Everybody knows it: motorcycles can be dangerous. If you need convincing, check out the 2013 Traffic Safety Facts report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2013, 4,668 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes; a further 88,000 were injured. But why? Well, firstly, when you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re usually travelling as fast as other traffic, yet you don’t have the same protection that car drivers have. Car drivers can have a hard time spotting motorcycles, too – especially at junctions.
Some motorcycle accidents are unavoidable; however, you can follow some steps to lower your risk of getting into an accident while riding. Ask a specialist Colorado Springs motorcycle lawyer and they’ll recommend the following top tips.
Stick to the speed limit
This should go without saying, but speed limits are there for a reason. They’re there to keep everyone safe. It’s very important to obey the speed limit while riding, as it’s easy to lose control of a fast-moving motorcycle. Corners are more dangerous, as taking sharp turns at speed can result in the bike tipping over. Not only that, but if you’re going too fast and a car driver doesn’t spot you in time, you’ll be injured more severely than if you were travelling more slowly. If you speed whilst the roads are wet, you could even end up hydroplaning, which could cause your bike to skid or flip. Remember: if you get into an accident whilst riding above the speed limit, you’re at least partly liable, and even an experienced motorcycle lawyer may not be able to help you out of getting charged.
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Colorado Springs Motorcycle lawyer Malnar Law, P.C. helps personal injury victims.
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Keep your motorcycle in good shape
Before setting out on your journey, check that your motorcycle is in good condition. Things can stop working all of a sudden, even if everything seemed fine last time you rode. It’s important that you make sure your lights, horn and brakes are all working correctly, and that there’s no damage to the tires (or anything else!). If you don’t keep up with your bike’s maintenance, you’ll find yourself more at risk of getting into an accident. Nobody wants to be halfway through their journey only to discover that their turn signals aren’t working. Not only could you put yourself at risk of a collision, but you also risk getting into trouble with the police. If anything doesn’t look right, get in touch with a motorcycle mechanic and don’t ride again until the problem is fixed. No matter how much of a hurry you’re in, it’s not worth the risk!
Follow the same rules as other vehicles
Some motorcyclists have a tendency to ignore the rules of the road. Don’t get me wrong, not every biker behaves this way! However, the rules of the road, just like speed limits, are there for a reason. They aren’t just for car drivers to pay attention to. For example, you should never be tempted to share a lane side-by-side with another motorcycle. There may be enough space for both of you, but it’s still a dangerous habit. It only takes one of you to lose control or make a mistake and you could both find yourself in a serious accident. All motor vehicles must obey traffic lights, road signs and markings – not just those with four wheels. Again, if you aren’t following the law when you get into an accident, you may be deemed at fault. Even if you hire a Colorado Springs motorcycle lawyer to help you.
Wear the correct protective equipment
You might be surprised to hear that not every state requires motorcyclists to wear protective gear. In most states, only younger riders have to wear a helmet, and in 3 states (Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire) nobody has to wear one! Even if it’s not the law in your state, you should always wear a motorcycle helmet and suitable clothing. Wearing baggy clothes which could catch in your bike, or loose shoes that could fall off, is a sure-fire way to get into an accident. If you don’t wear a helmet with a visor, debris from the road could fly into your eyes and cause an accident. And while body protection won’t help you avoid one, it’ll stop you from injuring yourself too badly. If you aren’t wearing the right gear when you crash, it could also affect how much you could claim with the help of a Colorado Springs motorcycle lawyer.
Pay attention to your surroundings
I get it. You’re in a hurry to get to work, or an appointment, or wherever it is you’re going. Or maybe you’ve travelled this same road so many times before that you could do it in your sleep. Wherever you’re off to, though, you should always stay alert and attentive. Have you ever arrived at home or work and realised you have no memory of the journey? If so, you might not be paying enough attention to the world around you. Things could jump out at you at any time: pedestrians, cats, dogs, even a stray ball followed by a child. Many accidents involving motorcycles happen when the rider isn’t concentrating on their surroundings, and fails to react to a hazard in time. Also, if you’re sick, suffering from lack of sleep or taking medication which makes you feel drowsy, avoid getting on your bike until you feel better.
Learn how to be a better rider
There’s just one more thing left to mention. Just because you’ve passed your test and have a licence, that doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about riding! Learning how to be a safe and competent motorcyclist is something that comes with time and experience. But in the meantime, there are a number of courses and classes that you can take to learn more advanced techniques. You can also learn how to carry out evasive maneuvers which could come in handy during an emergency situation. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers such courses nationwide, so it’s worth checking out. After all, you can’t put a price on being a safe rider!
Call a Colorado Springs Motorcycle Lawyer if you need help
Remember, even if you do follow the above tips to the letter, sometimes accidents happen anyway. If you find yourself getting into a crash, especially if it wasn’t your fault, contact a professional Colorado Springs motorcycle lawyer to find out how they could help you claim compensation.