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Motorcycle Safety Tips for Motorcyclists & Drivers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,5579 motorcyclists were killed and approximately 82,528 motorcyclists were injured in accidents in 2020. This number of fatalities is the highest it has been since this data started being collected in 1975. In this article, we will discuss ways in which motorcyclists and other drivers can be safe and avoid an accident.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Drivers | How to Share the Road Well

Drivers owe each other and other people on the road a duty of care and should take steps to ensure that they protect each other while on the road. Here are some ways that drivers can help motorcycles stay safe on the road.

  • Drive sober. If you are driving while under the influence, you risk the safety of yourself and others on the road. Avoid drinking (or consuming drugs) before driving; if you plan to drink or attend a celebration, consider using a sober driver system or an Uber/Lyft driver for travel.
  • Eliminate distractions. Driving should have all of your attention. Multi-tasking by texting, fiddling with the radio, fixing your hair or makeup, or goofing off with your passengers can lead to a serious accident. It is also recommended that you keep the music down and not have it so loud that you cannot hear the traffic around you well.
  • Give motorcycles extra room and time. Many motorcycle accidents occur when another vehicle rear-ends the motorcyclists. Even a small tap from a car can lead to serious injuries, which is why cars and other vehicles should give motorcycles a wide berth and avoid tailgating them.
  • Open your door cautiously when parked near moving traffic. Accidents and collisions can occur when a parked car door opens, and a cyclist collides with the door and/or person leaving the vehicle.
  • Pay attention to but don’t rely on turn signals. While you should pay attention to a motorcycle’s turn signals and lights, riders may leave their signals turned on accidentally or forget to use them before a turn.
  • Triple check your mirrors. Using your mirrors can help you avoid crashing into a motorcycle. However, a motorcycle may be in your blind spots or may appear to be farther away than it is, so be careful when changing lanes or trying to gauge a motorcycle’s from you.
  • Use extra caution in poor weather conditions or areas with construction. These external conditions can often lead to accidents occurring. While the weather may impair your vision or affect your ability to control your vehicle, roadway construction can make roads narrower, affect people’s patience (i.e. lead to road rage), or impact the road conditions.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riders

Motorcyclists can also take steps to protect themselves while riding. Here are some important safety tips motorcyclists should take under advisement.

  • Always wear a helmet. In Alaska, motorcycle operators and passengers who are minors (under 18) must wear a helmet while riding, and operators who have a learner’s permit must also wear a helmet. However, all riders should invest in and wear a helmet.
  • Avoid lane-splitting. A common cause of motorcycle accidents is that riders drive between lanes to speed up their journey. However, this practice is very dangerous.
  • Check the weather before riding. Whether you plan to take a quick 30-minute trip or go on a road trip, you should check the weather along your route so you can avoid inclement weather conditions.
  • Check your motorcycle before riding. Before hitting the road, you should check to make sure that everything (i.e. your tires, brakes, fluids, lights, etc.) is in working order.
  • Don’t drink and ride. The NHTSA report shows that motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents had higher concentrations of alcohol in their system than any other motor vehicle operators, and 41% of motorcyclists involved in single-vehicle crashes were impaired by alcohol. If you plan to go riding, avoid consuming alcohol or drugs as they can impair your judgment and delay your reactions.
  • Ensure passengers are safe. If you take someone with you, you should ensure they have protective gear and understand how to lean into turns and other important things before you go riding.
  • Invest in protective gear. A helmet isn’t the only piece of equipment you should wear while riding. Items like boots, gloves, and abrasion-resistant jackets can be life-saving.
  • Make sure you are properly licensed. Of the fatal accidents in 2020, 36% of crashes involved a rider who did not have a valid motorcycle license.
  • Practice riding. Motorcycles are unique and ride differently. Before operating your motorcycle on the open road, take time and space to learn how your motorcycle handles, responds, and rides. You should be 100% confident that you know how to handle your vehicle before taking it out as the better you are acquainted with it the better you can handle it should stressful conditions (bad weather, debris, traffic, etc.) arise.
  • Ride defensively. In addition to riding responsibly, you should drive defensively by paying attention to the other vehicles and people on the road. Should they swerve or engage in reckless habits, you will have enough time and space to react properly.
  • Take breaks. If you are tired or know you have a long stretch ahead of you, take a break to avoid riding while drowsy.

At the Law Offices of David Henderson, our attorney has over 20 years of legal experience and is dedicated to helping clients fight for their right to fair compensation. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle or auto accident, contact us online or via phone (888) 295-6566.