How to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident: 10 Safety Tips from a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Written by Cooper and Friedman on August 10, 2017
Did you know that one in every two motorcycle accidents involves another motor vehicle? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013, 51% of fatal motorcycle accidents involved another motor vehicle and 47% of those accidents were front facing collisions. Another 22% of fatal motorcycle crashes that same year involved fixed objects such as light poles or highway medians. Among the fatal motorcycle accident scenarios involving another motor vehicle – 42% of them were due to other vehicles turning left and colliding with the driver of the motorcycle.
Needless to say, motorcycle accidents are dangerous, often fatal, and sometimes difficult to avoid. One of the best ways to remain safe while operating a motorcycle is to be aware of how to avoid a motorcycle accident. There are many ways in which to do so and we have outlined 10 tips to avoid a motorcycle accident.
10 Safety Tips to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident
1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
While it may sound obvious, one common reason for motorcycle accidents involves moments when riders aren’t paying full attention. It’s the same with motor vehicle operators and is due to one primary thing: habitual behavior. Regardless of how long you have been riding a motorcycle, it is important to remember that you are operating a heavy piece of machinery and will be around other people doing the same. Be aware of everything around you including other drivers, road conditions, hazards in the road, and other factors that could negatively affect your driving experience.
2. Wear a Helmet
It is extremely important to wear a helmet every time that you get on your motorcycle to go somewhere. Whether you are taking a ride down the street or across the city, wearing a helmet could be the one object standing between life and death should you get into an accident. Furthermore, it is important to have an additional helmet with your motorcycle at all times for passengers. You should always purchase new motorcycle safety gear. Never buy a used helmet. Used helmets have the potential of being damaged and may not meet the latest safety standards.
3. Don’t Drink and Ride
According to the NHTSA, around 50% of all fatal motorcycle accidents that occur across the United States involve alcohol. That number is more than double the number of motor vehicle accidents that result in a fatality from alcohol. There is only one way to prevent drinking and riding: Abstain from drinking when you plan on riding your motorcycle.
4. Follow Set Speed Limits
Another large part of fatal motorcycle accidents are due to speeding. This is especially true when increased speed is applied to motorcyclists trying to take sharp turns and losing control of their bikes. Follow the speed limits that are set on highways, back roads, and residential areas. This will help to keep you safe and prevent you from being unable to properly turn, running into a pedestrian or vehicle, and hydroplaning. Following the set speed limits on the roads you’re driving will also help you avoid getting in trouble with law enforcement.
5. Avoid Common Mistakes
Being aware of and avoiding common mistakes made by motorcycle riders is one way to remain safe on the road. The most common mistake made on the road that involves a motorcycle occurs when a car turns left in front of a motorcycle rider. Other common mistakes include: hitting gravel around a corner, entering a corner at too high of a speed, another motor vehicle changes lanes on top of you, getting rear ended by another motor vehicle, and getting hit by an opening car door. The best way to avoid common mistakes is to be aware of them. As a motorcycle rider, it is up to you to develop a sort of sixth sense to motor vehicle operators. Use that sixth sense to remain aware of situations that could negatively affect you and that other drivers may not even consider.
6. Resist Sharing Lanes
It is pertinent to your safety and survival to treat your motorcycle as if it were a motor vehicle. You would never see two full-sized cars driving side-by-side on the interstate or in a residential area. Do not think it is acceptable to do so on a motorcycle. Understandably, your bike is much more compact than most motor vehicles. However, that does not excuse you to share lanes and dangerously maneuver through traffic.
7. Maintain Your Motorcycle
Motorcycle maintenance is as important as motor vehicle maintenance and should be taken seriously. Make sure you are ready to roll, safely, before hitting the road. Do a quick walk-around the motorcycle and ensure your horn, signals, and other lights are all working correctly. Be sure to also check the chain, belt, brakes, and the tires. Contact a motorcycle mechanic and avoid riding the bike until it is repaired if any of these component aren’t working.
8. Hone Your Riding Skills
Honda Motorcycle’s Press Manager, John Seidel, is quoted stressing the importance of keeping your riding skills in impeccable shape. As he says: “There is nothing we could say or advice more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation riding course in your area. That’s critical, absolutely critical.” During a Motorcycle Safety Foundation sponsored class, you learn the basics (or go over them if you are familiar) and also learn advanced techniques including how to use evasive maneuvers to get out of an emergency. For a list of classes in your local area, click here.
9. Wear the Right Riding Gear
Besides a helmet, it is important to wear the right riding gear when getting on your motorcycle. If you get on your bike wearing baggy jeans, sandals, and a loose t-shirt then you’re more likely to get in an accident than if you wear proper gear. There are plenty of factors to consider that you will need protection from including: bugs and other debris on the road, the wind and other weather, and road rash should you get into an accident. There are specifically designed pieces of clothing, such as pants, shirts, eye wear, and shoes, meant for motorcycle riders available in various motorcycle retail stores and online.
10. Avoid Bad Weather Conditions
One thing that is not a friend of motorcycle rides is a wet, slick road. For one, a motorcycle’s two tires have much less traction on wet pavement than they do on dry. Moreover, rain or snow can significantly affect a motorcycle rider’s ability to see in front of them. Without windshield wipers, a motorcycle rider’s vision can quickly become obscured by heavy rain, sleet, or snow. If it is absolutely necessary to ride in the rain, take turns slowly and be sensitive with the controls.
There are a multitude of factors to keep in mind when getting onto a motorcycle and going for a ride. While it may seem overwhelming, remembering all of these safety tips could save your life down the road. Regardless of your experience on a motorcycle, practice safety and responsibility when operating a motorcycle. For more safety tips to help you avoid an accident, you can visit the National Highway Transportation Safety Association’s website here, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation mentioned earlier, or the National Motorcycle Safety Fund here.
If you have been in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault in the state of Kentucky or in Southern, Indiana, and are looking for experienced legal representation, call the Law Office of Cooper and Friedman at 502-459-7555. We can help you get the compensation you deserve based on the specifications of your case with over 45 years of combined experience representing motorcycle accident victims, Contact us today by calling the number above or by visiting our website and requesting a free initial consultation.