We’re fortunate to live in a climate where motorcycle owners can ride just about any time of year. Now that spring is here and the weather is perfect for getting outside, riders are heading out in even larger numbers. But they’re not the only ones: The roadways are also getting more crowded as spring and summer travelers come through our area. While it’s a great time to enjoy the fun and economy of riding a motorcycle, May is also National Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, and the best time to review motorcycle safety tips for both riders and drivers.
Tips for motorcycle riders.
Whether you’re a brand-new rider or have years of experience, your safety depends upon your skills and taking certain precautions every time you ride. Do all you can to reduce the chances of an accident.
Wear a helmet
This is the most important safety equipment you have. According to “The Anatomy of a Motorcycle Crash,” a publication from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “As the helmet does its job, the number and severity of head injuries are significantly reduced.” Full-coverage helmets offer the best protection, and you should never buy a used helmet, which may have been worn in a crash and be ineffective. It may be tempting to want to feel the open air and have greater visibility, but your helmet can save your life.
Choose the right bike
There is a wide range of motorcycle models from which to choose: cruisers, touring bikes, sport bikes, and more. While the sleek and very fast sport bikes are popular, they can be particularly dangerous: Research has shown that although this type of bike makes up a relatively small percentage of all registered motorcycles, it accounts for a disproportionate number of rider deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Do your homework before buying a motorcycle and take multiple test drives. New riders may want to choose a bike with a lighter weight for easier handling, as well as one that allows you to easily put both feet on the ground. Also look for an anti-lock braking system that makes sudden stops safer.
You must be constantly aware of other drivers, pedestrians, road conditions, and other aspects of your environment. Ride as though you are completely invisible to other drivers and maintain a position that lets you be seen. Pay particular attention when moving through intersections, where at least half of all crashes happen. Defensive driving also includes always using your headlights (day or night).
Wear safety gear
This not only includes wearing reflective or bright clothing to increase your visibility; you should also protect your body. Although shorts and flip-flops are standard Florida attire, such clothing offers you no protection at all, even in the most minor of collisions. To improve your chances of surviving a motorcycle accident and reducing the severity of injuries, consider adding gloves, boots, and suits and jackets made especially for motorcycle safety to your collection of riding gear.
Tips for drivers sharing the road with motorcycles.
It happens too often: A driver who has collided with a motorcycle insists “I just didn’t see him.” While we’re behind the wheel of a car, we’re subconsciously looking for vehicles as large or larger than our own, so a bike—particularly a very fast one—can be too easy to miss. Here are a few ways motorists can responsibly share the road with motorcycle riders.
Double-check your blind spots
Even when a motorcycle is visible in your side-view mirror, it can be hard to spot. Don’t be in a rush to change lanes or merge—you could save a rider’s life.
Keep your distance
A skilled, responsible motorcycle rider will try to maintain a proper distance from other vehicles, but it’s your responsibility, too. Leave more space than usual between your car and a motorcycle, and keep in mind that motorcycles can change positions very quickly.
When you intend to pass a motorcycle, use your turn signal and give the rider time to see it. After passing, wait until you are several car lengths ahead of the bike before moving back into the lane.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, call us.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers offer free, no-obligation consultations. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone’s negligent actions, we’re here to help. Call us at 904-251-1111 or 800-251-1111, or complete the form above.