Motorcyclists have far less protection than auto drivers, which means they often suffer the most in an accident. Preventing motorcycle accidents is an important part of riding or driving, but many riders may lack the skills needed to protect themselves. Whether you’re a new rider or a seasoned one, it still is important to remember how to stay safe on the road. Here are some tips to help you get started on being a safer rider.
- Wear the right gear. Have you heard the saying, “Dress for the slide, not for the ride?” This means that it’s important to choose your riding gear based on the protection it offers in the event of an accident, not the way it looks. Leather is a popular choice because of its superior protection from road rash, though there are many synthetic options designed to withstand a slide or an accident. Be sure to cover up completely with full-length pants, boots, a jacket, gloves, and a helmet. Reflective tape or colorful gear can help you be more easily seen.
- Wear a helmet for every ride. A helmet isn’t required in every state, and Ohio only requires helmets for riders who are under the age of 18 or who have not previously held a motorcycle license in Ohio or other states. The passengers of these riders are also required to wear helmets. The state does require that riders wear eye protection when riding, however, regardless of age or skill. That doesn’t mean you can skip the helmet though. Riders who don’t wear helmets are five times more likely to receive critical head injuries.
- Follow the rules of the road. Motorcycles are expected to follow the same traffic laws that drivers observe, including the speed limit. Familiarize yourself with your local laws, as well.
- Practice defensive riding. It can be easy to get complacent on the road, but you shouldn’t let your guard down. Never assume that a driver has seen you or is going to stop for you. Nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a car violating a motorcyclist’s right of way. Ride with your headlight on, remain out of drivers’ blind spots, signal lane changes and turns, and be aware of what is happening around you.
- Go to school. Start your riding journey off right by taking a riding education plan to receive your license. Riders who learn how to ride a motorcycle from a trained instructor are less likely to become involved in an accident. Refine your skills and learn new techniques by regularly taking riding courses designed to build your skills.
- Don’t ride while drowsy or drunk. Like driving, riding while drowsy or intoxicated is a recipe for disaster. If you’ve been drinking or are feeling tired, find another way home. Exhaustion and alcohol can impair your ability to make safe decisions and react in a timely manner.
- Inspect your motorcycle before a ride. When getting ready to ride, give your bike a once over for any issues. Check the tires, lights, fluids, clutch and throttle, mirrors, brakes, and horn before setting off. It is important to keep your bike well maintained so you can rely on it to get you through sudden maneuvers and stay safe.
Our team at Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. is dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured in accidents. Our Toledo personal injury attorneys have more than a century of collective experience, and we’re here to support you and help you understand your legal options. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim.