Statistics About Motorcycle Safety
Motorcycles have a reputation for being rather dangerous. Those concerns aren’t entirely without merit. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2016a motorcyclist’s risk of a fatal crash wasup to 28 times greater than a passenger car. Despite the increased risk associated with riding a motorcycle, there are over 390,000 bikes on the road in the state of Pennsylvania alone, and no sign in their popularity decreasing any time soon.
Clearly, it is important to know how to ensure that you are as safe as possible when on a motorcycle. From wearing the right gear to practicing safe riding habits, there are several things you can do to protect yourself on the road while on a bike.
Motorcycle Safety Gear
Before you even hit the road, you have to be sure that you are wearing the right equipment to keep you safe while riding a motorcycle. In fact, most states impose motorcycle safety laws that require riders to wear personal protective equipment. Even if wearing this kind of equipment is not required, you should still consider making it a part of your riding attire. Safety equipment is designed to improve the ability of other drivers to see you, resist road burn or abrasions, protect you from injury upon impact, and shield you from harsh weather.
Some of the most important gear to have with you on a motorcycle ride includes some of the following:
- Helmet – Perhaps the most important piece of gear, as it protects you from severe head and brain injuries in the event that you are in an accident. The most effective helmets are full-face helmets that also include a visor or eye shield that will also keep debris and dust out of your eyes.
- Jacket – Motorcycle jackets often come equipped with additional padding to protect some of the more vulnerable areas of a biker’s upper body, such as on the back, shoulders and elbows.
- Pants – Similarly, bike pants typically include protective padding on the knees and hips. Motorcycle pants are also often made out of durable material that will protect bikers from road burns or abrasions if an accident occurs.
- Gloves – Specially made motorcycle cloves are designed to allow bikers to easily and comfortably maintain their grip on the motorcycle’s handlebars and brakes.
- Boots – Good motorcycle boots will contain elements designed to protect your toes and ankles, but should also have a flexible rubber soles to allow drivers to change gears easily.
Motorcycle Safety Tips While on the Road
Having the right gear will certainly help motorcyclists stay safe in the event of an accident and help prevent extensive injury. However, much of that protection is lost if a biker rides his or her motorcycle recklessly or aggressively. Consequently, it is essential for motorcycle riders to also practice cautious riding habits to help prevent accidents and ensure a safe trip. To minimize your chances of an accident, practice these safe driving tips while out on your motorcycle.
- Ride defensively – Instead of weaving in and out of traffic, take extra precautions to make sure other drivers are aware of your presence. A good rule of thumb is to drive under the assumption that the drivers around you cannot see you. Always use you blinkers, turn on your lights and avoid staying in a car’s blind spot to improve your visibility to others.
- Follow the traffic rules – Violating basic traffic rules can have deadly consequences for a motorcyclist. Excessive speeding, driving on a road’s shoulder or rolling through intersections are especially dangerous for motorcyclists because it can be difficult for other cars to see a bike coming. Since motorcyclists are much more vulnerable in an accident than car passengers who have a vehicle around them to keep them protected, it is better to drive within the parameters of the traffic laws and avoid unpredictable behaviors that other drivers won’t see coming.
- Maintain your bike and equipment – Just as it is important to make sure that your car is working properly, it is essential to make sure your motorcycle is in top working order as well. Thousands of accidents occur each year due to mechanical malfunctions, but in a motorcyclist’s case, the consequences can be more severe if something goes wrong with the bike.
- Make sure you are alert – It might seem like a no brainer but driving under the influence of intoxicants or while extremely tired increases the chance of an accident exponentially. If you’re too tired or too inebriated to safely drive home, it is better to call a cab or a friend to come pick you up, which will help you avoid an accident that could lead to a serious injury.
Staying safe of a motorcycle will help ensure that each ride you take on a bike will just as freeing and exciting as the last.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.