As a motorcyclist, you take a risk every time you get on the road. You could end up in an accident and end up hurt or worse.
Of course, that goes for drivers of any type of vehicle. But what’s different about driving a motorcycle is that the potential for serious injury or death is much higher.
Why? Because there’s less between you and the road and other vehicles. You don’t have a metal box protecting you in a collision. It’s just you and whatever you’re wearing (hopefully a full leather outfit with pads).
Motorcycles also don’t have seat belts or airbags. Overall, there are simply fewer safety features in them than there are in a car.
This is part of the reason why the federal government estimates that per mile traveled in 2019, the number of deaths on motorcycles was nearly 29 times the number in cars.
If you ever end up injured from a motorcycle accident, consult an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. They can help you with any insurance and personal injury claims.
But to avoid getting in a motorcycle accident altogether, here’s what you should do:
- Assume no one can see you.
Motorcycles can be hard to see because they are much smaller than other vehicles. Many drivers just aren’t expecting them, and it’s easy for them to fall into a driver’s blind spot.
That’s why after a motorcycle accident, you often hear drivers say, “they came out of nowhere.” So it’s best to play it safe and assume other drivers can’t see you.
- Slow down.
Speeding is dangerous. It gives you less time to react to obstacles in the road, sudden brakes, and other hazards. It also prevents you from turning properly and might cause your bike to skid.
So always keep the speed limit and slow down early whenever coming to a stop. These two tips alone will significantly lower the risk of collision.
- Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles.
As a rule of thumb, you should leave three seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. That means that at any given moment, it should take you three seconds to catch up to where the car in front of you just was.
This ensures that you have plenty of time to react to a car that is slowing down or coming to a sudden stop.
You should also leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles when merging and passing. Don’t cut right in front of somebody. It’ll not only upset them but it might cause them to run into you by accident.
- Check your mirrors frequently.
To avoid getting hit from behind, check your mirrors frequently. Some drivers may catch up to you suddenly and it’s best to stay alert so you can react properly.
- Don’t weave between traffic.
It might be convenient to squeeze past other vehicles, especially when traffic is slow. But it’s extremely dangerous. A slight turn, an open door, or a car pulling out in front of you could knock you off your bike and send you flying.
The same goes for driving in between parked cars. A pedestrian might walk out in front of one and you could seriously hurt them and you.
So don’t weave between traffic. It’s not worth the risk.
- Never drink and drive.
This is basic driving safety 101. You shouldn’t drink and drive any vehicle, including a motorcycle.
Number one, it’s illegal. Doing so could lead to hefty fines, license suspension, and jail time. But secondly, it’s extremely unsafe. It impairs your balance, which is essential to driving a motorcycle, and your judgment overall.
Anyone who drinks and drives a motorcycle is asking for trouble. Don’t try it.
- Maintain your motorcycle.
Keep your motorcycle in good condition so it doesn’t malfunction on the road.
Good motorcycle maintenance includes regularly checking (and when necessary replacing) the brakes, tires, wheels, engine, oil, lights, turn signals, windshield, and more.
If you notice anything off (like an odd sound), you may need to take your bike into the shop to be looked at. Some repairs are a quick fix, while others may require you to leave your bike in the shop for a few days.
- Check the weather.
Poor weather conditions increase the risk of a motorcycle accident. Rain, snow, and fog can make it hard to see, and ice can cause you to slip on the road.
So always check the weather before you head on a ride. If the weather’s bad, consider waiting it out or postponing the drive. And if the weather takes a turn for the worse while you’re already on the road, consider pulling over until it improves.
- Be on the lookout for hazards.
Lastly, keep an eye out for potholes, rocks, fallen tree branches, oil spills, and other hazards on the road. They can have a much more serious impact on a two-wheel motorcycle than they do on a four-wheel vehicle because you have less balance.
In short, always keep your eyes on the road and drive defensively.
Adding it all up
Some motorcycle accidents can’t be avoided. But the vast majority of them can be by following the simple guidelines above. Instead of becoming part of another motorcycle accident statistic, commit to driving safely and responsibly. You and those that care about you will be glad you did.