeds or move within the lane to safely maneuver.

A motorcyclist also need enough room to react. This means that other vehicles should always signal before changing lanes and should never try to share a lane with a motorcyclist. Rather, give enough distance to allow for reaction time.

Lastly, remember that motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, which can make them easier to miss. This is why all motorists need to be checking blind spots and mirrors before switching lanes.

In the end, while taking these simple measures could help to avoid motorcycle accidents, there are still drivers in the area who are going to be careless when on the roadways.

When carelessness leads to accidents, those who are injured -- or the family of those killed -- should keep in mind there are often legal avenues that can be taken in order to hold negligent drivers accountable. And while money from a lawsuit can not take back what happened, it can help with medical bills, emotional pain and suffering and provide a sense of closure.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month -- Share The Road," accessed on May 29, 2013

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