Whether you prefer the smooth pavement of the highway or seek out the secret dirt and gravel side roads, it’s hard to beat the thrill of riding a motorcycle.
However, motorcycles are notorious for being involved in some of the most devastating vehicle crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over the past year, the number of motorcyclists killed in a crash rose by 8.3 percent. 2015 saw 4,976 people die in motorcycle crashes, while 88,000 were injured.
While some might blame the vehicles themselves for the frequency and severity of motorcycle accidents, the truth is that motorcycle safety is a simple equation. Reasonable precautions and defensive driving by both motorcycle riders and other motorists is more than enough to prevent fatalities. Sadly, it only takes a mistake on one side of this equation to cause tragic consequences.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, call personal injury attorney Jordon Harlan for a free discussion about your case. You may be entitled to financial compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
Common Motorcycle Wrecks
The NHTSA reports that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash, and almost five times more likely to be injured. In addition, 30 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists in 2014 were under the age of 30. In other words, maturity and experience play a major role in motorcycle safety. This doesn’t mean that younger riders should stay off the road, but it does carry the warning that less experience demands greater caution. As the saying goes, pride comes before a fall.
If you live in an area that receives a lot of tourism, you need to be extra vigilant when riding your motorcycle during these peak seasons. Sharing the road with people who are unfamiliar with the area means extra danger for you, as these drivers may be ill-equipped to handle the terrain or weather in your area, or make sudden turns or stops without giving proper warning. As every motorcycle rider knows, a driver that is unsure of himself can be a deadly force on the road.
Laws for Motorcycle Riders
While a helmet is no guarantee against injury in a motorcycle crash, statistics show that helmets do provide significant protection from serious injury and death. It is estimated that helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries in motorcycle crashes.
According to the law in most states, your windshield is not considered sufficient eye protection. Many states require motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear some form of eye protection. This may be a helmet visor, goggles or eyeglasses made with safety glass or plastic.
If you want to bring a sidekick on your motorcycle trip, your motorcycle must have footrests for the passenger to use. Furthermore, you may be stopped by state police if your passenger is observed to be riding without using the footrests.
Passengers may not sit in front of the motorcycle driver. They must ride on the seat behind, or else in a side car.
Traffic Laws for Motorcycles
Before you get on the road, it is important to know the traffic laws for the state where you’re riding your motorcycle. If you’re taking a long tour across multiple states, a little background research ahead of time could save you from spending hours in traffic court down the road.
For example, some states maintain that motorcycles may not pass or overtake a vehicle in their lane. Others say that motorcycles may share a lane with one other motorcycle, but not with any other vehicle.
All states declare it illegal for a motorcycle to be towed by another vehicle, or for the driver to grab onto another driver or their bike. In other words, leave the dangerous riding tricks to the Hollywood stuntmen and ride your bike the way it is meant to be ridden.
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Beware of unpredictable weather. Even if the sun is out when you leave, at high elevations a snowfall can easily take you by surprise. The sudden shift in temperature from night to day makes icy patches of road a frequent possibility. Use common sense—if you’re planning to ride during rough weather, stick to the lower roads.
Respect the altitude. Getting up a mountainside is exhilarating, but it can also bring the dizziness, nausea and fatigue. Even if you are native to the area, it doesn’t necessarily make you immune to altitude sickness. Bring plenty of water on your ride and if you feel any symptoms, pull over to a safe area and take a break.
Take a training course. Statistics show that riders who have taken a motorcycle training course have a better chance of staying out of motorcycle accidents. If you are new to motorcycle riding or new to the roads you’re planning to travel, getting some training from a licensed local rider can give you the insight you need to ride safely. It can also bring you some tips on great local rides.
What to Do if You Get in a Motorcycle Crash
- If possible, move your bike to a safe place off the road.
- Call the police and an ambulance if needed.
- Take photos or write down as many of the crash details as you can, including injuries to yourself and others, damage to your vehicle and others, and marks on the road or guardrail
- Seek medical attention right away
- Contact a motorcycle accident attorney
If you were involved in a motorcycle crash that you know was not your fault, you may need the help of an accident attorney to help prove your case to insurance companies or in court.
Motorcycle accident attorney Jordon Harlan understands how important motorcycling is to you. In order to get back on your bike as soon as possible, you need the best possible care for both your injuries and for your bike.
If your motorcycle crash was not your fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation to cover the costs of your recovery. Contact Harlan Law today to talk about your legal options today.