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April motorcycle fatality month in New Jersey? Not this month

No, "motorcycle fatality month" does not reference an awareness campaign in New Jersey. The actual meaning behind the mention is a warning. April is actually the month in which the number of motorcycle fatalities begins to rise in New Jersey. Over the past few years, there have been an unexpectedly high number of motorcycle accidents resulting in the death of the rider. So what about this year?

As April winds down, we are happy to report that according to the New Jersey State Police, there was only one motorcycle fatality recorded as of April 24. In fact, the overall rate of fatalities has declined with four reported fatalities since the beginning of this year. This trend goes against the national trend, so what is New Jersey doing right?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are a big deal. New Jersey is one of 19 states that have helmet laws, and the NHTSA reported that in approximatley 706 accidents a helmet would have prevented the fatality. The federal agency also cites licensing laws as safety factor. Licensing laws help encourage motorcycle safety training and even require it for those who are under the age of 18. 

Accident data analysts say that not everyone on the road follows the licensing laws, however. There are many times in which a rider may borrow a bike without a license or just "try it out." For some types of bikes, a special license is not even a requirement. This is the case for low-speed motorcycles such as mopeds. 

Even when all necessary education courses are taken, all licensing requirements fulfilled and a helmet is worn, the cyclist still has to share the road with many people who don't take their driving responsibility serious. In these cases, an injured rider may be eligible for compensation after an accident. 

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Road Warrior: Motorcycle laws good, but could be better," John Cichowski, April 28, 2013

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