For many people, nothing beats riding a motorcycle during early autumn in New England. The mild weather and vibrant foliage are perfect for long, weekend rides through the countryside. But riding a motorcycle comes with inherent dangers. In fact, you are six times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than in a car crash.
But it’s not all bad news. The vast majority of these accidents are easily preventable. Don’t become a statistic. By following the tips below, you can dramatically reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
- If you ride, wear a helmet. The argument for helmets is water-tight. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the more than 4,000 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2011, approximately 40 percent of the riders were not wearing a helmet. That same year, NHTSA estimates that the lives of 1,617 riders were saved by wearing a helmet. And those figures don’t even take into account the statistics on injury accidents. Countless riders have avoided traumatic brain injuries and other serious injuries by wearing a helmet.
- Never use drugs or alcohol when you ride. Drugs and alcohol are a no-no when you get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle, but the issue becomes even more dire when a motorcycle is involved. Operating any vehicle takes focus and attention, but riding a motorcycle comes with added responsibilities. The ability to maintain balance – which is of utmost importance on a motorcycle – is negatively impacted by drugs and alcohol. You should also use caution if you are currently on prescription or over-the-counter medications. Even something as seemingly benign as Benadryl can affect your ability to ride safely.
- Do not speed…ever. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 33 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2015 involved excessive speed. Even on open stretches of road, speeding is dangerous; uneven pavement, loose gravel, and other debris can cause you to lose control of the bike. And losing control at high speeds is often deadly. A Boston motorcycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
- Keep your bike in good shape. As with any motor vehicle, it is extremely important to maintain your motorcycle. Frequently check tires, turn signals, and lights to ensure that they are in proper working order, and have your bike’s engine and brakes checked at least annually.
- Remember that cars and trucks may not see you. Due to a motorcycle’s small size, it is easy for a bike – and its rider – to disappear in a driver’s blind spot. Never assume that a driver can see you. Avoid making sudden lane changes in close proximity to other vehicles, and never ride between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic (called lane splitting). A MA injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
- Whenever possible, avoid road hazards and riding in inclement weather. Especially during summer and fall months, road construction is a major hazard for motorcyclists. Use extreme caution when riding through these areas which are often riddled with loose gravel, uneven pavement, pot holes, and other debris. And don’t ride when weather is bad. Heavy rains, and icy or snow-covered roads can be deadly.