Over the last few decades, there has been a national explosion in the number of people who own and ride motorcycles. Biking is becoming a more popular hobby as well as a more utilized mode of transportation around the country and in Arizona as well. Biking can be fun, entertaining, and a great way to travel around the state during times of nice weather and many bikers take advantage of Arizona’s long roads and desert traffic to enjoy scenic rides. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle can also be dangerous, sometimes leading to accidents that cause serious injuries. Read on to learn how more about motorcycle riding safety tips from our experienced Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers.
Statistics on Motorcycle Safety
Motorcyclists have the same rights to occupy the roads as drivers of cars, trucks, and buses but unfortunately other drivers don’t always seem to realize it. In 2011, there were 163,381 registered motorcycles in Arizona and 2,980 motorcycle crashes. That means almost 2 percent of the bikes registered in the state were involved in some sort of collision. Due to the nature of motorcycles when compared to the large size and mass of other vehicles on the roads, it is easy for a biker to sustain serious injuries in any collision.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Working with motorcyclists who were injured in collisions, we have compiled the following riding tips that all bikers should consider:
- Wear Appropriate Safety Gear
Unlike a car, there is nothing surrounding a biker from the road and other vehicles in the event of a collision. This means that bikers are at a significantly increased risk of injuries when compared to other drivers.
You cannot control the behavior of other drivers but you can take steps to keep yourself safe. Although Arizona law only requires drivers and passengers under 18 years old to wear a helmet, people of all ages should wear one to decrease the risk of serious injury in a collision. Helmets are estimated to prevent death 37 percent of the time among drivers and 41 percent of the time among passengers. Helmets can also substantially reduce the severity of head and face injuries among bikers who are injured but not killed in collisions.
Riders should also wear protective clothing that is reflective and easily visible. The more visible bikers make themselves, the easier it is for other drivers to notice motorcycles and to avoid them. It is a good idea to wear either a visor or some other type of eye protection to prevent bugs, dirt, and other contaminants from obscuring your vision while you ride.
- Be Familiar With Your Motorcycle Before Riding
Like cars, each motorcycle is a little different from the others. This means that before you ride, you should take time to familiarize yourself with your bike and any safety features it has. Be sure to review any user manuals for your motorcycle and be familiar with the location of the brakes, accelerator, and lights before you start riding.
If you recently bought a new motorcycle, it is a great idea to ask the person you bought it from for safety tips, especially if you bought the bike from a dealership. Many dealers have extensive knowledge about the different motorcycles they sell and can point out safety features easily.
- Take a Safety Course
Before riding a motorcycle for the first time or even for a refresher, it is a good idea to take a safety course from a licensed instructor. These courses are often reasonably priced and readily available in cities and areas with large populations.
Many states require riders to complete a safety course and become certified before they are licensed to ride a motorcycle. This means that riders who take these courses not only gain safety knowledge that can help protect them from injuries, but they also may comply with legal requirements to ride in other states. Before riding, make sure you know the applicable legal requirements to ride so that you will not risk facing a fine or other penalty.
- Never Drink and Ride
It is always a bad idea to drink and drive any type of vehicle. However motorcyclists who drink and drive are at an especially high risk for serious injury or death.
Among the bikers killed in 2010 in the United States, 28 percent had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. When motorcyclists drink and drive, they are more likely to cause a serious collision than if they drove sober. It is never worth the risk to yourself or others on the road to drink and drive.
If you have been drinking, never get on a motorcycle. Instead, call a cab or a friend for a ride.
- Ride Defensively and Be Alert for Other Drivers
Motorcycles should be able to ride the streets with the same concerns as other drivers but since the risk of injury and death is so high for bikers, reality means that those who ride should take extra precautions to put safety first. Some drivers of cars, trucks, and vans do not look out for motorcycles as they do not typically see bikers and bikers can be hard to see. As a result, motorists may pull out in front of a biker or turn into a biker’s path, setting up a potential collision that may lead to serious injuries.
Bikers cannot control the actions of other drivers or force other drivers to pay attention behind the wheel but bikers can ride in a defensive manner and put their own safety first.
This means that all motorcyclists should pay close attention to traffic and to be alert to potential safety hazards. Leave plenty of space between your bike and a vehicle in front of you in case you need to stop suddenly and do not be afraid to sacrifice your bike if it means that you will avoid a crash. Also, bikers should be hesitant at intersections when the traffic lights are turning as other motorists may be tempted to run red lights, threatening the safety of a biker who is proceeding on a green light and who is in the intersection.
Your Arizona Motorcycle Accident Attorney
At Abels & Annes, P.C., Our Phoenix personal injury attorneys understand how devastating it can be to be a victim of a bike accident. These crashes can affect an entire family and leave a biker with large medical bills and no way to pay for them. That is why we dedicate our practice to representing accident victims and why we are standing by now to take your call.