If you talk with any avid motorcycle rider, they will share that motorcycle riding is fun and exciting. They will describe the wind in your hair, the open road, and the adrenaline that comes with the thrill of the adventure.
While there is no doubt that there is a sense of adventure and freedom that goes along with riding a motorcycle, it is more dangerous than driving a car. Most motorcycle riders are experienced, safe, and caution as they ride down the road, but all too often, a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident because the driver of a vehicle did not see them or operated without regard to the motorcycle rider.
Around 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. It was reported that in 2018, 4,985 motorcycle riders were killed on US roadways. In 2019 that number increased slightly to 5.014. In 2019, 60% of women who died in accidents while riding a motorcycle were passengers. Interestingly, 42% of motorcycle deaths occur because of a wrong turn. Nearly 75% of all motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle. While helmets provide protection to motorcycle riders, head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.
Knowing that motorcycle accidents are all to common place, how can motorcycle riders best protect themselves? Here are some tips to consider:
1) Never operate a motorcycle without obtaining a motorcycle license. Often this requires attending classes. Most motorcycle classes are taught by highly skilled and trained motorcycle riders. Classes are offered by various organizations, including the Motorcycle Safety Foundation – https://msf-usa.org/.
2) Always wear an approved helmet. When buying a new helmet, make sure that the safety standards are approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Approved helmets will display the DOT symbol either painted or as a sticker.
3) Always do a pre-trip check of your motorcycle before your ride. You should pay particular attention to the tires and braking system.
4) Position yourself properly and safely on the center of the motorcycle seat and always keep both hands on the handlebars, except when signaling.
5) Obey all traffic laws. It is easy to want to feel the freedom of the road and to speed as traveling down the roadway.
6) Pay particular attention to other vehicles. As a motorcycle rider, you can’t always account for the actions of other drivers, but you can pay acute attention to vehicles around you. You should always consider an “out” if a vehicle makes a sudden or unexpected move. Unfortunately, if a vehicle hits you, you are likely to suffer serious injuries, while the other driver will only suffer property damage.
7) Which for damaged roads, potholes, and roadway obstacles? You must pay particular attention to the roadway, as a motorcycle has less contact with the roadway than a vehicle and is more prone to lose of control and skidding.
8) Late-model motorcycles commonly come equipped with anti-lock brakes. These braking systems reduce the risk of skidding out of control.
9) No one should ever operate a vehicle or motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also, you should only operate a motorcycle when fully alert and not drowsy.
10) Avoid riding your motorcycle in inclement weather conditions, such as rain, snow, winds, and other types of weather that can make riding dangerous. A motorcycle is much more effective in weather conditions than a vehicle.
11) In addition to wearing a DOT-approved helmet, purchase and wear protective gear and gear that enhances your visibility.
12) Don’t operate an unfamiliar motorcycle or one that you have not taken the time and opportunity to become completely knowledgeable about its operation.
These are simply some common tips for the safe operation of a motorcycle.
It is also important to obtain proper insurance for your motorcycle. You should consult with an insurance broker to discuss and obtain insurance that provides you with coverage to fit your needs and protection.
Over the course of the past 36 years, Kevin Coluccio of Coluccio Law has handled many motorcycle accident claims. Unfortunately, these claims generally involve serious or fatal injuries. What has been seen over the course of his representation is that all too often, the operators of vehicles simply fail to pay proper attention and see motorcycle riders who are there to be seen.