When riding your motorcycle, following these safety tips could help you avoid a serious accident.
Riding a motorcycle is classic American pastime, especially in Florida’s year-round warm climate. There’s nothing like cruising down the road with the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and the open air all around you. Unfortunately, just like driving car, operating a motorcycle can result in dangerous spills and accidents.
According to the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of motorcycle-related fatalities was 27 times that of auto-related fatalities as of 2014. Fortunately, by following some basic safety tips, your motorcycle riding is more likely to bring you only the best.
1. Wear Proper Clothing
Many people underestimate the importance of wearing appropriate clothing when riding a motorcycle. Despite how hot and humid the weather may be outdoors, it’s important to protect your body with protective clothing. A simple motorcycle spill can result in serious injuries if you aren’t adequately dressed.
Experts recommend you wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, shoes and socks. Reinforced or leather clothing and boots will give you even more protection. Even if your state doesn’t require it, always wear a DOT-approved helmet. If you are using an open-faced helmet, be sure to wear goggles.
In Florida, you do not have to legally wear a motorcycle helmet if you’re over the age of 21, as long as you carry $10,000 of Medical Payment Insurance
2. Remember Bike Maintenance
The time to have repairs and work done on your bike is before you take it out for a ride rather than after you discover something is wrong. Even if your bike worked properly last fall, issues may have developed while it was sitting all winter.
If you’re not mechanically inclined, haul your bike to your local motorcycle repair shop and have them check it out prior to riding it for the first time. Some motorcycle shops will even pick up and return your bike for a fee.
If you’re familiar with the basics, you can check it out yourself. The main things you want to inspect are lights, mirrors and tires, but it’s also important to make sure the bike has regular maintenance, including suspension and chain adjustments, oil changes, tire pressure and any needed brake work.
3. Pay Attention
As important as it is to pay attention to the road and other drivers while driving a car, it’s even more important when driving a motorcycle. Because of their small size, it’s often difficult for drivers to see a motorcycle – particularly when the biker is in the driver’s blind spot. Consider this when maneuvering in and around other vehicles.
Additionally, don’t try to get into a spot with your motorcycle that you wouldn’t go with your car. As helpful as your mirrors may be, you can’t always see everything that’s around you. Get in the habit of turning your head and looking around on all sides. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Always be courteous to other drivers.
4. Make Sure Weather is Permitting
Weather should play an important role when driving or deciding to drive your motorcycle. Wet roads can become very slippery for motorcycles, and icy roads are even more treacherous for motorcycles than they are for cars. Rain and/or snow also affects visibility. It’s hard to drive safely when you can’t see the road ahead of you.
If you’re planning to ride your motorcycle, check the weather forecast so you know what to expect not only for your departure but also for your return trip home. If you are stuck driving in inclement weather, drive appropriately for the weather. Slow it down!
5. Know the Law
Ignorantia juris non excusat – that’s Latin for “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” That principle holds true with motorcycle laws too. Although motorcycle driving tests may be slightly different from automobile driving tests, the laws are the same for all drivers. Make sure you’re familiar with old laws, current laws and any new laws that may have recently come into effect.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys at Lorenzo & Lorenzo are ready to help. Contact us today for a free consultation and see what we can do for you.