Motorcycle owners and riders are not always the only people injured in motorcycle accidents. Passengers are also at risk for injuries or deaths when motorcycle crashes occur. To ensure the safety of anyone who embarks on a motorcycle ride, many states like Oklahoma require specific safety considerations for motorcycle passengers. There are also additional safety measures and legal considerations that both motorcyclists and passengers should remember before mounting a motorcycle and riding off on a two-wheeled adventure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were over 34,000 motorcycle rider or passenger fatalities and around 1.2 million people treated for motorcycle-related injuries between 2001 and 2008. There were 5,290 people killed and 96,000 injured while riding motorcycles in 2008 alone. About 41 percent of motorcycle riders and 51 percent of motorcycle passengers killed in 2008 rode without helmets. In Oklahoma in 2008, there were 86 motorcycle fatalities, and of those killed, 74 percent were not wearing helmets.
Oklahoma Passenger Safety
While there are no restrictions on passenger age in Oklahoma, there is a partial helmet law that requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle. Other equipment required by Oklahoma law when carrying passengers includes a passenger seat large enough so it does not cause the operator to lean forward and passenger footrests that are reachable. The Oklahoma Motorcycle Operator’s Manual also suggests that passengers have straps or solid handholds and should wear protective clothing when riding.
Additional Safety Measures
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also offers additional safety measures to consider when riding motorcycles with passengers. Operators should consider the additional weight factor of a passenger and adjust the motorcycle’s tire pressure and suspension settings. When actively riding, remember that more time may be needed to accelerate and pass another vehicle, and that braking may be impacted because of more weight over the back tire. Most of all, passengers should be instructed on how to sit and act to be effective and safe riders.
Both motorcycle riders and passengers should know the applicable Oklahoma state motorcycle laws and how to most safely operate or ride on motorcycles on the open road. Even if operators and passengers are over 18, helmets should be used as an additional safety measure in case an accident occurs. Most importantly, if you are a passenger who was injured in a motorcycle accident that may have involved Oklahoma motorcycle law violations, be sure to contact a local Oklahoma personal injury attorney experienced in motorcycle cases to discuss your legal rights and options for compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (405) 703-4567.