The mentality in which you embark on a motorcycle journey can make the difference between whether you’re a highway star or on a highway to Hell. As a motorcyclist, your advanced control over your vehicle should be matched by your commitment to your own safety, as the drivers around you are not likely to know what your needs are or how to respond to you if your conduct is not straightforward. Ergo, small size notwithstanding, there is a great deal a motorcyclist can do to help surrounding motorists notice their presence.
On the other hand, it can be hard to know as a minority motorist exactly what is expected of you and what your obligations are. For your convenience, a handful of tips are listed below:
1. Know your state requirements.
Each state has a particular set of safety/maintenance requirements for motorcyclists. In Utah, these requirements include a rear view mirror on the left-hand side, helmets for riders under 18, hand grips, footrests, an odometer, and periodic inspection. Adherence to the suggested guidelines will reduce your risk of involvement in a motorcycle accident if you make full use of the necessary equipment.
2. Stay away from alcohol.
What the law requires is not necessarily the same thing common sense requires—i.e., that motorcycles should not be mounted if you are even a little tipsy. Riding a motorcycle demands more concentration than driving a car; and the consequences of minor oversights while riding a motorcycle are more serious. When you have any alcohol in your system at all, your risk of a motorcycle accident is five times greater; and a BAC of even 0.05% makes a motorcycle accident 40 times more likely. You won’t get pulled over with a very little alcohol in your bloodstream; but you may well be bowled over.
3. Get into the mindset.
The motorcycling plan of attack recommended by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation takes the acronym of SEE: search, evaluate, execute. This strategy involves not only identifying potential hazards, but making snap judgments on how to respond to them before you arrive. The handlebars of a motorcycle are no place to be distracted. Motorcycling requires one’s full focus.
4. Be visible.
One advantage of riding a motorcycle is a broad visual plane. However, one disadvantage of riding a motorcycle is the ease with which you can end up fully obscured in another driver’s blind spot. You should be aware of a car’s blind spots and avoid them and make your maneuvers clear and predictable to other drivers. In addition, you should allow yourself as much space as you need; since you cannot always depend on other drivers to know how much that is.
5. Dress for the occasion.
Another part of remaining visible is in choosing the right outfit. This means bright clothing, reflector strips, and a light-colored helmet for increased visibility at night. The Daisy Dukes and halter top of the stereotypical “motorcycle babe” are not recommended—for not only do long sleeves and leather provide protection against the elements; they also allow you to slide across pavement when you are thrown (while regular clothing or no covering at all will result in severe abrasion.
6. Learn accident avoidance.
Knowing how to turn or stop quickly is crucial to avoiding motorcycle accidents. The prepared motorcyclist should be familiar with their mount’s capabilities to prevent skidding, tipping, etc. in any context in which they will have to react at the drop of a hat.
7. Know basic motorcycle maintenance.
If you take your motorcycle in for regular check-ups, there should be no reason to imagine that it won’t work properly. However, a basic understanding of the machinery and the pieces that hold it together will allow you to detect potentially perilous problems at the outset, saving money on repairs and possibly future medical bills.
When these medical bills amass as a result of an accident you could not have reasonably avoided in spite of defensive driving, you are likely entitled to compensation from the party whose actions led to your injury. If your attempts to claim adequate compensation begin to feel like an uphill battle, Utah personal injury attorneys like Christensen & Hymas can help. To request legal representation or for a free initial consultation, call their office at (801) 506-0800.