Important Motorcycle Safety Tips
The gorgeous coastlines, scenic mountain roads, and impeccable weather make riding a motorcycle easily one of California’s favorite past times. With almost a million registered motorcycles, riding and driving safely has become a shared responsibility for all on the road. Motorcycles, while compact, speedy, and efficient, do not provide the protections that a car does for a driver or passenger. Motorcycle accidents are often incredibly severe and can cause irreparable damage to the rider and the bike. A motorcyclist is 28 times more likely to die in a roadway accident compared to a person inside a car. Riders, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians must work together to minimize the risks each presents by taking the necessary safety precautions. Following the safety tips listed below can help you keep yourself and others on our roads safe when riding a motorcycle.
Obey All Traffic Laws
Even while operating a different type of vehicle, all motorcyclists are subject to the same traffic laws on the road as other motor vehicle drivers. Obey all stoplights and stop signs, stay on the correct side of the road, follow speed limits, yield the right-of-way to other vehicles or pedestrians as required, use appropriate turn signals, and pass other vehicles using extreme caution. All motorcycles must have the required equipment to be considered road-worthy, including a seat for every passenger, working brakes, appropriate mirrors, and a horn to signal others.
In California, motorcyclists can engage in special actions while riding that other motor vehicles cannot, including lane splitting and being able to ride next to each other in the same lane. A motorcycle is lane splitting when it leaves the center of its own lane and rides between two lanes if motor vehicle traffic is stopped or moving slowly. Lane splitting can be incredibly dangerous and extreme caution must be taken when performing this maneuver. Inexperienced riders should not attempt to lane split. The risk of death when in a collision involving lane splitting is significantly increased. If you choose to lane split, do not exceed 10 to 15 miles per hour over the speeds of the surrounding vehicles and do not lane split if surrounding traffic exceeds 30 miles per hour.
Ride with Experience
Riding a motorcycle is not like riding a bike. You must have proper training to ride a motorcycle without causing a crash. Controlling a motorcycle takes experience, including knowing how to appropriately react to dangerous situations on the road. When choosing a motorcycle, stick to one that you have been trained to use. Inexperienced and incompetent riders have a higher likelihood of being involved in a serious collision. California requires bikers to pass a special test to obtain a motorcycle endorsement (class M) on their driver’s license in order to operate a motorcycle on the road. Enrolling in a motorcycle training course will help decrease the chance of getting into a serious crash.
Dress for Safety
Experienced riders know that wearing the appropriate safety gear can be the difference between life and death in a motorcycle accident. Before getting onto the motorcycle, putting on durable clothing that covers you from helmet-to-toe as well as having a sturdy, Department of Transportation-approved helmet will help protect you if the worst should happen. Look for long-sleeved jackets and pants with motorcycle armor and fabrics that are abrasion-resistant such as thick denim and leather. Footwear that covers the ankles, goggles, and gloves are also good to wear to protect your extremities. While this may sound like quite a few layers to add to your daily riding outfit and may feel very warm in the summer, there are weather-conscious brands of motorcycle gear that offer significant protection from road rash while still using breathable designs.
Wear a Helmet Every Time
California law requires motorcycle riders wear helmets. The California Vehicle Code states that all motorcyclists and their passengers must wear a helmet while in the State of California. We are one of the only states to have a universal helmet law, which can help you avoid serious or fatal injuries in a crash.
While your motorcycle may be fast, and you may get frustrated with traffic pileups, it is never safe to tailgate a vehicle in front of you. A rear-end collision can quickly become deadly for a motorcyclist. Keeping a few car-lengths between you and the next vehicle can save your life. Pay attention to the road and surrounding traffic at all times. Be prepared to stop your motorcycle if traffic patterns change and you have to react quickly. To reduce the risk of being rear-ended, brake slowly, if possible, and signal your intent to lane-split or change lanes by activating your turn signal.
Do Not Drink and Ride
Riding a motorcycle, just like driving a car, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. Drinking and drug use can impair your senses, making it difficult to react to changes on the road as well as impairing your judgement. Being intoxicated can make it significantly more difficult to control your motorcycle, which can cause deadly accidents. If you do not plan to stay sober, make plans to have a safe ride home to ensure you do not endanger yourself or others by riding under the influence.
California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
While riding a motorcycle in California can be exciting and fun, being in a motorcycle accident can leave a victim severely injured and even dead. Even if you have followed all of our safety tips, a reckless driver can ignore you on the roads and cause a devastating collision. If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Curtis Legal Group right away so we can help you navigate the confusing legal processes surrounding receiving compensation for your injuries. We know this time is difficult for you, so let us get you the compensation you deserve after being hurt by a reckless driver. There is limited time to act so call us today!