You’ve purchased your first bike and are ready to feel the wind in your face. Before you become a California biker you need to take a motorcycle safety course such as the Motorcyclist Training Course (MTC). The main benefit of taking this course is reducing motorcycle accidents through rider knowledge.
The MTC course consists of five hours in the classroom plus ten hours of riding. They also offer a premier program course for additional classroom and on-bike riding instruction. Benefits of MTC include receiving a skills waiver so you do not need to take a riding skills test at the DMV and possible breaks on your insurance costs.
Learning how to ride motorcycles is easy. Staying safe requires skill. You accomplish this by exercising regular motorcycle maintenance, practicing safe riding skills, and understanding the causes of motorcycle accidents.
Gear Up for Safety
We’ve all seen it at least once, the person on a motorcycle wearing shorts and sandals, their shirt flapping in the breeze. That is a person who lacks experience and knowledge about how to ride safely.
According to the National Safety Council, in 2017 there were 5,172 motorcycle riders and passengers killed in crashes. That same year 14% of all traffic fatalities were people on a motorcycle. By wearing the proper gear you reduce the number of injuries you may suffer in the event of an accident.
By wearing long pants and sleeves of leather or another thick material, you provide a layer of protection for your skin. A common injury in motorcycle accidents is road rash, a painful condition that occurs when skin and pavement collide. You also need gloves, eye protection, and leather boots that cover your ankles.
Black is the color of choice for bikers. One of the most basic motorcycle safety features is to add something bright or reflective to your clothing and motorcycle. This makes you more visible day and night.
Always wear a helmet. The more coverage the helmet provides, the more protection it offers. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury by 69% and death by 37%.
Drivers Don’t See Bikers
The majority of car-motorcycle collisions are due to the automobile violating the biker’s right-of-way. Those who do not ride don’t register motorcycles on the road. Automobiles tend to pull out in front of motorcycles, turn in front of them, or follow too close.
It is easy for motorcycles to fall into an automobile’s blind spot. Automobiles frequently move into a motorcycle’s right-of-way or cut them off. This happens even when the vehicle should know the biker is there, such as the car passing the motorcycle then cutting back into their lane without sufficient room.
Another problem is drivers do not realize most motorcyclists require one to two times more stopping distance than a standard car. A motorcycle only has two tires and the smaller tires provide less traction for stopping.
Add to this the vulnerability of the rider being without any vehicle protection and they are more likely to suffer injuries. In 2019 there were 84,000 motorcyclists injured in accidents. it is important you understand the risks and what to do if you are in an accident.
Reducing Motorcycle Accidents
As a motorcycle rider, you need to be alert for dangers on the road. This includes careless drivers, patches of gravel or sand, potholes, railroad tracks, and other hazards. Bad weather reduces your ability to see and other drivers’ ability to see you.
Even the most conscientious rider may fall prey to one of these common motorcycle accident causes.
Car Turns Left in Front of You
It happens frequently, a car at an intersection turns in front of you. Often drivers in vehicles see an absence of automobiles. They do not register the presence of a motorcycle.
Avoid being the victim in this type of accident by looking for indicators the vehicle may turn in front of you. Watch all vehicles at intersections, driveways, or parking lots. Slow down and cover your brakes in preparation for any necessary action.
Check where the driver is looking. What direction are their front tires? Watch for gaps in stopped traffic where a car may suddenly appear.
Car Changes Lanes Into You
Always ride in the center of your lane. This protects your right to that lane and allows you space to maneuver in either direction.
Avoid riding in another vehicle’s blind spot. If you can see the driver in their side mirror, they can see you. Watch for indications a vehicle may change lanes such as turn signals or front wheels turning.
Always leave yourself an out. If riding in heavy traffic the safest place is on an outside lane with a shoulder you can use to escape a collision.
Stay Sober and Don’t Speed
Alcohol impairment accounts for almost 33% of all serious motorcycle accidents. On average a biker only has two seconds or less to complete all maneuvers necessary to avoid an action. Keeping a clear mind is important.
Speeding accounts for 48% of motorcycle single-vehicle crashes. Before taking those curves or long stretches of road at fast speed, consider the risks.
Taking a Corner Too Fast
If you find yourself going through a corner too fast, do not hit the brakes! You need to trust the bike, hold your position, and ride it out. Making any changes to your speed with the brakes or the throttle may cause a high side or low side collision.
Low siding happens when the rear wheel slips laterally and continuously until the bike falls onto its side on the inside of the corner. High siding occurs when the rear wheel slips laterally, then regains traction and flips the rider either off the high side of the bike or over the handlebars.
You come to a stop at a crosswalk, intersection, train crossing, or for any other reason. The automobile behind you doesn’t notice and hits you from behind. Keep yourself safe by leaving yourself a route of escape.
Watch your mirrors and when you see a vehicle approaching from behind flash your brake lights. Keep your bike in gear and your hand on the throttle in case you need quickly maneuver out of the way.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
First and foremost, obtain medical treatment for your injuries. Keep all records and bills. As soon as possible following the accident contact an experienced motorcycle attorney.
Recovery from a motorcycle accident can be lengthy and costly. All details of your accident, injuries, and recovery are important to any potential lawsuit.
Contacting an attorney soon following an accident provides them with plenty of time to work on your case. They will try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If no reasonable settlement can be made, they will file a complaint prior to the statute of limitations deadline.
Put My Number in Your Contacts
Now you know the steps to reducing motorcycle accidents. You may feel confident about your safety. No matter how many steps you take, you cannot depend on other drivers being alert to your existence.
Keep the phone number 1-800-674-7854 in your list of phone contacts. If you become a motorcycle accident victim, call Sweet Lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We specialize in motorcycle accidents and handle your case on a contingency fee.
You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case. With a 98% success rate, you have nothing to lose. Save that number in your contacts list today!