If you ride a motorcycle, you know the risks of the road. If you don’t, it may surprise you to learn that motorcycles are involved in more than half of all fatal accidents on U.S. roadways.
There are many factors that contribute to this high rate of accidents, but one of the most common is rider error. When riding, it’s important to remember that other drivers on the road may not know you’re there or may not see you at all. This is why it’s so important for riders to be aware of their surroundings at all times and avoid accidents.
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Why are motorcycle accidents prevalent?
Motorcycle accidents are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of five and 34. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 90 percent of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death.
The reason why motorcycle accidents are so prevalent is that they are often caused by other vehicles. Motorcycles don’t have the same protection as cars, so when they collide with larger vehicles, they’re more likely to get hurt or killed.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses and other damages such as lost wages and pain and suffering. Knowledgeable and expert motorcycle accident attorneys in your area can help you determine if you have a case against the other driver or his or her insurance company for compensation for your losses.
Motorcycle riding safety tips
Riding a motorcycle is different from riding any other vehicle. A car can swerve or stop suddenly to avoid an obstacle, but a bike relies on its rider’s skill and awareness to stay safe. Here are some tips for avoiding accidents if you’re on two wheels:
The following tips will help you avoid an accident on a motorcycle:
Wear protective gear.
The most important thing you can do to avoid an accident is to wear protective gear. This includes a helmet, gloves, and boots. These items will protect you from injuries in the event of an accident.
It’s also important to wear clothing that can withstand the heat of the engine and the environment in which you ride. Leather jackets are ideal for this because they provide protection from the sun and keep you warm during cold weather rides.
Remember, a helmet can prevent head injuries, and leather jackets and pants can protect your body from road rash.
Be aware of your surroundings.
You can’t see as far in front of you on a motorcycle as you can in a car. Always be aware of what’s going on around you so that you don’t hit another driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, especially when making turns or changing lanes.
Be aware of road conditions and weather conditions.
A motorcycle is a very responsive vehicle, so it’s important to ride within your limits. If conditions are slippery, wet or icy, adjust your speed accordingly and don’t take unnecessary risks. Be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out for a ride so you can plan accordingly if there is inclement weather in the area where you plan to go riding.
Don’t ride too fast or too slow.
When riding on an open road, err on the side of caution by driving safely at a speed where you can react quickly if something goes wrong ahead of you — but not so slowly that another driver might hit you from behind.
Stay alert while riding.
If you’re tired or distracted, pull over and rest until you’re ready to continue riding again. Motorcycles are much smaller than cars and can be difficult for other drivers to see or hear. Stay alert at all times and be sure you’re communicating with other drivers so they know where you are and what you’re doing on the road.
Never assume that other drivers see you or that they will behave in a certain way. Always assume the worst and make sure you’re ready for it if it happens.
Don’t drink and drive.
Alcohol impairs your judgment as well as your ability to control your motorcycle effectively; never drink before riding or operating any vehicle in any capacity. Don’t ride while intoxicated and don’t operate any vehicle when under the influence of drugs or alcohol — it’s illegal! Get adequate sleep before taking your motorcycle out for a spin.
Use your turn signals.
Make sure that you use your turn signals before making a turn or changing lanes, even if other drivers see you ahead of time. They may not be able to tell whether or not it’s safe for them to merge into traffic until they’re closer to it.
Inspect your motorcycle tires.
Check your tires regularly for proper pressure and tread wear; replace them if they’re worn out. Also, check your brakes before every ride to ensure they work properly and aren’t sticking.
Keep both hands on the handlebars at all times when you’re riding; never put one hand off the bars or hold onto something with one hand while you’re moving around or stopped at a light or stop sign.
Motorcycle accidents are very preventable. It is not a matter of if you will be in an accident, but when it will occur. The more tips you know that can help reduce the chance of an accident, the better off you will be. One tip that I think everyone should adhere to is wearing a helmet. It doesn’t protect you from everything, but it provides enough protection to keep you alive in case of any unforeseen accidents.
Also, check yourself before riding your bike. Before riding any motorcycle, make sure all of the parts are in working condition and you’re physically able to ride it before setting out on the road. These are just a few tips that I think could prevent a lot of accidents from occurring. The list is by no means complete and hopefully, as time goes on there will become more information passed down on how to prevent these types of accidents for those who do participate in motorcycle riding.
Story From Brett Sachs
Brett Sachs, partner & principal attorney at MVP Accident Attorneys, graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors and worked for an insurance defense firm before starting his practice. Brett has evaluated thousands of personal injury cases and has helped his clients receive the justice they deserve.