According to the latest statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III), around 5,000 people in the U.S. die every year as a result of a motorcycle crash. Moreover, more than 90,000 motorcyclists sustain injuries every year while on the road.
While riding a motorcycle can be exciting and invigorating, it’s important to practice caution any time you go for a ride.
As the weather warms up, more people are thinking about long drives to the beach, mountains or countryside. Before you go, it’s important to review a few key motorcycle safety tips to make sure you’re as protected as possible.
Read on to learn the steps to take before, during, and after your trip.
1. Examine Your Bike
One of the most important motorcycle safety checks happens before you even turn on the ignition. First, visually inspect all of the parts of your motorcycle.
Make sure the tire pressure is correct and check to ensure that the brakes work. Other key components to examine include the:
It’s important to take your time during this step and be as thorough as possible. Write down any issue you find and get it fixed before taking off on your journey. Even if it’s a seemingly minor issue, such as a broken taillight, it’s important to get it fixed.
2. Find the Best Helmet
The same research from the III reveals that helmets save the lives of more than 1,500 motorcyclists per year. In all, the III explains that motorcycle helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to riders, and 41% effective for passengers.
These days, you can perform a quick online search and find a helmet from a variety of retailers. However, it’s critical to pick one that meets the quality and safety testing requirements set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 details in full the regulations that any motorcycle helmet must meet to earn the DOT’s approval.
Not sure if yours is compliant? You’ll see a DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet if it is. If yours doesn’t display this icon, it’s time to shop for a new one.
3. Check the Weather
No one wants to cancel their plans. Still, it’s unwise to head out for a motorcycle ride if there’s a big storm on the horizon. The same applies to low-visibility conditions, such as thick fog or high winds.
4. Invest in the Right Gear
In addition to a high-quality helmet, there are also other key pieces of safety gear that a motorcyclist should invest in before a trip. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important ones.
It might be scorching in the summertime, but this is no place for sandals. Rather, you’ll need to buy sturdy, durable boots instead.
A great pair of motorcycle boots will help ensure that your feet can firmly grip your bike. Look for ones that lace on the inside to avoid accidentally getting your laces tangled.
Depending on the season you’re riding in, you can find a variety of motorcycle jackets designed to fit the bill. For instance, there are padded and insulated ones to keep you warm during the wintertime, and lightweight ones to keep you cool in the summer.
Then, there are ones created in special fabrics and colors to help you remain as visible as possible during your nighttime rides. Whichever one you choose, make sure it’s in great condition and free of tears.
Strong, weatherproof motorcycle gloves are a must. Not only will they help you grip the handlebars, but they can also provide added security if you experience an injury.
It’s a natural tendency to soften a fall with your hands. If they’re bare, that could mean scraping the pads of your palms and fingers. With the right pair of gloves, you can put an extra-thick layer of protection between yourself and the road.
Extra Guards (Knee and elbow pads)
If you’re in a motorcycle crash, the extra guards you put on before a ride can make a world of difference. To this end, it’s smart to buy premium elbow, knee, and shin guards and wear them every time you head out.
5. Stay Visible
Many accidents occur because a closed-vehicle driver cannot see a motorcyclist on the road. Even if you’re riding during the middle of the day, you should still take all the precautions necessary to make yourself easily seen.
A few of the key steps you can take to do so include:
- Always turn on your headlights
- Always use your turn signals
- Always engage your brakes when stopping or slowing
- Wear reflective clothing
- Apply reflective decals to your bike and clothing
- Use your horn as required
In addition to making yourself visible, it’s also important to think about your position compared to the drivers around you. Understand where the nearby blind spots are and try to avoid them as much as possible.
6. Watch for Hazards
Often, a hazard isn’t marked by a flashing, neon light. Instead, these obstacles usually come up out of nowhere.
If you impact one, it can create a force strong enough to eject you from your motorcycle. That’s why it’s smart to pay close attention to your surroundings, being aware of and maneuvering past any obstructions, such as:
- Fallen leaves or branches
- Construction debris
- Loose gravel
- Liquid spills (including oil)
7. Don’t Drink and Drive
You may already know that 29 people die every day in the United States as a result of an alcohol-impaired driver. Did you know that drinking and driving your motorcycle is equally dangerous?
The III reveals that more than 1,700 people die every year from an alcohol-impaired motorcycle crash. This accounts for roughly 33% of all total motorcycle-related deaths each year.
While summertime is nearly synonymous with relaxing and having a great time, be sure to leave your motorcycle parked for the night if you consume alcohol.
Put These Motorcycle Safety Tips to Practice
We’re heading toward the end of spring, and summer is quick on its heels. As you start planning your epic day trips or overnight adventures, take the time to review these motorcycle safety tips first.
However, the reality is that no matter how safe you are, an accident can still happen.
If you experience an injury as a result of a motorcycle crash, we have your back. Our personal injury lawyers are skilled and experienced in helping motorcyclists get the compensation they deserve.
Contact us if you have any questions and let’s connect.