Even for experienced riders, the road can be a dangerous place. Safety should be a priority for every rider, especially since motorcyclists are far more likely to be seriously injured in an accident that drivers are. Many of these accidents are preventable, however, with appropriate caution and education. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself when riding.
Wear a Helmet
While it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet in California, some riders still may forgo wearing one for short rides. There is a reason helmets are required, however. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in an accident, 37 would have survived if they’d worn a helmet. This number doesn’t account for the hundreds of injured riders whose injuries could have been reduced by a helmet.
When choosing a helmet, ensure that your helmet meets the Department of Transportation standards, and have a spare for passengers. Your helmet should fit comfortably and not obstruct your vision.
Get Your Motorcycle License
In California, you are required to have a special designation on your driver’s license to operate a motorcycle on public streets. In order to receive our license, you will need to pass a written knowledge course and a skills test. Going through these tests can pay off when it comes to safety. In 2011, a quarter of the motorcyclists killed in accidents didn’t have a proper license or training.
Get Professional Training
More than 90% of the riders involved in motorcycle accidents were self-taught or taught by a non-professional. Professional training can help you plan ahead for hazards and learn how to handle your bike in an emergency.
Never Drink and Ride
Not only is it illegal, but riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous. Alcohol and other substances can impair your judgment, slow your reactions to hazards, and leave you struggling with balance and coordination. If you have been drinking, find a sober ride home.
Wear Protective Clothing
While a helmet is a start, there is a wide array of protective clothing that can shield you from harm in an emergency. Abrasion-resistant clothing, such as leather or special fabrics designed for riders, can protect you from cuts, road rash, and other skin injuries. You should try to cover as much of your body as possible with full finger gloves, a jacket, riding pants, and boots. Your clothing should fit close to your body, and be brightly colored to help others on the road see you.
If your helmet doesn’t have a face shield, you should also invest in riding goggles or other eye protection. This can protect your eyes from debris and prevent you from losing control due to your vision being impaired by debris or weather conditions.
Maintain Your Bike
Your bike should be something you can rely on, but it can’t perform its best when you don’t maintain it. Perform routine maintenance, check your tires and brakes, and keep your bike in good working order. When an emergency happens, you can trust that it will handle the way you expect it to.
Avoid Sharing Lanes or Lane Splitting
Drivers don’t expect to be sharing a lane with a motorcycle, so they can cause an accident if they don’t see you. Splitting lanes can also leave riders vulnerable to a driver who may make sudden lane changes or other unexpected moves.
Know Your Skill Level
If you are a less experienced rider, you can get into situations that are beyond your ability to handle. Knowing your own skill level and riding accordingly can help prevent serious accidents. Don’t overestimate your ability, since the results can be deadly.
Avoid Road Hazards
Debris, puddles and ice, and other poor road conditions are more dangerous for motorcycles than they are for cars. Even small hazards that don’t really threaten cars can lead a rider into an accident. Familiarizing yourself with road hazards to watch for and how to handle your bike safely can help you steer through dangerous situations safely.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a motorcycle accident? At the Haffner Law Group, we are backed by more than 50 collective years of personal injury experience. Our skillful Ventura motorcycle accident attorneys can help you fight for compensation and will support you through every turn of your case.