Far too many motorcyclists are involved in fatal crashes, in 2020, 5,458 riders were killed. Although accidents do happen, there are ways to prevent them, especially if you are on a motorcycle. As a cyclist you are aware of how fun riding on the open road is, you are also aware that you are taking a risk by getting on a bike.
Many precautions can be taken to lower the chances of an accident. These are simple steps that could save your life, and a whole host of them occur before even getting on the bike and starting the engine.
Choose the correct motorcycle
Riding a motorcycle takes balance, coordination, and good judgment, choosing the right bike is the first piece to figure out. There are many kinds of bikes out there, different sized bikes, that accelerate, brake, and turn differently. It is important to know the bike you are getting, make sure it fits well, is manageable, and has the speed and balance you can operate.
If you get on a bike and it doesn’t feel right, trust your judgment, you will spend a lot of time on this vehicle and want to be comfortable while you do so.
Always wear a full-face helmet
Why a full-face helmet? The chin is the most common area of impact in a motorcycle accident with 19.4% of all injuries occurring in that area. A full-face helmet protects the head, eyes, and chin, full coverage at ALL times, is always best. Most accidents happen at slow speeds, and even at slow speeds you can hit your head with enough impact to cause damage, so even if you are going somewhere close and slowly, it’s more than worth it to wear your helmet.
Protective gear is a must
There are a few simple items that are a must-wear while on your bike. A full-face helmet, long pants, jeans, or other sturdy material, an abrasion-resistant jacket with armor, gloves, and boots that cover the ankles.
It only takes one slip to end up horizontal underneath your bike, you never know when that might be so it is vital to wear full gear at all times, even when it’s 90 degrees and sunny in August. A tip to staying cool on those warm summer days, get a helmet with a vent and wear white gear.
Check the weather and know your limits
Rain and snow impact travel on a motorcycle much more than they would if traveling by car. Make sure to check the weather constantly and re-route as necessary. If going on a multi-night trip, make sure to check the route and weather each night before bed and then again in the morning and make appropriate changes. If you have to cancel a hotel or change a flight, it is worth it. A small monetary loss now could save your life later.
Don’t drink and make sure you are rested
Just like driving, or flying, drinking while operating a motorcycle is not a good idea. Riding takes extreme concentration and involves whole-body engagement, eyes, ears, nose, and limbs need to be able to pay attention at all times.
Along with not drinking, it is important to be rested. Because such focus is needed to ride safely, it is important to build in enough rest and take breaks while on the road. Highway fatigue is just as real on a bike as in a car, if you need to take a nap on the side of the road, do it. If you need a water and stretch break, do it. As simple as that is, it could save your life by keeping you focused and able to concentrate on riding safely.
Pre-ride and on-the-bike checks
It’s a beautiful sunny day, your pals have just arrived and you want to hit the open road. You don’t have to do a pre-check, right? Wrong, it only takes a couple of minutes to check your tire pressure, fluids and lights. After you do your pre-ride check, make sure to do a general check-in once you are sitting on your bike. Inspect your suspension and mirrors, make any adjustments necessary.
Examine the clutch and brakes, make sure they have the right resistance and are ready to go. If they don’t feel right, don’t ride. Your front brake is responsible for 80% to 90% of braking power. Don’t trust your back brakes to pick up the slack, get the front brakes fixed before hitting the road.
The most common thing drivers say after a collision with a motorcycle is “I didn’t even see them.” Drivers are trained to see other cars, not motorcycles. Ride defensively, as if no driver can see you. The slim profile of a motorcycle also allows them to ride in blindspots more often. Make sure to signal clearly and be aware of those around you at all times. Stay alert and always pay attention to what the cars around you are doing.
Driving a motorcycle is fun, but comes with risks. Make sure to take as many precautions as possible before getting on a bike, and continue to do so as you hit the road. If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident and is seeking out legal assistance, contact Larson and Gallivan Law PLC, we’re here to help.