It’s a rite of spring. As the weather warms, we start to hear the hum of motorcycles on Nebraska roads. It’s a sound that’ll grace our city streets and highways until the next hard frost. And that means there’s no better time for drivers to put down all distractions and pay even more attention to the motorists and cyclists around them.
“We all need to remember that we share the road equally. Sometimes drivers of four wheeled vehicles think they own the road, because cars take up more space than motorcycles. But the truth is, motorcyclists have the same rights as drivers,” said Omaha Accident Attorney Richard Rensch.
He explained, “To achieve maximum visibility of the road ahead, a motorcyclist will use any given point within the lane. No matter where you find the motorcyclist, the entire lane is hers.”
On March 21st, a motorcyclist was critically injured when the bike collided with a pickup truck near 45th and Center Streets during the morning rush hour. Police are still investigating to determine the cause of the crash.
Rensch, who’s the proud owner and rider of a Harley-Davidson said there is no room for distractions when you ride a motorcycle.
“We must all be hyper-focused on the drivers all around us and anticipate their every move, leaving a cushion of space to adjust your speed and direction at any time,” said Rensch.
And there are more motorcycles on our roads than ever before, with a record 92,000 licensed cyclists in Nebraska.
According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, Nebraska motorcycle fatalities have peaked in the last few years, with 22 motorcycle related deaths in 2012, and almost 600 motorcycle crashes that year. That’s a tremendous increase from 1997, when there were just 5 motorcycle related deaths.
“Our office has represented countless, safe motorcycle drivers who’ve been injured on the roads, doing something they love, and it was not their fault,” said Accident Attorney Sean Rensch, Richard’s son and law partner.
Nebraska has had a mandatory helmet law in place since 1989, with at least five failed attempts by lawmakers to repeal the law, the last attempt failing in February. Missouri is the only surrounding state with a mandatory helmet rule. A total of 19 states require helmet use.
A survey cited by the Nebraska of Highway Safety in 2013 reported 81 percent of Nebraskans want to keep the helmet law and 18 percent support its repeal.