How to Prevent Accidents On and Around Motorcycles
With the weather warming up, more and more motorcycles will be on the road. While this means relaxing leisurely rides for motorcyclists, it also means an increase in potential accidents for them.
A frightening 80% of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and in recognition, we are sharing safety tips for riders and drivers to help prevent accidents on and around motorcycles.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riders
Choose the Right Bike
Buying a motorcycle isn’t something you should be doing to show off. Bikes today have an enormous amount of power, and you need to ride one that is appropriate for what you can handle.
If you haven’t ridden for a number of years or are a new rider, it might be best to start off with a bike with a smaller engine, at least until you become much more comfortable riding. Make sure you fit the size of the bike. Both feet should be able to reach the ground completely and handlebars and controls need to be within easy reach. If you’re on your toes just to touch the ground or stretching to reach controls, this bike is not for you.
Wear the Proper Motorcycle Gear, Including a Helmet
Riding in the sun wearing jeans and a t-shirt sounds like the perfect spring day, doesn’t it? But imagine how it would feel hitting the ground at high speeds in those clothes. Even a bug or flying debris can be a painful impact while on a motorcycle.
Wear solid protective gear like a leather jacket, full pants, footwear that covers your ankles, gloves, and eye-wear like goggles or a face shield on your helmet.
And speaking of a helmet, wear it. In some states, such as Illinois, wearing a helmet is optional, but the simple fact is, helmets save lives. In 2016, the NHTSA estimated that approximately 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives were saved by wearing a helmet and that roughly 802 more could have been saved by wearing helmets.
Make Yourself More Visible
When riding, it helps to assume you are invisible to other drivers. Position yourself to be seen. Ride in the lane that puts you in the best visible position and don’t weave or ride between lanes or on the shoulder. Drivers are not typically looking for vehicles in these places because cars can’t drive there, so why should you?
Wear bright clothing and gear and consider adding reflective strips to your clothing and your bike. Always ride with the headlights on, whether it is day or night.
Use Common Sense
A few practical moves go a long way to help keep you safe. While riding, be careful to stay out of a driver’s blind spot. Always use your turn signals and give yourself enough time for breaking. Don’t speed or drive recklessly. And never drive when you are drinking or tired.
Never Stop Improving Your Riding Skills
New riders should always take a motorcycle safety and education course. Refresher courses are offered for experienced riders and taking them may even get you an insurance discount.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers online and in-person classes on everything from Starting the Ride to Mastering the Ride.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Drivers
Drivers are at fault for many of the motorcycle accidents on the road due to poor awareness, distractions, and not giving motorcyclists the right of way. As a driver, it’s your responsibility to help provide safer riding conditions on the road for other drivers and motorcyclists.
Understand Your Position on the Road
A motor vehicle has a lot more power on the road than a motorcycle, a bicycle, a scooter, and a pedestrian. Driving around like you own the road puts everyone at greater risk. Your vehicle is bigger and stronger and because of this, it has the power to hurt people. Be aware of that and sensitive to the fact that other people’s lives are in your hands every time you take a drive.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It’s easy for driving to become another routine for you and for the hyper-vigilance you may have once had to disappear. But driving should never become something that is routine.
Each time you get onto the road, be aware of everything around you. Motorcycles are smaller and can be easily missed if you aren’t paying attention. Don’t drive distracted, using the phone, or when you’re tired.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Motorist laws exist for a reason; to keep people safe. Following the rules of the road will ensure you are doing what you can to help protect yourself and other motorists. Always check your blind spots before changing lanes, stop completely at all intersections and check all ways carefully before proceeding, follow the speed limit, and keep a safe following distance. These are only a few of the things you should be doing to practice road safety.
At some point or another, all drivers make mistakes. Be kind about it. Road rage is incredibly reckless, not to mention illegal.
Share the road and remember, you’re not the only one out there trying to get where you want.
Protect Yourself with Motorcycle Insurance from Amigo Insurance
Help ease the worry and get back to enjoying the ride with motorcycle insurance. No rider should be uninsured.
By following these tips, and getting a motorcycle policy through Amigo Insurance, you’ll feel confident knowing that while you can’t control other drivers, you’re providing the safest riding experience for yourself.