“You cannot get a motorcycle. They are far too dangerous,” your parents may have lectured with furrowed brows. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that roadways can, in fact, be quite dangerous, and motorcycles provide much less protection from impact than traditional cars and trucks. That noted, millions of Americans enjoy motorcycling as a practical means of transportation, as a hobby and as a lifestyle.
Though everyone is at risk when hitting the road, keeping a few important motorcycle safety tips in mind may just help you avoid a potentially pricey and life-threatening accident. Not every risk can be accounted for and avoided, but if these tips can keep you from suffering even one motorcycle accident, they are well worth studying.
Motorcycle Safety Tips: What Questions Should I Ask Before Riding My Motorcycle?
- Am I comfortable riding my bike? This is aimed at lapsed riders or beginners that may still be getting the hang of their new bikes. Even after some practice, riding a motorcycle on the open road can be downright stressful, dealing with unpredictable motorists, dangerous road conditions and quickly changing weather. These unknowns complicate the riding experience beyond the scope of most license tests and preliminary training courses. In fact, many agree that the only way to truly improve your skills on a motorcycle and become more comfortable is to simply ride more. Practice makes perfect, but avoid overly busy roadways and highways, construction zones and those with speed limits higher than you are comfortable with.
It is important to note that every motorcycle has its own characteristics, and even bikes with lower performance can still reach high speeds with surprising quickness. Wait until you have a good feel for your motorcycle and feel confident on roadways before traveling too far or too fast. Taking advanced training classes can also be greatly beneficial when paired with real-world riding.
- What gear do I need with a motorcycle? Helmets are a point of contention in the motorcycle enthusiast community. Some claim that they impair your vision and, thus, put your life at risk due to blind spots, but the numbers do not lie: helmets have saved lives. With countless styles, sizes and designs on the market, you are sure to find the right fit for you. Just ensure that the helmet is approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Beyond helmets, brightly colored protective jackets, gloves, full pants and footwear can make you more easily visible and keep you from extremely painful road rash if you are forced into a slide. Moreover, this gear can protect you from everyday inconveniences, such as insects, loose gravel and dust that could pepper your body while on the road.
- Do I have to check my bike before riding? Just as you should with your car or truck, make yourself a checklist that covers your bikes essentials before you hit the road. Giving your bike regular “check-ups” can keep you from the headache of breaking down on the side of the road but, more importantly, also help ensure that your bike is safe to ride. Inspect tire wear and pressure, brake wear, belts and chains, along with frequently used brake lights, turn signals, headlights and your horn.
- How can I deal with bad drivers on the road? You cannot — at least not completely. For this reason, you must always ride defensively. For no reason should you be tailgating other vehicles, erratically changing lanes or riding in medians. Motorcycles are often difficult for motorists to see. Assume that cars in neighboring lanes cannot see you and ride accordingly. With the unfortunate number of drivers who text and drive, drink and drive or simply disregard the rules of the road, you must take safety into your own hands.
If you see a car drifting in and out of lanes or driving erratically, do your best to give them as much room as possible and steer yourself clear of the dangerous driver.
Enjoy the Ride
If you are not a motorcyclist yourself, there are ways that you can help protect motorcycle riders that we all share the roadways with. Always look twice for motorcycles before merging onto a road or switching lanes. Also, give motorcyclists more than enough room when driving behind them, as you never know if there will be a sudden and unanticipated stop or if the motorcyclist may fall from their bike.
Though these motorcycle safety tips may cause a bit of alarm, it is essential that we all take the time out to consider safety while on the road, no matter your choice of vehicle. Motorcycles are safer now than they have ever been, offering advancements in stability, braking and performance. Even helmets are said to improve in effectiveness every five years or so. We hope that the future of motorcycle riding is one built on a foundation of high safety standards. Just remember, that future starts with you.
If you are injured due to the negligence of a dangerous driver, contact our attorneys with motorcycle accident experience. We are ready to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices in law.