May is Motorcycle National Safety Month, and since more motorcycles tend to come out as the weather warms up, we thought we’d take this opportunity to let you know/remind you of a few key safety tips.
- Drive defensively
Don’t speed, don’t drive on the shoulder, and don’t weave between lanes. Drivers are more distracted than ever these days and any of these aggressive riding behaviors will just put you in more danger and make it more likely you’ll end up in an accident. Be especially careful around intersections, even if you have right of way. Half of all collisions occur at intersections and playing chicken with a car is not a game you can risk losing.
Similarly, you should assume drivers cannot see you and be sure to avoid getting in their blind spot, especially for an extended period of time. Don’t forget you are smaller than the typical vehicle, which is what they’re looking for, and with rising distraction rates among drivers today, motorcycles in a car’s blind spot or zooming up behind them are at an increased risk of accident and injury.
- Take safety courses
If you’re new to motorcycling, be sure to take a safety course so you’ll know all the best ways to keep yourself safe. If you used to go motorcycling years (or even decades) ago and have just recently taken it up again, take a refresher course. There are likely to be new tips and tricks you don’t know about and older ones you’ve forgotten.
- Never drink and ride
This should go without saying, but it’s always worth repeating. You need all your wits about you when motorcycling and you need your reflexes to be as fast as they can be.
- Gear up
Invest in anti-lock brakes and a good helmet, specifically a new helmet that fits you and has a DOT sticker, which indicates it meets all the safety standards required by law. Never buy a used helmet or wear a helmet that has been worn in a crash because helmets are useless after they’ve been involved in an accident. Motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,772 lives in 2015 and could have saved an additional 740 according to Injury Facts® 2017.
- Practice makes perfect
Once you understand the concepts of riding your motorcycle safety, practice as often as you can, preferably in safe, low-traffic environments where you can adjust to your bike and learn the ins and outs of how it handles and how best to make it do what you want to do.
Avoid going long periods without riding your motorcycle, unless you’re determined to give it up for good. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 35% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2015 were those 50 years or older. Many of these are known as “re-entry riders,” meaning they motorcycled in their 20s, gave it up for a while, and decided to take it up again in their 40s, 50s, or 60s. Not only do these motorcyclists suffer from decreased abilities, but their motorcycle skills are rusty from lack of use and they face faster, more powerful motorcycles on roads with more traffic and drivers who are more distracted. If you’ve decided to take up motorcycling again after a long hiatus, be sure to consider long and hard before choosing a bike. Then take the time to get to know the bike and really put it through its paces before you go out on the highway.
Nevertheless, accidents can and do happen, even to those who take every precaution. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you’ll need the help of an experienced personal injury trial lawyer to get you the compensation you deserve.
f you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.