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Personal Injury

Top 5 Motorcycle Safety Tips All Riders Should Know

Motorcycle Accident attorney

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cruising down the road on a motorcycle. The wind whips by and you can feel the power of the bike underneath you.

But all that power won’t do you any good if you’re caught in an auto accident. If anything, it could make the whole situation worse–especially if you don’t know how to manage your bike.

The best way to prevent accidents is to ride safe. Here are a few motorcycle safety tips that no rider should hit the road without.

Don’t Buy More Bike Than You Can Handle

Safety starts from the moment you buy your bike.

You might be dreaming of that gorgeous racing bike, but the truth is, you’re putting yourself in danger if you buy a bike you can’t handle.

Even veteran riders who have been off a bike for many years should shop with care. Many of today’s bikes are far more powerful than those of 10 or 20 years ago. Even a bike with a small displacement engine is noticeably faster and more powerful than a comparable bike from a few years ago.

A good place to start is knowing the types of motorcycles on the market. For example, if you’re picturing yourself cruising city streets on a low-slung machine, you should be shopping for a cruiser, not a sport bike. Beginners should avoid sport bikes or bikes with more powerful engines–go for something basic until you’re comfortable operating a bike.

You should also look for a bike that actually fits you (though appearances may indicate otherwise, motorcycles aren’t actually one-size-fits-all). When seated, you should be able to easily rest both feet flat on the ground beneath you, without standing on tiptoes. The controls and handlebars should be in easy reach.

Gear Up

Contrary to popular belief, looking cool is not your first priority when you get on a motorcycle. Your first priority is staying safe.

Put it this way. The fastest human in the world is Usain Bolt, who peaked at 27.78 mph during a 100-meter sprint. That’s the fastest human in the world. The human body did not evolve to go any faster than that.

Because of this, our skin, bones, and organs did not evolve to sustain impacts at higher speeds–even Usain Bolt would likely sustain serious injury if he fell at peak speed.

On a motorcycle, you’re going 50 mph just cruising around town. When you’re on a highway, you’re likely to hit 85 mph.

You need gear to keep you safe.

At a minimum, you’re going to need a helmet. If it’s open-faced, goggles or glasses are a must. You should also always wear gloves.

Ideally, you should always ride your bike wearing protective clothing. That means a reinforced leather jacket, pants, and boots. It does not matter how hot it is–sandals are a recipe for a broken foot when riding a motorcycle.

Take a Motorcycle Safety Course

If you’re a beginner, a motorcycle safety course should be built into the cost of purchasing a bike.

Not only will this improve your motorcycle skills, but it will also ensure that you’re not a danger to yourself or others when you hit the road.

Fortunately, Michigan law requires you to pass a vision, knowledge, and skills test in order to get a motorcycle license. The best way to prepare is to study using the Michigan Motorcycle Operator Manual.

Remember, you had to take driver’s ed in order to get your driver’s license as a teenager. Why would a motorcycle be any different? 

Stay in Your Comfort Zone

You might want to show off your bike, but if you’re new to motorcycles (or even new to this particular bike) you should stick to your comfort zone.

Start by riding your bike around your neighborhood on streets you know. This will get you comfortable with handling the bike.

Once you’re comfortable riding around the neighborhood, you can start expanding your loop. Always make sure you’ve chosen a route you can comfortably handle. The more familiar the route, the easier it is to focus on safe motorcycle riding and not on missing a turn.

Similarly, always check the forecast before you set out. Driving in hard rain in a car is one thing–a crash can still seriously hurt you, but you’ll have a metal shell to absorb some of the shocks. You have no such advantage on a motorcycle.

If it’s not safe to ride, don’t try to be a hero. Take a car, take public transportation, take an Uber. But don’t ride your bike.

Speed Reduces Your Options

There are many reasons that a motorcycle accident could occur. But regardless of the cause, there is one commonality throughout: the faster you go, the fewer options you have.

Every time your speed doubles, your safe stopping distance roughly quadruples. It’s not just about obeying the speed limit.

The faster you go, the less time you have to react–and the more space you need to stop safely. If you’re going fast and suddenly need to stop or change directions, the laws of motion are not in your favor.

It’s not as cool to take it slow, but there’s nothing cool about a broken arm or a serious head injury. Slow down and give yourself the time to avoid a dangerous situation.

You should also practice situational awareness anytime you’re riding.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s simple. Ride your bike as though every driver you meet is going to do something hilariously dangerous. They probably won’t, but you never know when you’ll meet the one driver who will.

If you meet every driver as though they’re that one dangerous driver, you’ll be prepared for the day when you do meet that dangerous driver–and it could save your life.

When Motorcycle Safety Tips Aren’t Enough

Sometimes, though, all the motorcycle safety tips in the world aren’t enough to keep you safe.

When that happens, you need a great motorcycle accident attorney.

The attorneys know what your peace of mind means to you and your family. And we know how destructive it is when one accident takes that away. That’s why we fight to get the best results for our clients–we recently won $12 million in a motorcycle accident case resulting in death and a severe orthopedic and brain injury.

While we can’t win back your peace of mind, we can help make the recovery process easier. If you need to speak with an attorney about your accident, click here to get started with your free consultation.

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