Motorcycles are not only fun to ride, they are also practical, as they are easy to park and can’t be beat on fuel economy. However, motorcycles are nowhere near as safe as cars because they lack safety features like seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones that will protect the rider in a crash. The only thing protecting a motorcycle rider in a collision is their gear.
There’s no such thing as a minor fender bender when you’re on a motorcycle.
Every accident is almost guaranteed to cause serious injuries, so unless you want to add a long list of orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and occupational rehabilitation specialists to your speed dial, you need to make preventing a crash your top priority every time you get on your bike.
Follow these safety tips:
Wear a Helmet
Helmets are legally required for anyone of any age operating a motorcycle in Alabama and Georgia. Passengers are also legally required to wear a helmet in both states.
But avoiding a ticket isn’t the only reason to wear a helmet – helmets can reduce your risk of suffering a head injury in a motorcycle crash by 69% and your risk of death by 42%!
Furthermore, states without universal helmet laws experienced more than 10 times as many motorcycle crash deaths in 2017 than states that do have universal helmet laws, like Alabama and Georgia.
With nothing but benefits to it, wear a helmet.
Know Drivers’ Blind Spots
You’ve undoubtedly experienced that heart-pounding moment of almost colliding with another vehicle when changing lanes because you simply didn’t see them. Don’t let “almost” become “did,” especially when you’re the one getting hit!
On a motorcycle, you will already be much harder for drivers to see, so make sure you know the most common blind spots on a car so you can stay out of them. These are: immediately behind the driver’s side door, a car’s length behind the front passenger side door, and directly in front and behind of larger vehicles.
Skip the Black
While a black motorcycle with black jacket and helmet are what most people picture when they think about motorcycles, it’s not the best way to stay safe.
While we won’t deny black looks cool, bright colors for your bike and clothes make it easier for other motorists to see you. If you have a dark colored bike, consider adding reflectors to make yourself more visible.
Show Caution at Intersections
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is drivers turning in front of oncoming motorcyclists at intersections, even when the motorcyclists are clearly visible, because they fail to accurately judge how far away the motorcycles are or how fast they’re approaching.
Even when you have right of way, if you see a driver waiting to enter your lane of travel from a side street, show extra caution, cover the brakes, and be prepared to take evasive action.
Look Where You Want to Go
On a motorcycle, you move in the direction you are looking, so don’t look where you are already heading – look where you want to go! If you are too focused on a pothole you want to avoid, or the bumper of the car ahead of you, you will likely run straight into it if traffic slows down.
Instead, keep your eyes focused on clear spots in traffic, and in a curve, look to the end of the curve rather than the spot directly ahead of you.
Inspect Your Bike Before Every Ride
It doesn’t matter if the last time you rode your motorcycle was months ago, or hours ago. Always take a few minutes to inspect your bike before peeling away from the parking space.
Are your tires in good condition and free of embedded objects? Do your lights work? Are any parts loose, such as your mirrors or stands? Does the throttle move easily? How are your fluid levels? It’s better to discover any potential problems now than on the highway.
Never Ride Tired or After Drinking Alcohol
This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s a perennial cause of accidents. Nearly 28% of riders killed in motorcycle accidents in 2017 were drunk at the time of their crashes, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data.
Riding tired can have the same effects on your riding abilities as riding after drinking alcohol, and that doesn’t only apply to riding at night. Riding a motorcycle for long stretches at a time is physically and mentally exhausting, so on long trips, plan to take frequent breaks. A good rule of thumb is to stop every 100 miles or every two hours, whichever comes first.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Motorcycle Accident Through No Fault of Your Own
Even the most skilled and cautious riders can’t avoid all crashes when other motorists behave negligently. And according to statistics collected by the NHTSA, more than 80% of motorcycle crashes result in injuries, which are sometimes fatal.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we stand for motorcyclists and their families who have been injured by negligent drivers. We know you deserve justice and compensation for your injuries, and we’ll work hard to get it, even if that means taking the insurance company to court.