May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which is an annual event to promote motorcycle safety. As the weather breaks and warmer temperatures arrive, motorcyclists begin to ride again. The influx of motorcyclists increases the threat of accidents for all road users. The presence of motorcycles can create risks for passengers and drivers in cars as well as pedestrians and cyclists.
While any type of car accident has the potential to cause injuries or death to anyone involved, there are several factors that make motorcycle accidents more likely to cause severe or fatal injuries. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that motorcyclists are nearly 30 times more likely to die in traffic accidents than other motorists. Even if the motorcyclist survives, the injuries will likely be severe.
Why motorcycle accident injuries are often severe has a lot to do with the vulnerability of motorcyclists. Motorcyclists do not have the same protection as car drivers do. Another factor is that motorcyclists may be less visible to other motorists, leaving them open to harm. Since motorcycle accidents are so dangerous, it is important for all road users to know how to prevent them from happening. Below are some useful safety tips for motorcyclists.
Choose the Right Bike
The style and size of a motorcycle should suit the rider in ways that ensure safety and a sense of comfort and control. A motorcyclist must be able to handle their bike. To ensure that the bike is the right size, a rider should make sure they are able to straddle the bike and rest their feet flat on the ground while seated comfortably. The seat should be at a height that does not present a problem getting on and off the motorcycle. The handlebar and controls should be within easy reach. The weight of the bike is another issue that might indicate that it might be difficult for a certain rider to handle.
Invest in a Good Helmet
The risk of brain injuries increases greatly for riders who do not wear a helmet, and motorcyclists who ride without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to die of a head injury in the event of a crash, according to Consumer Reports.
Full-face helmets offer the best protection. Despite complains that helmets significantly restrict a rider’s vision and hearing, studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration prove otherwise. The findings show that the effects on vision were virtually eliminated when riders made an effort to turn their heads further and that hearing was not affected in any meaningful way.
Wear Protective Gear
In addition to ensuring head safety with a certified helmet, motorcycle riders should protect their bodies from possible injuries as well. Long pants with durable fabrics like leather or denim and reinforced jackets protect riders from injuries. Even when temperatures are high, temporary discomfort from the heat still feels better than road rash.
Some gear is designed with ventilation and other cooling features while still offering protection from injuries. Overall coverage with thicker materials also protects against wind chill and debris as well as sunburn. Heavy boots or similar ankle-high footwear is important. Gloves offer protection for a motorcyclist’s hands. If eye protection is not built into the helmet, goggles or protective eye wear is recommended.
Maintain the Motorcycle
Regular motorcycle maintenance is vital for safe riding. Like any vehicle, motorcycles have many working parts that need to be checked out periodically in order to run properly. A mechanical tune-up can ensure a safe ride. The mechanic should check the oil, brake pads, tire tread, tire pressure, belts, and chains to make sure they are in good working order with no dangerous signs of trouble. Motorcyclists themselves should be in the habit of giving their bike the once-over before they ride. Check that lights are working properly, that mirrors are adjusted correctly, and that there are no loose bolts or leaks.
Keep a Safe Distance
Tailgating and riding too close to cars puts motorcyclists at great risk. It is best for bikers to ride down the center of the lane and to leave plenty of room between themselves and the cars ahead to ensure plenty of time to stop.
Mind Stops and Turns
Familiar routes are safest for those who are new at riding a motorcycle. In addition to proper braking, turning is one of the most important motorcycle skills to master. Both can be affected by instability of the road’s surface. Whether turning at an intersection or navigating a curvy road, motorcyclists should pay attention to the road, gravel, debris, or other road surface issues can make the ride unsteady and dangerous.
Avoid Dangerous Weather Conditions
Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous in hazardous weather conditions. Wet and slick roads create many dangers. When roads are slick with rain or other weather-related issues, traction is affected, which makes turns and stops more problematic.
When driving in the rain, motorcyclists should take their time and show extra caution. Visibility can be affected in even light rain, especially in the dark. This affects a rider’s ability to see as well as their ability to be seen by other drivers. Do not attempt to ride a motorcycle in rainy conditions or strong winds. Remember that weather hazards may remain after the storm subsides. Wet roads, fallen debris, slippery leaves, and unexpectedly deep puddles can make road surfaces unsafe.
Double riders on the same motorcycle can increase the risk of someone getting hurt. Motorcyclists who invite a friend along should make sure to go over all necessary safety measures to keep their riding partner safe. First and foremost, the other rider should wear a helmet and other wearable protection. They should be shown how to stay safe when the bike is turning and stopping.
If one is injured in a motorcycle accident, they should speak to a lawyer about their options.
Virginia Beach Personal Injury Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Represent Clients Injured in Motorcycle Accidents
During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, road users should review the causes of motorcycle accidents and learn how to prevent them. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you should be able to collect damages from the at-fault party. A Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC can help you collect damages after a severe motorcycle accident. Complete our online form or call us at 757-LAW-0000 for an initial consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.