Although motorcycles have become somewhat safer over the years, these vehicles still present some of the biggest threats to both rider and driver safety.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 29 times more motorcyclist deaths than any other type of vehicle-related fatality. While 2019 saw a decrease in rider deaths, the injury rate for motorcyclists has stayed relatively steady since 2007, at around 1,000 injuries per 100,000 motorcycles.
If you ride a motorcycle, it’s important to take precautions to avoid a life-threatening accident on the road. During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month this May, taking a minute to review basic safety precautions might make all the difference on the road. After all, many motorcyclists manage to ride their entire lives without injury. The key is to be prepared in order to minimize risk.
10 Motorcycle Safety Tips to Avoid Accidents
At Kershaw Talley Barlow, our Sacramento team is committed to helping spread awareness about the dangers posed to motorcyclists. No one should have to suffer because of a driver’s negligence.
Here are 10 safety tips that motorcycle riders should keep in mind:
1. Always Wear a Helmet
Studies have shown that helmets reduce the risk of brain and head injury by almost 70%, and reduce fatality risks by 42%. Helmets may seem inconvenient, but they can save your life in the event of an accident.
2. Go the Speed Limit
Speed limits are designed with your safety in mind. Even if it can be exhilarating to move at high speeds, motorcyclists face higher risks of injury and death with every mile-per-hour past the posted speed limit.
3. Perform Regular Maintenance and Inspections on Your Bike
It may seem self-explanatory, but a poorly maintained bike can add to risks on the road. Pay particular attention to your tires, lights, and fluids before each ride; check that your mirrors and brakes are in working order.
4. Be Careful While Lane-Splitting.
California is the only U.S. state that does not forbid the practice of lane-splitting, or driving between two marked lanes. Since the passing of AB 51 in 2016, California Highway Patrol has posted more detailed guidelines on lane-splitting. If you decide to split lanes, be sure to read these safety guidelines first.
5. Look Out for Distracted Drivers
According to the 1981 Hurt Report, up to two-thirds of motorcycle accidents may be caused by a driver failing to give a motorcyclist the right of way. This is typically because the driver cannot see the rider. Sometimes, it’s due to intentional aggression. Either way, you should ride with your lights on and stay out of blind spots.
6. Ride on the Defensive
Many drivers use cell phones behind the wheel, if not to text then to listen to music, use GPS, etc. Motorcycle riders should be extra vigilant to avoid crashes with distracted drivers. The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that car drivers are at fault in over 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.
7. 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. Foggy and cloudy conditions also make accidents more likely.
8. Buy Anti-Lock Brakes
A study by the IIHS found that anti-lock braking systems (ABS) reduce the risk of a fatal crash by 31%. Regardless of skill level, a rider may accidentally lock up their brakes in slippery or otherwise dangerous conditions. This can lead to skidding and a serious crash.
9. Wear the Right Gear
Once an accident begins, motorcyclists are entirely vulnerable to machinery and the effects of inertia. Wearing proper protective gear, such as leather jackets and thick riding pants, can cushion your impact and reduce lacerations.
10. Never Drive Fatigued or Intoxicated
Injured? Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Team
Even if you are extremely careful to observe the rules of the road, motorcycle riders face enormous risks. If you are injured in a serious accident, our Sacramento accident attorneys can help you pursue damages from the negligent party. With over a hundred years of combined experience, we’ll work on your case with tenacity and skill. Trust us to fight for justice on your behalf.
Call Kershaw Talley Barlow at (916) 520-6639 for a free consultation. Our Sacramento legal team serves clients throughout California.