Safe Motorcycle Riding Tips
If you enjoy riding a motorcycle, you know how great it can be to hit the open road on your bike. But it’s no secret that riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road and since they aren’t enclosed vehicles, motorcyclists face a lot of risks on the road. Since we handle motorcycle accident lawsuits, we hear about a lot of different types of accidents and we never want a motorcyclist to become a statistic. Here are some tips to help make your next ride a little bit safer.
Wear Protective Gear
By far, one of the best things you can do to stay safe on a motorcycle is wear a helmet and other protective gear. Even if you’re not legally required to wear a helmet, it’s still wise to wear one. Since motorcycles lack the safety features that cars have, anything you can do to give yourself an extra layer of protection is very valuable.
Look for helmets that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation and have SNELL or SHARP certification. Finding a motorcycle helmet that fits properly is extremely important not just for comfort, but for how well it can protect you. Shop for helmets in a brick-and-mortar store where you’ll be able to try different helmets on. A store employee will be able to help you find a helmet that fits just right. Once you have a helmet, don’t think it’s a once in a lifetime purchase. Ideally, helmets should be replaced every five years or after it’s been in a crash.
Make Yourself Visible
The easier it is for drivers to see you, the safer you’ll be. Motorcycles aren’t as large as other vehicles on the road, so in many cases, motorcycle accidents happen because the driver simply didn’t see the motorcyclist. Wearing bright colors while you ride or having reflective gear will help, particularly when riding at night. Be sure to use the headlight on your motorcycle. As you ride along, avoid staying in another vehicle’s blind spots. And don’t be afraid of using the horn on your motorcycle if you think a driver doesn’t see you.
Maintain Your Motorcycle
Motorcycles need to be kept in good condition to be able to keep you as safe as possible. Make a habit of routinely checking your motorcycle’s engine, tires, turn signals, and headlights to make sure everything is working properly. And remember that regularly washing your motorcycle isn’t just superficial. Dirty or damaged visors and mirrors can make it difficult to see.
No matter what type of vehicle you’re in, it’s extremely important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. But given the vulnerable position motorcyclists are in, staying alert can help save your life. Be particularly watchful of drivers who might be distracted or are looking to change lanes. It’s also important to remember the types of behaviors you might encounter on different types of roads. For example, if you’re on a residential street and are stuck behind a slow-moving car, remember that the driver is very likely looking for an address and could turn into a driveway at any point, so it’s not a good idea to try to pass them.
Don’t Drink and Ride
Lastly, never operate a motorcycle after drinking alcohol. Approximately half of all single-motorcycle accidents are caused by one of two things: speeding or alcohol. Alcohol and motorcycles don’t mix for the same reasons that alcohol and cars don’t mix: the alcohol slows your reflexes and impairs your judgement. And with the lack of protection that motorcycles offer compared to cars, alcohol significantly raises the risk of a fatal accident.