Enjoying the “freedom of the road” on a motorcycle, unfortunately, does not come “free.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 27 times as likely to be killed in a motorcycle or vehicle crash than car passengers. And even if you aren’t a motorcycle rider or you are one but have never been involved in a crash, society as a whole pays for over three-quarters of crash costs through insurance premiums, taxes, and congestion-related costs. In 2010, those costs totaled $187 billion dollars. Medical care costs and productivity losses from motorcycle-related injuries or death alone can exceed $12 billion in just one year.
There are several things motorcyclists can do to protect themselves and their ride. The following are just a few tips from the NHTSA.
Increase Motorist Awareness
Talk to your non-motorcycling friends about how riding a motorcycle differs from driving a car. Many car drivers may not realize that motorcyclists use some common techniques that they need to be aware of, including switching lanes frequently to increase their visibility and downshifting to slow down, which does not activate a brake signal.
Most states have adopted a “Share the Road” or “Look Twice for Motorcyclists” campaign to encourage drivers to look out for motorcyclists, but this messaging does not go far enough. Because motorcycles are narrow, they often disappear in a car driver’s blind spots. Educate your non-motorcycle friends to always double-check their mirrors and their blind spots before changing lanes.
Before Hitting the Road
First, make sure you are properly licensed to ride and that your motorcycle is registered. In New Hampshire, an annual motorcycle safety inspection is required as part of registering the bike. Make sure you are comfortable riding your motorcycle and have practiced well enough before riding on major streets and roads or in traffic. If you’re going to carry cargo or a passenger, make sure the motorcycle is properly balanced for the extra weight. Before every ride, you should check the bike’s fluid levels, lights, indicators, brakes, and tires.
Finally, make sure you have the proper gear to wear. The NHTSA recommends wearing abrasion- and impact-resistant gear such as a jacket, pants, gloves, and boots—preferably with reflective material to make you more visible to other drivers. There are lots of options on the market these days, some of which are made out of Kevlar, but at the very least you should wear leather or heavy denim. You should also wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet (not a novelty helmet). Even though New Hampshire does not have a helmet law, helmets have been proven to save lives. Over 1,800 lives in the United States were saved by helmets in 2017.
On the Road
Obey all traffic and safety laws and drive defensively. Remember that after a motorcycle crash, most car drivers will say they “never saw” the motorcyclist. Be careful when approaching intersections and consider keeping your headlight on high-beam at all times, even during the day.
Finally, ride sober. Any drugs (even over-the-counter drugs) or alcohol in your system will make you less likely to react in time to a sudden road hazard or condition, and they can cause you to have poor judgment or negatively affect your balance and coordination.
Tenn And Tenn, PA, Motorcycle Attorneys
Despite following these tips from the NHTSA, if you were hurt in a motorcycle accident and need help in recovering both physically, mentally, and monetarily, contact Tenn And Tenn attorneys today by calling (888) 332-5855 or filling out an online contact form today.