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Will rising gas prices create new accident risks?

With gas prices rising above four dollars in parts of Louisiana, many drivers will be looking for alternative methods of transportation. The changing landscape of our streets and highways will likely present new dangers to drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and anyone who shares the road.

Motorcycle safety becomes even more important

As people throughout the country turn to motorcycles to escape pain at the pump, the risk of motorcycle accidents increases. One study found that for every one dollar increase in the price of gas, there was a corresponding rise in the sale of motorcycles (295,000) and motorcycle-related fatalities (255).

With more motorcycles on the road, drivers of passenger vehicles must be even more diligent in noticing and respecting the road rights of two-wheeled vehicles. A few things drivers can do to limit the chances of an accident involving a motorcycle include:

  • Turning off the radio and other devices to better listen for nearby motorcycles
  • Installing convex mirrors and blindspot detection devices
  • Paying special attention when making left turns and when merging in traffic to avoid striking an unseen motorcycle

Motorcyclists can protect themselves by wearing helmets, diligently maintaining their bikes for road use and avoiding driving in inclement weather conditions.

Expect more bicyclists and pedestrians

Rising fuel costs will likely also lead to a greater presence of bicyclists and pedestrians in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and throughout the U.S. When roads are not designed for people on foot or on a bike, the dangers of accidents increase.

Drivers should pay special attention for pedestrians in parking lots, school zones, parks and other areas where people are likely to travel on foot. They should exercise due caution near bike lanes and be mindful of the rights of bicyclists in right-of-way situations.

Those who travel on bike or on foot are completely unprotected in the event of an accident. The consequences of being struck by a vehicle may include fractures, head injuries, spinal cord injuries and even wrongful death.

Doing our part

Anytime the dynamics of our streets and roads change, we can expect different hazards to arise. By following safety practices, we can do our part to keep ourselves and others safe. When an accident does occur and negligence is to blame, victims should know they have important legal rights.