Motorcycles are the ultimate bad boy ride on the road. Culture has dictated that bikes are the “coolest” vehicle when it comes to transportation. We’ve all fantasized about going 60 down an open road in a trendy black leather jacket with a blacked out helmet, but we also know motorcycles can be extremely dangerous. The reality is without doors, a roof to the vehicle or four wheels to stabilize bikes, motorcyclists are at the most danger when it comes to misfortunes on the road. In this two-part guide, we’re going to take you through safety tips if you’re a motorcyclist, statistics and safety when driving a car and sharing the road with motorcyclists.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
- When choosing a bike, make sure you test drive and feel for a bike that fits you. A bike that’s too fast or too big or small for you will only make it more dangerous for you to be on the road with it.
- Invest in antilock brakes. Statistics show that cyclists with ABS brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal accident as locking up brakes in a panicking or scary situation stops the biker from regaining steering control of the vehicle. Often times an ABS brake only adds a few hundred dollars to the final cost of the bike. Your insurance can also often be lowered if you add antilock brakes.
- Wear a helmet, even for short rides. (Remember, it is the law in Virignia!) Statistics show that wearing a helmet reduces the chance of fatality from an accident by almost 50%. Statistics also show that you’re most likely to get in an accident within three miles of your home, so if you’re running to the convenience store, that’s not excuse to skip on wearing a helmet. When choosing a helmet, look for the DOT certified sticker on it so you know it’s amongst the safest helmets you can buy.
- Stay alert of the road around you. Drivers can be changing lanes without knowing your smaller vehicle is right in their blind spot. Other drivers can also be consumed in conversation or in texting while driving. It is best to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Motorcycles being most often two-wheeled vehicles means you have less contact with the road. This means that as a motorcyclist, you’re more likely to be affected by obstacles on the road. Watch for potholes, changes in pavement, rocks and leaves. Rain can also affect driving your bike as your visibility is reduced and your chance of slipping is increased. If you see rain in the forecast, you’re better off swapping your motorcycle for a sedan, SUV or truck if any of these are available to you.
- Ensure your brakes are always in good condition. While you’re at it, make sure your tires are in good shape as well. Worn out tires are the number one cause that motorcycles are sent to auto shops after an accident.
- 93% of motorcycle accidents involve two-wheel motorcycles.
- The most common cause of motorcycle accidents, at 42%, is due to cars making left turns and not properly yielding for motorcycles.
- 4,000 – 5,000 motorcycle deaths occur annually. Motorcyclists are 37 times more likely than those driving cars.
- The majority of motorcyclists involved in accidents are male, at 96%.
- On average, motorcyclists have 2 seconds to react and avoid accidents.
- Nearly 50% of motorcycle injuries involve injury to parts of the body from the waist down.
- Only approximately 60% of motorcyclists use helmets.
So far we’ve discussed how motorcyclists can be safer on the road. Part 2 of our motorcycle guide will highlight how other drivers can make the road safer for themselves as well as motorcyclists. Part 2 is available here.
If you or anyone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, give us a call at (571) 229 – 1800 or contact Parrish Law Firm.