After a long, cold winter, spring has finally broken in St. Louis and across Missouri. One of the surest signs that the seasons have changed is the reappearance of motorcycles and their riders. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents, injuries and fatalities also reappear at this time of year.

Because May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the National Safety Council is urging everyone to increase their focus on traffic safety. That means that motorcyclists and those who are behind the wheels of four-wheeled vehicles both have important roles to play until the weather again turns cold and cycles are stored away.

It’s important to note that motorcycle crashes have been on the rise for years. Deaths among motorcyclists and their passengers have more than doubled since 1997.

Even though motorcycles account for only 3 percent of all vehicles and a mere .6 percent of all U.S. vehicle miles, motorcycle accident fatalities accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017.

There is no great mystery there: when cars, SUVs and trucks collide with motorcycles, the person (or persons) on the cycle is much more likely to suffer serious injuries or be killed in the collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that “when motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way.” The National Safety Council says the problem exists for several reasons: the small size of motorcycles, distractions, a failure to anticipate motorcycle movements and obstruction of the driver’s view of the motorcycle.

If you’re a motorcyclist who has been injured in a crash caused by a careless driver, contact a St. Louis law firm known for effective personal injury litigation.