Knowing the motorcycle safety laws, following the traffic rules pertaining to motorcycles, and complying with all motorcycle driver requirements is the responsibility of the motorcycle operator. You can always set experienced riders apart from the newbies by their respect for their safety and others.
But make no mistake, as motorcycle lawyers that examine the cause of motorcycle accidents, we know that most riders get injured because of the actions of other drivers. We’re here to cover motorcycle safety tips to protect yourself from those accidents, too.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
Know your stuff and get certified the right way!
In general, operating a motorcycle can be more dangerous than operating a car or truck, and motorcycle accidents tend to have higher fatality rates than accidents involving cars or trucks. It is very important for prospective motorcycle drivers to learn the legal requirements for motorcycle licensure in their state.
Prospective motorcycle drivers typically must take a motorcycle riding safety course, pass a skills test, pass a written examination, and meet all of their state’s motorcycle license requirements in order to be issued a motorcycle license. In many states, driving a motorcycle without a valid motorcycle license will result in fines or other punishment, including jail time.
Make sure your motorcycle is legal to travel on the road. Many states have specific requirements for motorcycles including the use of mirrors and working turn signals, separate footrests for passengers, a motorcycle license plate, etc. In addition, wearing an appropriate safety helmet and protective clothing could save your life in the event of an accident.
In many states, it is illegal for any motorcycle rider or passenger to ride without wearing a helmet that meets the required safety standards of the department of transportation in that state. Wearing an appropriate helmet when riding a motorcycle reduces the chance of death or traumatic brain injury to the motorcycle driver in the event of an accident.
Safe Motorcycle Conduct: Use it!
Motorcycles are more dangerous to operate than four-wheeled motor vehicles. This is why safe motorcyclist conduct is vitally important! Make sure you know the motorcycle-specific laws in your state and be sure to follow them.
California is currently the only U.S. state that allows lane splitting, which is when a motorcyclist passes between lanes of traffic (“riding the white line”) during times when congestion causes traffic to move significantly slower than the speed limit or to come to a complete stop.
Lane sharing is when two motorcyclists ride side by side of another in the same lane of traffic. This is not legal in all U.S. states. Check the laws pertaining to your state to make sure you are practicing safe motorcycle riding conduct.
Not all states have the same motorcycle passenger laws, either. In some states, there is a minimum age limit for riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. In addition, there may be helmet laws for passengers of motorcycles in your state.
Safety Tips for Sharing the Road with other Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists can help their fellow riders stay safe by understanding some hazards associated with driving a motorcycle. Drivers of four-wheeled motor vehicles must drive more carefully around motorcyclists to avoid accidents and collisions. Here are 5 tips about sharing the road with motorcyclists that every driver and motorcyclist rider should keep in mind.
Check and double-check your blind spots
Motorcycle accidents often happen because a motorcyclist is traveling in a lane next to a vehicle who does not thoroughly check their blind spots before changing lanes. Check and double-check your blind spots before changing lanes.
Remember that motorcycles react faster than cars
Drivers should always keep adequate space between their vehicle and a motorcycle in front of them. Rear-ending a motorcycle can result in fatality. Always allow plenty of space between yourself and a motorcyclist.
Be careful in bad weather
Bad weather typically is much more dangerous for motorcyclists than it is for drivers of four-wheel motor vehicles. In bad weather, always give motorcyclists plenty of space and be hyper-aware of what is going on around you.
Be careful at night
Night riding is also pretty dangerous for motorcyclists. Use extra caution when sharing the road with a motorcyclist at night.
Be careful at intersections
A large percentage of motorcycle accidents happen at or near intersections. Be extra careful when sharing the road with a motorcyclist at or near an intersection.
Motorcycle Safety FAQs:
Do I have to take a motorcycle safety course?
Most states do require a motorcycle license applicant to take and pass a motorcycle safety course. Understanding how to safely operate a motorcycle is one of the best defenses that a motorcyclist can have against driving unsafely or getting into a motorcycle accident. Most motorcycle safety courses will also prepare a motorcycle license applicant for the skills they will need to proficiently demonstrate to pass their motorcycle skills test.
Where can I get a motorcycle safety inspection?
Many states require a motorcycle license holder to provide proof that their motorcycle has passed an annual motorcycle safety inspection. Check the laws in your state pertaining to motorcycle safety inspection requirements. Many states have approved or state-run motorcycle safety inspection stations where motorcyclists can get their motorcycle inspected.
What percentage of motorcycle riders get in accidents?
It is well-known that motorcycles are dangerous. But exactly how dangerous are they? It is estimated that at least 1% of motorcyclists will get injured in an accident. That may sound like a low percentage, however, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in an accident than drivers and passengers of four-wheeled automobiles.
What should you not do when riding a motorcycle?
Don’t drive intoxicated. Follow the laws of the road. Know your limits and stay well within them. Be careful around turns and in intersections. Don’t neglect yourself; make sure you have dressed appropriately for the weather, hydrated, and fed.
Always keep your eyes focused on the road ahead; look where you want to go. Looking down while riding a motorcycle can cause an accident very, very quickly. Don’t neglect your motorcycle or your gear; make sure your motorcycle is always street legal and that you are wearing a helmet and the appropriate safety gear.
Don’t become complacent when riding a motorcycle. Always remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Being alert and following motorcycle safety conduct rules can keep you safe and help you avoid accidents and injury.