Riding a motorcycle gives you the thrilling feeling of being on the open road, without the confines of a massive vehicle acting as a barrier between you and nature. It’s easy to see why there are more than 8 million motorcycles registered in the United States — riding a motorcycle gives you a sense of freedom you just can’t replicate in a regular car.
Motorcycles are also far more dangerous vehicles to ride, though. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports fatalities occur 27 times more frequently on motorcycles compared to other vehicles. What may surprise you is that a new report released by Motofire in July 2017 shows 96 percent of motorcycle accidents occur in clear conditions. A third of accidents happen when the motorcyclist is traveling at less than 40 miles per hour, and nearly two-thirds of accidents happen when the motorcyclist is riding for fun, as opposed to 21 percent to or from work. Drivers are riding on straight or open curve roads during 85 percent of accidents. At times you should feel safest — when you’re not stressed from work, riding at relatively slow speeds, on clear and straight or open curve roads — is when you’re likely to be in an accident.
Stats like these show just how important it is to take safety precautions at all times when riding a motorcycle. Considering that road conditions are not as likely to play a role in accidents as other factors, use these safety precautions to stay protected.
Don’t Ride Impaired
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Data Loss Institute reports in 2015, 28 percent of drivers who died on motorcycles had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Motorcycle fatality incidents are climbing, increasing 8.3 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Insurance Information Institute. As the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use expands throughout
the country, overall vehicle fatalities are also steadily increasing, too.
Alcohol and other drugs impair your ability to judge time or distance and hinder your reaction time. Prescription drugs can also add a whole host of other negative effects to motorcyclists. The safest way to ride is to be completely sober, to keep you and other motorists safe.
Wear Noticeable Attire
Even in near-perfect conditions, motorists don’t always notice motorcycles and their drivers because of their size. Make sure others have you in view by wearing neon colors or reflective fabrics. Wear a helmet that stands out. An all-black ensemble atop a black bike may look cool to you, but other drivers may not see you until a crash occurs.
Focus on the Road
Since most accidents happen while motorcyclists are riding for pleasure, don’t let the fun you’re having decrease your safety. If someone is riding with you, make sure you’re both wearing protective, layered and visible clothing, as well as helmets. Depending on the state and age of the rider or passenger, wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is the law.
Avoid speeding or being distracted by a passenger, the sights around you or loud music. Strive to be consciously aware of other motorists, so you can avoid any dangerous driving behavior that is occurring near you.
Practice Before Taking Off
While you may be eager to move directly from driving a car to riding a motorcycle, the vehicles have totally different user experiences, which can pose a threat to novice motorcyclists. Motorcyclists who are killed in crashes are more than twice as likely than passenger car drivers to be riding without a valid license. Motorcycle riding licensure laws vary state by state — you can find them here on the AAA website. Often, to legally ride a motorcycle, you must undergo proper training to obtain the proper permit.
Even after you’ve obtained the appropriate license to ride a motorcycle, you should practice in relaxed conditions at slow speeds before riding on busy roads or freeways. Being a skilled rider means having a bike you feel comfortable on and that perfectly fits your body. You should practice a variety of maneuvers on the bike and feel confident executing all types of driving. Any hesitancy or uncertainty can negatively impact your performance and put yourself and other drivers in danger.
Be Prepared for Motorcycle Accidents
Even when you’re doing everything right on a motorcycle, other drivers are dangerous simply because their vehicles are larger, and they may not be paying attention to you on the road. Only ride in legal conditions, and make sure you have a camera on you when you ride so you can document accidents. If you are unfortunately in an accident while riding a motorcycle, contact a Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyer to receive legal advice and obtain the compensation you deserve.