Being a participant in traffic while on a motorcycle can be risky. Their size, visibility, and the lack of protection in comparison to other road users leave them more vulnerable to accidents and injury. To face these challenges, motorcyclists have to be prepared both physically and mentally. The right motorgear and preparation can help to reduce the risk of riding a motorcycle significantly.
Get Road Ready
The following steps help you reduce the risk of accidents or injuries before you ever step on the road.
Even the most skilled of riders do not ride risk-free. Next to their abilities, there are many external factors, such as weather influences, road quality and other vehicles, that can cause an accident. As a motorcyclist you lack protection like a carriage, seat belts or airbags, therefore you need to put all the more care into picking the best motorgear and clothes to protect your body.
Motorcycle helmets, boots, gloves, armor, and clothing provide:
- better control,
- more comfort,
- protection from injuries such as cuts and abrasions, and
- absorption of impacts.
- Before any ride, make sure to check on the running condition of your bike to prevent the risk of a crash. While doing so, check on:
- the engine,
- the brakes,
- the tires,
- the headlamps, and
- the turn signals.
Crash prevention courses teach you about how to deal with common road hazards such as weather conditions or typical accidents caused by driving behavior. The training will teach you about how to handle:
- train tracks,
- wet or icy pavement,
- leaves and other obstructions.
They will also cover the most prominent causes of motorcycle accidents, such as:
- turning cars,
- lane switching or splitting,
- high-speed, and
- turning corners,
and provide the best strategies for dealing with these situations.
- Take or re-take a first aid course every once in a while to freshen up on what to do in case of an injury.
On The Road
The knowledge you have gained beforehand and your behavior on the road can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
- Needless to say: never ride when intoxicated. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29 % of all motorcycle riders who were killed in 2019 were drunk at the time of the accident.
On a motorcycle, you are smaller and more agile than cars. Many drivers can overlook you. You cannot control how aware others are of their surroundings. That’s why you, as a motorcyclist, have to be twice as alert. Watch the road ahead and observe potential hazards, such as those you learn about in crash prevention courses.
When you get in an accident, being 10 mph faster can make the difference between an injury or a fatal accident. If you find yourself in a risky traffic situation, slow down and don’t become overconfident.
Pick safer positions
Driving between cars, whether one side is parked or not, is dangerous. If it’s not absolutely necessary to be in another lane, try to ride on the right side of the rightmost lane. This way, you reduce being in a collision when you or other vehicles switch lanes or turn corners. Most car drivers do not expect to share the road with smaller vehicles like motorcycles and are not prepared to watch out for you.
We have already covered what you should do in case of an accident. Here are the most important steps summarized.
- In most cases, after an accident, you will still be in a traffic situation. If you can move, check your surroundings, and move to a safe location. Many accident victims and helpers can get injured when they stay in the lane where other vehicles can add on to the accident amidst the chaos.
- Do not remove your gear or objects that have penetrated your skin. In the high adrenaline rush, you might not feel just how bad an injury is. Removing anything from a stab wound will cause you to bleed out quicker. Removing your helmet can cause strain on a spinal or head injury. Instead, wait for the paramedics to help you with that. If you are heavily bleeding, put pressure on the wound and/or ask others for help.
- Call 911 if any witnesses or participants haven’t done so already.
- Get yourself checked out medically, even if you feel fine. In a collision with cars, you are more likely to be injured.
Protect Yourself, Juristically
- If you are able to, try to gather evidence of the accident.
Take pictures and speak to witnesses and get their contact information. Speak to the other participants and contact information. Get a copy of the police report.
Accidents can be costly when it comes to compensation for injured/killed humans and damaged objects. It is entirely possible that other accident participants will try to paint you as the liable party. Even if you are, take a step back before you admit to any fault. Anything you say can be used against you.
- Discuss the situation with a personal injury attorney first, even if you want to admit to your guilt. They will help you to reach the best outcome.
A personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents can also help you to get a fair settlement in case another accident participant was at fault. They aid you in filing the paperwork and meeting deadlines.
Being road safe for a motorcycle rider is a combination of protective gear, maintenance, practice & training and smart riding practices. As the most vulnerable motorized participant in traffic situations, it is often on the motorcyclist to be aware of his surroundings and to reduce possible hazards. Crash prevention courses help in dealing with dangerous situations. Protective motorcycle gear, legal aid can lessen the impact of an accident on the rider’s health and financial situation. Overall, the motorcyclist should never ride without the appropriate preparations.
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