The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, in a recent report, shared a very startling fact. According to the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities have “more than doubled during the past 10 years.” This bit of information may come as a shock to many Americans because for the most part transportation has gotten safer in recent years. With the improvements in airbags, seatbelts and other car safety technologies the trend seems to suggest that everybody on the road is more protected than they used to be. Unfortunately, that just isn’t so with motorcycles.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a motorcycle with an airbag or a seatbelt. So if you do crash all you have to protect you from probable death is the half-inch of plastic and fiberglass that they use to make the helmet.

Thankfully, if you frequently drive a motorcycle there are things you can do to lessen the risk of being involved in an accident while driving.

Appearance

The first thing that you should do is wear clothing and gear that stand out. Wearing and displaying easily visible colors and reflectors is important in ensuring that you can be seen. A black bike, helmet and leather jacket, although common, are probably not the best things to wear while riding a motorcycle. Instead you should look for gear that has reflective material embedded in because this will greatly increase your visibility on the road.

Movement

Another way to make yourself more visible is with movement. Humans are apt to notice quick movement. Motorcycle riders can take advantage of this trait and make others aware of our presence through deliberate movements while riding. When traveling in a straight line, try moving your bike side to side, staying within your lane. This will remind other drivers around you that you are still there. You can also use hand turn signals if you are unsure if the cars around you are aware of your presence; the extra hand wave may avert an accident.

Noise

In addition to doing your best to be visible on the motorcycle, there are also a few things that can alert others to your presence audibly. When riding you should make yourself heard by using your horn frequently. Cover your horn when riding through a parking lot or areas with high pedestrian traffic. Make other drivers aware of your presence by making some noise when it is apparent they do not visually notice you.

You can also use your engine noise to make yourself noticed. When down shifting, when you pull in the clutch, give the engine a quick rev of the throttle before letting the clutch out. You only need a half second or so between revving the engine and releasing the clutch. This technique’s main purpose is to ensure the bike goes through a smooth transition between gear shifts by ‘tricking’ the engine into thinking it is going faster than it actually is but the loud resulting noise will likely be heard by those around you.

By using a helmet and using these safety techniques while riding a motorcycle you can greatly reduce the risk of being involved in a fatal or serious traffic accident. Even after taking these precautions there is still a chance that you may still wind up the victim of a serious accident. If this happens, seek immediate medical attention. You may also need the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer, such as those at Christensen & Hymas, to ensure that the guilty party be held responsible.

Image courtesy of: Tonypang 

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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