According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016. Sadly, that number isn’t trending down. If you’re taking your bike on the road anytime soon, here’s what you can do to keep it safe.
Go Back to School
Driving school, that is! Sure, you know how to drive a car, but if you’ll be hopping on a hog, you’ll likely need a new license to ride. Most states require either a motorcycle permit or license or a motorcycle endorsement on your standard license. Before you take that test (and maybe even after), you’ll want to make sure you know the rules of the road — as a motorcyclist. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles of Nevada, motorcyclists in Nevada must:
- wear a helmet
- be equipped with at least one and no more than two headlights
- be equipped with electric turn signals on the front and rear
- have a red tail light that is visible for 500 feet
- have a stoplight or brake light that is visible for 300 feet in daylight.
Even if you know the rules, a motorcycle safety course will teach you how to handle unpredictable situations and road conditions from the seat of your bike.
Get Geared Up
Those motorcycle jackets aren’t just about looking cool. Legitimate gear can actually keep you safer on the road. In case of a crash, a good leather jacket can save you from severe road rash.
While some states still don’t have motorcycle helmet laws, forgoing a good helmet is practically a death wish. Not only does a DOT-approved helmet give you the best chance of survival in a crash, but it also keeps bugs out of your face, another driving risk. To get the best protection, forgo the shorts and flip-flops. You’ll want gloves, full pants, and heavy footwear.
Keep your Ride Maintained
Keeping your motorcycle properly serviced and maintained is good for your bike — and it’s crucial for your safety. Consumer Reports recommends that you maintain your bike properly by having the brakes checked regularly, getting frequent inspections, and keeping your tires properly inflated.
According to Consumer Reports, when tires are underinflated, “handling gets really hard, steering gets hard, and the bike doesn’t want to lean.” Between your scheduled maintenance appointments, inspect your bike yourself to make sure you don’t see any leaks, broken lights, or chains or belts that need attention.
Think before Splitting
When it comes to traffic, your motorcycle is a time saver. After all, everyone’s witnessed that motorcyclist zipping between traffic during the busy morning commute. Lane-splitting (riding between two cars in adjacent lanes) is a common motorcycle practice that seems dangerous in theory. After all, you’re putting yourself at risk every time you enter a car’s blind spot. But a year-long California study showed that lane-splitting was no more dangerous than riding a motorcycle in general — except at high speeds. When riding 10 mph faster than traffic, motorcyclists are significantly more at risk for a fatal crash. If you’re considering splitting lanes, think before you zip through traffic.
Know Who to Call
Even the safest motorcyclists are more at risk for an accident than drivers of cars. If you’re involved in an accident, you need an attorney you can trust. Edward M. Bernstein & Associates are here to help! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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