Motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash and to put that statistic into perspective, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2018. As staggering as these numbers are, they are not surprising. This is because motorcyclists are not as safe on the roads as drivers and vehicle passengers are because motorcycles are small and light compared to vehicles. Not to mention, motorcycles don’t give riders the extra lawyers of protection — metal and strong materials — that cars provide for occupants.
Common Mistakes Made by New Motorcyclists
Unfortunately, the risks of riding a motorcycle are fatal, which is why our Okemos personal injury lawyers strive to help you minimize those risks by describing some motorcycle safety tips. Beginners are especially at risk of getting hurt or killed in a crash, as new riders tend to make common mistakes such as:
- Forgetting to use the turn signal
- Leaving the kickstand down
- Riding with passengers
- Looking down
- Lane splitting
Safety Tips for Riding a Motorcycle
Knowing that motorcyclists, especially beginners, are more vulnerable to getting into accidents than drivers and vehicle passengers, you may wonder how to help reduce your risk of becoming another fatality statistic. Below are 8 motorcycle safety tips that every rider should know and follow:
Wear safety gear: Helmets, jackets, pants, gloves, and guards for your elbows, shins, and knees, are some of the various types of motorcycle safety gear you’ll need. Investing in your safety by equipping yourself with the right gear, including boots, is essential for your safety and will be your first line of defense when you get into an accident.
Follow traffic rules: It may sound like common sense to follow the traffic laws, but far too many motorcyclists think they are above the law. Many riders speed, follow vehicles too closely, fail to use turn signals, and commit other traffic violations that end up in collisions and, subsequently, injuries and death.
Ride defensively: Vehicle drivers are often told to drive defensively, and motorcyclists are no exception to the rule of thumb. It is crucial to ride defensively because even if you’re doing everything right on the roads, drivers, pedestrians, and other motorcyclists are not guaranteed to do the same. You are very hard to see on the roads, so ride as if you are invisible.
You never know when someone is texting and driving, falling asleep behind the wheel, or has a lot on their mind, for example, so do not assume that everyone will keep an eye out for motorcyclists like you. Instead, assume the worst and ride defensively as such.
Take breaks: For long journeys especially, it is in your best interests to take breaks throughout your journey. Don’t just stop off to get gas, though. Take 15-minute breaks or so to give yourself time to stretch, walk around, and relax a little bit. You know your body and your bike, so when you’re feeling even the slightest bit tired while riding, safely pull over and take a break. You will feel much more alert and aware afterward, which brings us to our next point.
Be awake and aware: You should get a good night of sleep before riding the next day. Drink plenty of water and eat a meal before going out riding so you can feel awake and aware of your surroundings. Note that taking your eyes off the road even for a couple of seconds could cause a crash, and drowsy driving significantly increases your risk of getting into a collision.
Ride sober: Just like you shouldn’t drive under the influence, you shouldn’t ride under the influence, either. Riding a motorcycle while intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by drugs is a recipe for disaster, as you will significantly increase your chances of getting hurt or killed. It is not only dangerous but illegal.
Keep your distance: Do not ride too closely behind other vehicles or motorcyclists. Tailgating is never a good idea, especially when you’re on a motorcycle. As such, you should follow the 3-second rule, which means to leave 3 seconds worth of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Increase the following distance to 4 to 5 seconds in bad weather conditions.
Check your bike pre-ride: Ensure your motorcycle is good to go before you take it out on the road. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests using the acronym T-CLOCS to help you remember what to do in your motorcycle pre-ride check:
- T: Tires and wheels
- C: Controls
- L: Lights and electrics
- O: Oil and other fluids
- C: Chassis
- S: Stands
Keep in mind that even if you follow all the tips below and take additional precautions before hitting the road, you’re not guaranteed to avoid an accident. If you got into a motorcycle accident in Okemos, know that you are not alone. Our personal injury attorneys can help you recover maximum compensation to help you get back up on your feet and move forward.
To discuss your situation with us, schedule a consultation online or by calling (517) 316-1195!