Defensive Driving Tips For Motorcyclists
According to the National Safety Council, approximately 5,000 people die every year in motorcycle accidents. This is despite the fact that motorcycles only make up about 3% of all registered vehicles and are responsible for only .6% of all vehicle miles traveled. The number of motorcycle accidents may be reduced when drivers and motorcyclists drive safely. Chuck Franklin Law has prepared this list of defensive driving tips for motorcyclists to help reduce the number of preventable motorcycle accidents. If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Chuck Franklin directly by calling 480-545-0700.
Before venturing out on your motorcycle, make a plan. Review your route and whether there are any traffic problems, construction zones, or bad weather. When possible, stick to roads you are familiar with, and make sure that you always give yourself enough time to safely get to your destination.
Have a plan ahead of time for what you will do if the weather becomes problematic. While bad weather may be merely inconvenient for other drivers, it can be deadly for motorcyclists. Wet or slick roads make it more difficult for tires to have traction with the roadway, making it more likely to lose control of the vehicle. Consider avoiding riding your motorcycle under the following conditions:
- Roads can be particularly hazardous when it's raining.
- Shortly after rain, roads may still be wet and slippery.
- Accumulations of rainwater can cause oil and other substances to pool on road surfaces, further increasing the risk of accidents.
Ensure Other Drivers See You
Motorcycles are lower to the ground than other vehicles. Many drivers are simply not looking out for these smaller vehicles. Therefore, it is important motorcyclists make them as visible as possible and drive defensively. Some ways to improve visibility include:
- Wear high-visibility clothing and reflective tape
- Wear a brightly colored helmet
- Use daytime running lights
- Stay out of blind spots
Always Remain Alert
Riding a bike safely requires extreme concentration. Avoid doing anything that distracts you while driving, such as using a cell phone or adjusting controls on your bike. Continually assess what is happening around you. Use your mirrors frequently and observe all blind spots before changing lanes. Look ahead and anticipate the actions of others around you. Recognizing possible hazards is one of the best defensive riding tips for motorcyclists to observe.
Wear the Right Gear
Wear proper eye and face protection at all times when riding to avoid having your vision obstructed and causing an accident. Also, invest in quality safety gear so that in case you are ever involved in a motorcycle accident, your injuries are minimized. Some important safety gear to wear includes:
- A United States Department of Transportation (DOT) – compliant motorcycle helmet
- A face shield to keep road debris out of your eyes while riding
- A motorcycle jacket with impact resistant padding
- Full-fingered motorcycle gloves
Assume Other Drivers Cannot See You
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, nearly two-thirds of collisions caused by a driver happen because the driver does not notice a motorcycle. Do not assume that other motorists can see you. Imagine that you are invisible. This will help you to better anticipate the actions of other road users. Always drive defensively.
Ride Within Your Comfort Level
Motorcycles are difficult to maneuver. Do not overextend your comfort level. Stick with what you are familiar with in terms of routes, driving patterns, and bikes. When selecting a motorcycle, choose one that:
- Your feet can rest flat on the ground when you are seated
- Is not too heavy for you
- Allows you to get on and off easily
- Have handlebars and controls within your reach
If you are riding with others, ride to your own comfort level and do not try to push yourself to keep up with others. Overconfidence can be fatal for a motorcyclist. Therefore, do not push yourself beyond your ability level.
Avoid Lane Sharing
Lane sharing occurs when two motorcycles drive side-by-side in the same lane. They occupy the physical space that a typical passenger vehicle uses. However, lane sharing can be dangerous for motorcyclists because it gives them less time and space to make evasive maneuvers if a hazard arises or a nearby car suddenly changes lanes. Other motorists can better spot motorcyclists when they travel in a staggered pattern, rather than driving side-by-side.
Avoid Construction Zones
Construction zones are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists because they may have nails, screws, or other debris that can puncture tires and cause motorcyclists to lose control of their vehicle. They may also have potholes, uneven pavement, gravel, or other dangerous conditions that make wrecks more likely to occur.
Drive at a Safe Speed
Motorcyclists will need to adjust their speed periodically to adjust to current traffic and road conditions. This may require slowing down at:
- Side streets
- Congested traffic areas
- Locations where vision is obstructed
Motorcyclists should also travel at or below the speed limit. At higher speeds, it is more difficult to maintain control of the vehicle. If a crash does occur, injuries may be more serious at higher speeds.
Use Both Brakes
Because your front brake provides about 70 percent of your stopping power in case of an emergency, it is important to use both brakes when braking. Squeeze the front brake and increase the squeezing pressure until you have slowed enough.
Take an Advanced Motorcycle Training Course
Riding a motorcycle is different than handling other types of motor vehicles. You can take an advanced motorcycle training courses to learn more defensive driving tips for motorcyclists. Instructors can also teach you how to look where you want to go to maintain balance on your bike and how to use precise inputs to the handgrips to counter steer when necessary.
Never Ride a Motorcycle While Impaired
Riding motorcycles is often something people do in groups. Some motorcyclists choose to drink and drive or take illegal or prescription drugs. However, this is a dangerous and sometimes fatal combination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-quarter of the motorcyclists who died in crashes in one recent year had BACs of 0.08% or greater. Choosing not to drink and drive is one of the simplest ways to avoid motorcycle accidents.
Contact an Experienced Arizona Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident despite following these defensive driving tips for motorcyclists, consider contacting an experienced Arizona motorcycle accident lawyer. Contact Chuck Franklin of Chuck Franklin Law at 480-545-0700 to learn more about your legal right to receive compensation after your motorcycle accident.
Get in touch today! We are available 24/7 and we're looking forward to hearing from you!
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