It’s no secret that motorcyclists are at a higher risk of accident and injury out on the road. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycles are 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than automobiles. Many people blame accidents on the driver of the car for not keeping an eye out for motorcycles, but bikers can cause motorcycle accidents as well.
If you drive a motorcycle, avoiding the following common causes of motorcycle accidents can help keep you and others safe on the road:
Lack of Education
Get educated, stay educated. Driving a motorcycle is not the same as driving a car. Take a motorcycle course and get a license. Learn how to safely ride your bike and how to safely navigate the roads. Even if you are an experienced rider, a refresher course can help alert you to new and upcoming trends on the roads (like texting motorists and self-driving cars).
Lack of Regular Motorcycle Maintenance
Just like an automobile owner, all motorcyclists are responsible for the maintenance of their bike. No motorist wants to share the road with another vehicle that may unexpectedly stop working in some capacity. At a bare minimum, remember to regularly:
· Check and replace brakes
· Change and rotate tires
· Change the oil
This might seem like a no brainer, but in motorcycle culture there can exist an attitude of invisibility. This can cause riders to
· Zig zag in and out of traffic
· Take corners sharp and fast
· Drive on surfaces not designated as a road
Not only does this sort of behavior endanger the rider, but it also endangers other motorists and pedestrians. Be responsible.
Lack of Awareness
Cars are often reminded to look out for motorcycles, but motorcycles need to be just as attentive of cars. Be aware of a car’s blinds spots and don’t hang out in them. Watch a car’s wheels, they will indicate the direction the car is about to move before it does, giving you a few seconds more of reaction time. Drive with your hands over the brakes, so you’ll be ready in a split second should a distraction or accident occur.
Lack of Proper Gear
The more a motorcyclist can do to make sure they are seen, the safer they are on the road. Always wear proper clothing when riding a motorcycle, including the following:
· Long pants (made of a thick, protective material)
· Long Sleeves (made of a thick, protective material)
· Closed toe and durable shoes
· Eye protection,
· A Department of Transportation approved helmet.
Reminder: the brighter and more reflective your gear, the better!