Help Avoid a Motorcycle Accident With These Riding Safety Tips
While fun to ride, motorcycles present a heightened risk of injury due to a relative lack of protection. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists face a risk of crashing 30 times greater than drivers of cars. Moreover, nearly half of all motorcycle-related fatalities result from single-vehicle crashes.
Many motorcyclists nevertheless manage to ride their entire lives without injury. The key is to be prepared in order to minimize risk. Consummerreports.org offers the following tips for avoiding injury while riding motorcycles:
- Pick a motorcycle that fits your skill level and body type. An ultra high-performance motorcycle might not be the best fit for beginners due to their increased power and speed. Further, when seated, you should be able to rest both feet on the ground and the handlebars should be easily within reach. If the motorcycle feels too heavy for you to get on and off the center stand, it probably is.
- Buy antilock brakes. A proven lifesaver, antilock brakes have shown to reduce the risk of a fatal crash by 37 percent. According to Bruce Biondo of the VA Dept. of Motor Vehicles, “[n]o matter what kind of rider you are, ABS can brake better than you.”
- Take a Course and Practice. A Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course can teach you the basic and advanced techniques that minimize risk on the road, such as evasive emergency maneuvers. Also, an approved safety course might make you eligible for an insurance discount. In fact, some manufacturers of motorcycles offer credits toward the cost of new motorcycles if the rider signs up for an MSF course.
- Wear a helmet. Riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries than those with helmets. When Texas repealed its helmet law, the State saw a 31 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities. Arkansas suffered a 21 percent increase when it repealed its helmet law. In addition to cutting down on wind noise and fatigue, most modern helmets are lightweight, strong, and comfortable. When choosing your helmet, a full-face option is the best choice and should be replaced every five years or sooner if it’s been in a crash or damaged, according to The Snell Memorial Foundation which tests helmets and recommends standards for the industry.
- Avoid bad weather. Slippery conditions increase the risk of danger by reducing a rider’s margin for error. If you absolutely have to ride in the rain, remember that the time just after the beginning of precipitation is often the most dangerous.
- Ride on the defensive. With the today’s common phone use and texting behind the wheel, you must remain extra vigilant. A recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that car drivers are at fault in 60% of collisions involving a car and a motorcycle. Watching closely for irregular movements in surrounding cars can be the difference between safety and severe injury.
While prevention is obviously preferable, sometimes accidents happen regardless of how careful and alert one may ride. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a collision while riding a motorcycle, please contact Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case evaluation at (916) 520-6639.
Our office is located in Sacramento and we serve clients throughout California.