Motorcyclists lack the protection drivers of other motor vehicles have, meaning they’re at a greater risk of injury or death in an accident. In fact, about 80% of motorcycle crashes result in an injury or fatality (compared to 20% of other vehicular crashes), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see. Small obstacles, even wet pavement, cracks in the road, or leaves, can put a motorcyclist in danger.
Nonetheless, there are many ways you can reduce the risk of a motorcycle crash. Here are some tips to help protect you:
Speed limits are posted for a reason. The faster you ride, the less time there is to see and react to a hazard. Speeding also makes it harder to navigate a turn. You could lose control of the bike at a corner or, if you hit the brakes too hard, be thrown off the bike. Slow down if weather or road conditions warrant it. Just an extra second can give you time to safely maneuver around a hazard.
Always Be Alert
There are always hazards, from unaware drivers to potholes, to railroad tracks, sand, or gravel. Sharp turns and sudden lane closures require being alert as well. You should be well-rested when getting on a bike and never text while riding. A high percentage of motorcycle riders who die in accidents are under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, never get on your bike after you’ve been drinking, as alcohol impairs your judgment and reaction time.
Be Careful at Intersections
Assume no one sees you and look both ways when approaching an intersection. Cars may be turning left even if there’s a red light. Vehicles may also turn into your lane before noticing you; if so, you’ll only have a moment’s notice to react and get out of danger. When at a crosswalk, move to the side of the lane and flash your brake light repeatedly to avoid getting rear-ended. Also, keep the bike in gear so you can pull away if necessary.
Don’t Ride Between Traffic and Parked Cars
This is a very unsafe practice. It gives you little room or time to react if a driver opens their car door when parked. You could slam right into it. A car could also pull out quickly in front of you, or a pedestrian may step out from behind parked cars. These situations often result in serious or even fatal motorcycle crashes.
Maintain Your Bike
Some accidents are caused by mechanical failures. You can avoid these by regularly maintaining your bike. Make sure a professional mechanic services the engine, brakes, tires, turn signals, and headlamps. Small repairs, tune-ups, and lubricating moving parts can make an accident much less likely.
Never Ride in the Same Lane as a Car
Sharing lanes is an unnecessary risk. The driver of the car beside you may be startled when they see you so close. Or, they may not see you when changing lanes, resulting in a crash. Maintain a safe distance from semi-trucks as well; between their size,weight, and number of blind spots, the risk is too great.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Learning how to properly ride a motorcycle can save your life. You’ll encounter some type of obstacle at some point. If you can find an empty parking lot, practice sharp turns, quick accelerations, and tight circles. Practice hard braking occasionally as well, but not so much it wears out the braking system. To safely brake, let off the acceleration and apply the rear and front brakes evenly. Also, try to avoid or get out of uncomfortable situations as quickly as you can.
Avoid Riding at Night or in Bad Weather
Studies have shown many fatal motorcycle crashes happen during nighttime hours. At night, a motorcyclist doesn’t have a good view of the road. And even if you haven’t been drinking, other drivers may have been, creating uncontrollable dangers. Motorcycles are also more susceptible than other vehicles to rain, snow, hail, cold temperatures, black ice, and other inclement weather conditions. They only have two wheels yet are just as prone to hydroplaning as cars.
Wear Reflective Clothing and Gear
Add reflective strips to jackets, boots, gloves, pants, and helmets or purchase items that have them. It might not look as fashionable. But these will certainly make it easier for drivers to notice you. Adding reflectors to your motorcycle is also beneficial.
Complete a Safety Course
It’s not hard to find motorcycle safety courses. A safety class can teach you defensive driving strategies that decrease the risk of accidents. Most of these courses take just a few days and include classroom work and supervised riding practice. They are resourceful whether you’re a beginner or experienced rider.
Call Jacob If You’ve Been in a Motorcycle Crash
While motorcyclists face many hazards, not every crash is the rider’s fault. Road conditions and aggressive drivers cause motorcycle crashes all over Los Angeles and Southern California. We’re familiar with the often-severe injuries motorcycle accident victims sustain. Obtaining compensation can involve numerous legal challenges, including statutes of limitations and unethical insurance companies. To set up a free consultation for your motorcycle accident case, call The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani at 888-952-2952.