According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths related to automobile accidents (including cars, SUVs, and light trucks) reached an all-time low in the United States. Unfortunately, while we continue to make progress in terms of motor vehicle safety, motorcycle safety represents an entirely different trend. During the period spanning 1999 to 2008, motorcyclist fatalities more than doubled, reaching an all time high. Despite the fact that some estimates tab 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. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention; motorcycle.org)
Our Chicago lawyers have experience handling lawsuits involving motorcycle accident injuries. What follows are a few tips we have devised to help new motorcyclists keep themselves safe on the road:
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)