May is motorcycle safety awareness month. With that in mind, we would like
to remind motorcyclists that safe driving involves much more than reminding
car and truck drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists.
Experienced Kingston motorcycle accident attorneys know that all motorists must actively drive responsibly, even those of
us whom ride motorcycles. Driving and riding defensively, responsively,
and prudently should decrease roadway injuries and fatalities.
What can motorcyclists do to decrease the likelihood of motorcycle injuries
and fatalities caused by a motorcycle accident? Always wear a helmet.
Although not perfect, sometimes helmets are the first line of defense
in the protection of motorcyclists who are knocked off of their bikes.
Moreover, don’t just wear a helmet because it is common sense or
because it is the law, pick the helmet right for you. The helmet should
be the proper size and should be fastened to the riders head properly.
The appropriate helmet should be worn given the use for which the rider
is operating the motorcycle; sport, touring, high light, high visibility,
etc. You should also know that the type of motorcycle that you ride will
also affect how you chose the proper helmet to wear. Learn more about
motorcycle helmet safety here.
Helmets are not the only safety gear to consider. You might also be better
served by, using eye protection, wearing a motorcycle jacket, motorcycle
pants, gloves, hearing protection, boots, and raingear when appropriate.
Additionally, bikers should be on the lookout for distracted drivers, roadway
obstacles such as larger trucks that which obscure the view of others,
damaged roadways, loose gravel, slick spots, and blind spots.
Possibly the best way to learn about driving alertly and choosing the right
safety gear is for the motorcyclists to complete a motorcycle safety course.
These courses teach riders about the differences between different types
of motorcycles and risks associated with each one, as well as risks common
to all motorcycles.
Safety courses also inform riders about safety gear, bike inspections,
maintenance, and basic riding skills. Motorcyclists also learn about increasing
their visibility, braking skills, commonly encountered problems, as well
as unique confrontations. You could also expect to learn about dealing
with tire blowouts, broken clutch cables, and the affects wind and rain
will have on your ability to safely ride a motorcycle. An added bonus
of completing one of these programs is that the riders will receive an
While obvious to the majority of riders, motorcyclists should never operate
a bike under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Numerous riders, passengers,
and bystanders are injured and/or killed every year by motorcyclists who
chose to ride the motorcycle while on alcohol and/or drugs. Note that
“drugs” includes illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter
medications. Motorcycle accidents involving these substances are completely
avoidable with care and responsibility for the safety of oneself and others.
For statistics on motorcycle accidents, find out more by
clicking here to read one of last week’s blog posts.
Having gotten past some of the other more obvious safety precautions, we
move on to a frame of mind that which is hard for most people to practice;
placing oneself in the shoes of another. You should think about how motorcycles
are perceived by other motorists; not just in a philosophical sense, but
literally sense perception as well.
Four-wheeled motorists find it hard to apprehend smaller, more nimble motorcycles.
Bikers should be aware of this and keep a reasonable distance away from
other vehicles. More time should be given so that vehicle drivers may
react to motorcycles; ask yourself, “can that driver see me”,
and if you don’t think that he can, initiate defensive driving skills
so as to prevent a possible accident. Be aware of common blind spots associated
with driving a traditional four-wheeled vehicle. Finally, even though
it may be obvious, never forget that vehicles react differently to common
situations; trucks react differently to road hazards as compared to cars
and cars react differently to obstacles as compared to motorcycles. Allow
the time necessary based on the type of vehicle encountered for them to
react to your motorcycle.
With the context of the information above in mind, you should also realize
that the majority of motorcycle accidents are due to the fault of the
other driver; the car or truck driver. Moreover, more than 50% of all
motorcyclist fatalities involved an accident with another vehicle. The
moral of the story, therefore, is control what you can and ride safely.