There’s nothing quite like the feeling of hitting the road on a motorcycle.
It’s a great way to get out of the house and see the surrounding countryside, but there’s also a level of danger that goes along with it. Simple fender benders might not be a great threat to those in cars and trucks, but even small accidents can result in injuries for motorcyclists.
We hope you don’t ever need the services of a motorcycle accident attorney, but not all accidents can be avoided. There are certain precautions that can be taken to lessen the chance of experiencing an accident while riding a motorcycle.
And even though you can’t always account for the behavior of other motorists, you should do everything you can to give yourself the best chance of making it home safely.
Here are 10 safety tips for motorcyclists:
- Wear a Helmet
- Invest in Appropriate Attire
- Be Defensive
- Follow the Rules of the Road
- Ride an Appropriately-Sized Bike
- Maintain your Motorcycle
- Keep Your Headlights On
- Avoid Lane Splitting
- Be Aware of the Weather
- Be Attentive
1. Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle reduces your risk of sustaining a head injury by 69% and death by 37%. You should be wearing a helmet every time you hop on a motorcycle, both as a driver and a passenger.
Tennessee requires everyone to wear a helmet, regardless of age and experience. Kentucky, however, only requires a helmet if you are under 21 or if you’ve had your motorcycle license for less than one year.
But regardless of local laws, it’s highly recommended to wear a helmet at all times.
2. Invest in Appropriate Attire
Motorcycle jackets, pants, boots, and gloves are much more than a fashion statement. These articles of clothing are specifically designed to minimize injuries when a fall occurs.
They are generally made of materials that won’t immediately wear away when being dragged across the pavement. This saves you from the terrible effects of what’s known as “road rash.”
3. Be Defensive
Defensive driving means acting in a mindful and safe manner as you travel down the road. This includes practices such as avoiding following a vehicle too closely. Any sudden braking from a vehicle could result in a call to a motorcycle accident lawyer if there isn’t enough space in front of you.
4. Follow the Rules of the Road
Speed limits, passing zones, and other laws are in place to keep people safe. There are specific reasons for the existence of each of these laws. Motorcyclists, as well as all other motorists, should follow these rules.
Safe driving means acting in a way that other drivers will be able to predict. Following the rules helps remove surprises.
5. Ride an Appropriately-Sized Bike
Motorcycles come in a variety of sizes. Keep this in mind when choosing a bike.
You should be able to straddle the motorcycle and firmly place both feet on the ground. Leaning one way or the other means it’s too tall.
Your hands should be able to easily reach the handle bars when sitting comfortably on the seat. Any stretching will become uncomfortable over time and reduce your maneuverability.
6. Maintain your Motorcycle
Stay up to date with preventative maintenance on your motorcycle. Check the oil and tire pressure, as well as your directionals and headlight before heading out on the road.
Keep a log of how long you’ve had your tires and brake pads so you know when it’s time to replace them. Mechanical failures can lead to big problems on the road beyond simply being stranded.
7. Keep Your Headlight On
Visibility is very important for motorcycles. You’re not as big as a car or truck so you have to use other measures to make sure surrounding motorists know you’re there. This includes illuminating your headlight at all times of the day.
It might seem unnecessary when the sun’s out, but that extra light can be the difference between someone staying in their lane or switching lanes even though you’re there.
8. Avoid Lane Splitting
Lane splitting refers to the practice of driving a motorcycle between two lanes on the road. Some areas of the country, such as California, don’t outlaw this practice.
However, Tennessee does. Kentucky is a little more vague on the practice. There’s no law specifically forbidding lane splitting, but it’s not expressly legal either.
It’s best to avoid lane splitting, as it puts you very close to surrounding cars and can take motorists off guard.
9. Be Aware of the Weather
Rain might be annoying when you’re driving your car, but it can be quite dangerous on a motorcycle. The reduction in visibility combined with slippery roads creates a dangerous environment for motorcyclists. Knowing what to expect can help you either avoid this situation or plan for it.
10. Be Attentive
Ultimately, it’s up to you to avoid traffic accidents. And the best way to do this is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Check your mirrors, study the surrounding vehicles, and adhere to all traffic laws.
These tips will help you stay safe on your motorcycle, but it isn’t a guarantee. Accidents are still going to happen. And when they do, get in touch with the professional motorcycle accident attorneys at Bart Durham Injury Law in Kentucky and Tennessee. We’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve.