Driving a motorcycle is a satisfying way to get around as well as a way to enjoy the open road. Even working on a motorcycle has its charms, as fans of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” know.
At the same time, motorcycles can be dangerous, not offering the same protection as cars. That is why it is essential for motorcyclists to avoid accidents with these five tips:
Drive extra defensively
Driving defensively is a safety tip for anyone, but it’s exponentially important for motorcyclists, who are often invisible to other drivers.
“A motorcycle approaching head-on from a distance occupies a very small part of a driver's vision,” Jack Baruth writes for Road & Track. “If it's going quickly, it's possible that the eye simply won't get around to looking at it enough to make it ‘stick’ in the brain before it arrives in the driver's immediate vicinity.”
Defensive driving means you don’t assume a car sees you or your turn signal when you’re changing lanes, taking corners or doing anything else.
Watch for left turns
People riding motorcycles are 26 times more likely to die in an accident than people in cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the most serious threat is one you likely see many times during your drive.
“The single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns,” legal website nolo.com says. “These types of accidents are common between two cars as well, but the motorcycle's smaller size makes it even less visible to the turning vehicle.”
Pay attention to any indication of a left turn, not just a signal. For example, if a car is stopped at an intersection, even if you have the right of way, slow down. It’s easier to stop in an emergency when you’re going a few miles an hour instead of zipping through.
Don’t split lanes
If you split lanes, not only will you be breaking the law, other vehicles likely will not expect it and could swipe into you as well. If you drive out of state, in areas where lane splitting is legal, use caution, so you don’t catch another vehicle unaware.
Wear a helmet
Before you protest that motorcycle helmets make it difficult for you to see or hear, consider this: A study testing this exact idea found it is still safer to wear a helmet. Subjects had to turn their heads slightly farther to see with a helmet than without, and there were no differences to hearing.
“The authors conclude that the effects of helmets upon the ability to see and hear are, at most, far too small to compromise the safety benefits offered by head protection,” the researchers wrote.
That’s because the safety benefits are vast. In areas where the law requires motorcyclists to wear helmets, fatalities are reduced in accidents from 59 percent killed to 8 percent, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Keep it clean
You can thoroughly wash and wax your motorcycle, or wipe it down with a cloth and soapy water. The same goes for your helmet and riding gear. Dirt may not seem like a big deal, but it can be dangerous.
“A dirty visor and screen can render you completely blind when the sun is low, and poorly maintained leathers can crack and falter in a crash,” Car Throttle says. “As a result, it is absolutely vital that you keep your bike, and more importantly, your riding gear, in good condition.”
With these tips, you can avoid wrecks that can hurt you and others. Still, accidents can happen and victims need an attorney they can trust. The attorneys at Ed Bernstein & Associates have more than 40 years experience in personal injury law and understand its finer nuances. Visit edbernstein.com or call 702-240-0000 to find out how to get started on the road to recovery.