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Despite Dangers, Motorcycle Use Continued to Climb: Tips for New Riders

With a forecasted high of just 30 degrees this weekend in Chicago, most motorcyclists aren’t dusting off their bikes just yet. However, Spring really isn’t all that far off, and our lawyers believe that it’s never too early to start talking about motorcycle safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nationwide deaths related to automobile accidents (including cars, SUVs, and light trucks) are at an all-time low. Still, while we continue making progress in motor vehicle safety, motorcyclist injuries and fatalities represent an entirely different trend. During the period spanning 1999 to 2008, the number of motorcyclists killed on the road more than doubled, reaching an all time high.

It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran or a first-time rider, motorcycle accident injuries, and even fatalities, can happen to everyone. Yet, despite some estimates tabbing motorcyclists as being 35 times more likely to be involved in a deadly accident than those driving cars, motorcycle use continues to grow, with new riders registering their bikes every day. With that in mind, our Chicago car accident lawyers would like to share a few of the most important considerations and precautions that every beginner or novice motorcyclist should remain cognizant of before they are ready to take their first ride. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention; motorcycle.org)

Don’t Overbuy-When shopping for our first bike, make sure it fits you. That means matching your needs both physically (when seated, you should be able to place both feet flat on the ground, handle bars should be easily reached, and the motorcycle should be a weight you can handle) and in terms of performance capability. Failing to take these basic precautions can be an accident waiting to happen.

Take A Safety Course-Most states require that you take a skills test in order to attain a motorcycle license, and some also require a safety class. If your state doesn’t require some kind of safety education course, do what you can to seek one out on your own.

Invest in Antilock Brakes-ABS is a feature now available on many different motorcycle models, and IIHS data has shown that riders with these brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a deadly accident. Although it may cost you a couple hundred bucks, it will likely save you much more in the long term by way of insurance discounts, and it could save your life.

Ride Within Your Skill Level-Riding a motorcycle is not a skill that can be mastered immediately. Operating these machines requires greater balance and physical exertion, and it can take several years to reach the level of expert rider. Don’t attempt maneuvers you may not be able to handle, and be defensive whenever possible to avoid an accident.

Avoid Adverse Weather and Road Hazards-Simply put, motorcycles don’t grip pavement as well as four-wheeled vehicles do. Avoid riding in the rain or snow, and watch out for potholes, gravel, or other roadway hazards that could result in you losing control.

Wear a Helmet-The bottom line is that this is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe when riding. Head injuries are the leading cause of death for motorcyclists, and anything you can do to provide protection for your brain can make a big difference. (Discovery News; Consumer Reports)

Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys have been proud to represent victims of injuries suffered at the hands of a third party’s negligent or reckless actions, as well as families who have lost their loved ones far too soon. We will work to get you and your family the compensation you deserve to cover medical bills and insurance costs, while holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions. If yourself or a loved one has been injured or killed in an automobile accident, and you think you might have a case, call our lawyers for a free consultation to explore your legal options.