When temperatures start to soar, specialty vehicles become a common sight on American roadways. Given that the number of motorcycle registrations grew by a staggering 75 percent between 1997 and 2006, it shouldn’t surprise motorists to see motorcyclists out on local streets. Unfortunately, their presence does often catch drivers off guard, and that can result in major accidents.
Although motorcycle accidents may not happen more frequently than collisions involving passenger cars, crashes involving motorcycles are far more prone to serious injuries and fatalities. In fact, the federal government estimates that the number of deaths involving motorcycles, per miles traveled, was nearly 28 times that involving cars during 2016. And while the Governors Highway Safety Association predicted that nationwide motorcyclist fatalities would decrease by 5.6 percent from 2016 to 2017, there were still 5,000 people who lost their lives on motorcycles that year. In British Columbia, motorcyclist deaths actually rose by 50 percent from 2017 to 2018, proving that this mode of transportation is still quite perilous.
If you do get hurt on your bike, especially if it was at the fault of another party, you will need a motorcycle accident lawyer on your side. Not only are they more familiar with the process, but they’ll be able to inform you whether you are entitled to compensation from the start.
Although there are huge risks associated with motorcycle usage, that doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love; you’ll simply need to become substantially more safety conscious. You’ll want to pay attention to these tips that will keep you safe when you head out on the highway.
Always wear a helmet
Motorcyclists need to protect their noggins at all costs. Head injuries are incredibly common in fatal crashes, but helmets are approximately 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Although only 19 states and the District of Columbia mandate helmet use for all motorcyclists, it’s essential to wear a full-face helmet approved by the Department of Transportation. Ideally, this helmet should be light in color to ensure visibility at all times. If you’ve had your helmet for longer than five years or have been involved in a crash, it’s time to replace your helmet with a new one. Be sure to provide a helmet for your passenger, as well.
Invest in protective gear
Safety riding isn’t just all about the helmet. You’ll need to protect other parts of your body, as well. When you’re on your bike, you should wear long sleeves and long pants made of protective materials (like leather). On chilly evenings or clear autumn days, you should add layers or wear heavier clothing designed for cooler temperatures. Look for gear in brighter colors so that you can stand out to other motorists, even in the dark. It’s best to wear boots that cover your ankles, as well as full-fingered gloves. Don’t forget to protect your eyes, as well. Prescription sunglasses or motorcycle goggles will keep the sun’s rays and harmful debris away.
Be on alert
Many motorists are used to taking a relaxing drive, particularly if they travel the same route frequently. But as a motorcyclist, you won’t have that luxury. To stay safe, you’ll always need to be on your guard. You’ll need to watch for road hazards, from potholes to sudden lane merges. You will also need to look out for distracted drivers on their phones, as well as motorists who fail to see you at intersections. Keep in mind that you should follow the rules of the road at all times, meaning that you should not speed and must observe all posted signs. In times of bad weather, you should aim to stay off the roads entirely. And, of course, you should never drink and drive. Because motorcyclists have no real protection from the elements or from other drivers, it’s vital to exert caution.
Take a course
Whether you’re new to the world of motorcycles or could use a refresher after years on your bike, it’s a good idea to sign up for a safety course. The likelihood of being involved in a crash is far higher for those motorcyclists who are self-taught or who rely on friends to teach them the necessary skills. Professional training can provide you with the knowledge you need to stay alive in the event of an accident, as well as how to avoid the most common hazards. By taking courses online or in person through The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, you might even be able to lower your motorcycle insurance rates.
Although some accidents are unavoidable, the majority of dangerous situations on the road can be mitigated through proper preparation. If you focus on equipping yourself with the proper tools and skills, you may be able to avoid a serious crash. If you are involved in a crash, however, keep in mind that motorcycle lawyers are readily available to help you receive the compensation you well-deserve.