During warmer summer months or mild temperatures of fall, it is an enjoyable pastime to ride a motorcycle. The loud rumble of the motor and the warm smell of summer air are luring for motorcyclists. However, sharing the road may be more dangerous than expected for motorcyclists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes resulted in death or injury to the rider. In 2017, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities were motorcyclists. A problem motorcyclists face is not being noticed by other drivers due to the smaller size of a motorcycle or drivers being distracted. It is more common for a non-motorcycle driver to violate the motorcyclist’s right of way. A motorcyclist can do several things to prevent motorcycle accidents or lessen their likelihood of fatal accidents.
Invest in Proper Protective Clothing and Helmets
Investing in proper protective clothing and helmets are vital. Full-coverage helmets protect the rider’s head and face from debris. After an accident, it is necessary to purchase new gear. A helmet loses its integrity after a crash. Protective gear and helmets need to be brightly colored and reflective. Leather and other thick material can provide added safety to the driver from elements and road rash. Stiff boots protect ankles and shins from oncoming debris, such as rocks and sticks. Stiff boots protect ankles and shins from oncoming debris, such as rocks and sticks.
Find a Motorcycle that Fits the Rider
Motorcycles come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. An important aspect to consider is if it fits the rider. Different handlebars styles can make a rider more comfortable than others. Finding a footpeg style that is easy to find and comfortable for the rider to rest on is essential when purchasing a motorcycle. A comfortable rider is more apt to stay aware and cautious of their surroundings. A rider that is properly sitting has a lower chance of being thrown off balance than an uncomfortable rider. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “supersport bikes” have a death rate four times higher than cruisers or standard motorcycles.
Be Aware of Laws and Regulations
Motorcyclists must stay current on laws and regulations. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, 36 percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2017 were riders who were 50 years of age or older. Motorcycle safety courses and refresher courses can be beneficial for riders to learn their state’s laws. The use of headlights during day and night can attract attention from other drivers. Avoiding potholes, manhole covers, oil slicks, and being cautious when crossing over railroad tracks or gravel roads are imperative safety measures. A rider needs to stay vigilant and alert to their surroundings. Maintaining a motorcycle can be the difference between life and death. A wobbly wheel can throw a rider’s balance off and cause an accident. An anti-lock braking system can prevent wheels from locking up during braking and allows the driver to maintain tractive contact with the road.
Monitor Road Conditions
Precipitation has the power to turn a day of riding into a nightmare. Any form of liquid on the road is dangerous, whether it be snow, rain, sleet, mist, or hail. A vehicle as light as a motorcycle can hydroplane easily with a minimal amount of water present. Slick spots have the potential to hurt a motorcyclist in a blink of the eye. Days that are sunny pose a problem as well. Sunlight in a driver’s eyes can distract the driver or prevent the driver from seeing their surroundings. High-speed winds can pose a balance problem. Gusts of winds can force a rider off balance. A strong wind has the capability of pushing a rider off the road.
It is a Shared Responsibility
The safety of motorcyclists is a shared responsibility. It is a municipality or state’s responsibility to keep roads clear of road cinders and potholes. It is the responsibility to stay vigilant to notice a motorcyclist while driving. It is a shared responsibility for keeping everyone on the road safe.