Riding a motorcycle can make the mundane task of getting from point A to point B a little more thrilling. Unfortunately, it can also make it a lot more dangerous. In fact, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident than passenger vehicle occupants, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Even though riding a motorcycle is inherently hazardous, that does not mean that accidents are unavoidable. There are a number of things that motorcyclists can do to prevent a wreck and better protect themselves in the event that a crash does occur. If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, these hints and tips can help you stay safer on the road.
Safety Gear Checklist
Having the right motorcycle gear can make all the difference. After all, in an accident, motorcyclists’ protective gear is the only thing between them and the road. Appropriate safety gear can help protect motorcyclists from injuries caused by windburn; flying dust, bugs or debris; or crash-related abrasion injuries known as “road rash.”
When hitting the open road on a motorcycle, riders should take advantage of the following types of protective gear:
- DOT-certified safety helmet: These helmets feature a DOT symbol, signifying that the helmet complies with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218, weigh approximately three pounds, have durable chin straps, and are lined with thick polystyrene foam. Motorcyclists who do not wear a helmet are five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury in an accident, according to the NHTSA.
- Protective eye wear: Some DOT-certified helmets feature a shield that protects the face—and specifically the eyes—from dust, dirt, gravel, and other debris. For motorcycle riders without a face shield can opt for protective goggles.
- Heavy leather pants and jacket: Wearing heavy leather or reinforced clothing that completely covers the body is essential to preventing or minimizing motorcycle accident road rash abrasion injuries.
- Boots with nonskid soles: Over-the-ankle shoes like boots help protect a motorcyclist's ankles from burns, while nonskid soles ensure a safe grip on the pedals.
- Motorcycle gloves: Gloves can prevent hot handlebars from burning a rider's hands and provide a better grip. However, most importantly, gloves can protect a motorcyclist's handles during a crash. Hands are often severely injured in motorcycle accidents, as many motorcyclists’ reactions during a wreck are to reach out their arms to help break their fall.
As important as the gear itself is, it is just as important that it makes the motorcyclist more visible to other motorists. If it does not, choosing brightly colored clothing or adding reflective tape to safety gear can help motorcyclists improve their visibility.
Motorcycle inspections both before and after a ride should be a regular part of every motorcyclist's routine. To make inspections easier, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation developed the T-CLOCK mnemonic and motorcycle inspection process:
- T – Tires and wheels: Check tire pressure and tread condition; look for cuts, punctures, or foreign objects; inspect the wheels and make sure brakes work.
- C – Controls: Inspect levers, cables, hoses, and throttle.
- L – Lights and electric: Check brakes and taillights, headlights, lenses, reflectors, battery, and wiring.
- O – Oil and fluids: Check brake fluid, oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and fuel levels; inspect all systems for leaks; and evaluate the color of the brake fluid and coolant and change, if necessary.
- C – Chassis: Look for peeling paint or cracking on the frame, check steering head and swingarm bearings; test suspension for proper adjustment and smooth movement; evaluate chair or belt for tension and wear; and look for missing or loose fasteners, pins, or clips.
- K – Kickstand: Make sure that the side and center kickstands engage and retract firmly, and aren't bent or damaged.
On the Road
- Obey the speed limit and other local rules of the road.
- Ride defensively; don't assume other motorists can see you.
- Always ride with headlights on—day or night.
- Don't ride in drivers' blind spots.
- Signal before changing direction.
- Never ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Don't ride while drowsy.
Consult an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you were injured or sustained significant property damage in a Delaware motorcycle accident caused by another motorist's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Our knowledgeable legal team can help you explore your options. Contact Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule an appointment for a free case analysis.