Motorcycle Safety Tips
A law firm that’s committed to advocating for bikers
Motorcycle accidents can devastate lives. We’ve seen this firsthand, over and over again, as we’ve represented injured bikers and their families. Unfortunately, so much of that pain could have been avoided if motorists and bikers put safety first.
The Swanson Law Group prepared this list of safety precautions because we understand how precious health is – and how much is lost when someone gets hurt. Whether you’re taking to the road on two wheels or four, here is what you need to know.
Safety precautions for motorcyclists
The first element of motorcycle safety is to wear protective gear. Helmets can help to prevent or mitigate injuries to the head and brain. Make sure your eyes are protected, too, by wearing either a helmet with a face shield or separate protective eye wear. Leather clothing, or denim with Kevlar protecting key places, guards against road rash. Gloves are important, too – if you’re thrown from a bike, the natural reflex is to extend your hands to protect yourself, and gloves can prevent loss of skin and even fingers. Sturdy boots with over-the-ankle protection both provide traction to keep you in control of your bike and protect the bones in your feet if you’re involved in a crash.
Next, you need to keep your bike maintained. Regularly check your tires for wear, make sure your lights are working, and check under the motorcycle for leaks. Before you get on the road, make sure your mirrors are clean and adjusted and test your brakes, clutch, and throttle. Check your horn, too – drivers often don’t see motorcycles, so a working horn can be the difference between a deadly collision and a near miss.
Finally, ride defensively. Obey the speed limit, use your signals, and otherwise stay in compliance with the rules of the road. Stay in your lane, as close to the center as possible, unless you need to move to avoid an obstacle or pass another vehicle. Stay awake, ride sober, and keep your full attention on the road and the vehicles around you.
Safety precautions for motorists sharing the road
The first thing motorists need to remember is that a motorcycle is a vehicle and has just as much right to be on the road as your car. You shouldn’t share a lane side by side with a motorcycle any more than you’d drive side by side with another car, even though the motorcycle takes up less physical space in a lane.
Make sure to check your blind spots for motorcycles before making a turn, exiting a driveway or parking lot, or changing lanes. It’s very easy for a smaller vehicle like a motorcycle to end up in a car’s blind spot. Take the same precaution before you open a car door into the roadway – don’t just look in your mirror, but physically turn your head to look over your shoulder.
When driving behind a motorcycle, always maintain a generous following distance. Remember, motorcycles can slow down and stop much faster than cars, and they often must change speed or change position in a lane to avoid an obstacle that you might not even notice. A car rear-ending a motorcycle can end with the motorcyclist being thrown to the ground.
Be particularly careful at intersections – so many motorcycle accidents occur when a car makes a left turn in front of or into an oncoming bike. The best practice is to check twice: once for any oncoming vehicles, and then again specifically for motorcycles.
Finally, be conscious of the weather and road conditions. Sunny days bring out more bikers, so be attentive and share the road accordingly. Conversely, you may be sharing the road with fewer bikes on a rainy day, but if bikers are on the road, you’re more likely to overlook them, or lose control of your vehicle in slippery conditions and cause a potentially devastating crash. Stay alert and share the road.
Our attorneys are proud to stand up for injured bikers
While both motorists and motorcyclists share responsibility for sharing the road, the greater responsibility falls on the drivers of the larger and more dangerous vehicle. Too often, the driver of a car is responsible for a motorcycle crash, and too often, the motorist walks away while the motorcyclist’s life is altered forever.
That’s not right, and it’s why we’re so passionate about fighting for injured bikers. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, contact us as soon as possible. We will listen to your story, investigate your crash, stand up to the insurance company and guide you to a better future. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today.