We’re well into summer, and many people are enjoying the nice weather by riding their motorcycles.
If you are one of them, we want you to stay safe.
Despite ideal riding conditions, the number of accidents that occur during the summer is high. This is partly because of the increased traffic on the road, particularly around the holidays.
A recent article in Consumer Reports offers great tips for both new and returning riders.
- Sharpen your skills. Whether you’re new to riding or a seasoned pro, a motorcycle course can sharpen existing skills and build new ones. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers courses in Alabama (and across the U.S.) that teach both the basics and advanced techniques, like evasive emergency maneuvers. Taking a course has the added bonus of possibly making you eligible for an insurance discount or manufacturer credit toward a new motorcycle.
- Wear your helmet. This is a hotly debated topic among motorcyclists, but we think that helmet use is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of injury. According to Consumer Reports, riders who don’t wear a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury and three times more like to suffer a brain injury in an accident. For maximum protection, wear a full face helmet, and make sure to replace your helmet every five years or so (they deteriorate over time). If you’re worried about a helmet reducing your ability to see and hear, know that tests done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that helmets have a very minor effect. They had no effect on the riders’ hearing, and the effect on vision was very minimal: most riders compensated by turning their heads slightly farther.
- Wear proper gear. Jeans, t-shirts, and sandals as motorcycle gear is a recipe for serious road rash. When riding, wear gear that will protect you not only from road rash but also from the wind chill, bugs, and debris: a reinforced jacket, gloves, long pants, and over-the-ankle footwear. Protect your eyes by wearing goggles or a helmet visor.
- Avoid hazards. Reduce your risk of crashing by avoiding the dangers that can cause them, particularly bad weather and road hazards. Avoid driving in the rain, as this cuts down on your visibility and increases your risk of sliding. If you must drive in the rain, try not to make quick maneuvers. When driving in strong winds, move to the side of the lane that the wind is coming from so that you have some leeway. Watch out for road hazards like sand, wet leaves, pebbles, bumps, and potholes. While you might not notice these things in a car, they pose a serious danger to you when you’re on a motorcycle.
- Drive defensively. Unfortunately, distracted driving is a common phenomenon. Other motorists may not be looking out for you, which is why you need to make sure that you are highly visible by wearing bright colors and why you should pay extra attention. Don’t tailgate, and watch out for cars making sudden lane changes or turns.
Just because you’re on a motorcycle doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else on the road. If you’ve taken reasonable precautions to stay safe and still ended up in an accident caused by another motorist, call the motorcycle accident lawyers in Huntsville, AL at Martinson & Beason, P.C. to learn your options.