Riding a motorcycle can feel like flying. It can get the blood pumping in your veins and adrenaline levels high. It can be one of the most liberating and thrilling experiences you can have in life. There is nothing between you and the wind in your face; it presses against your body, making your jeans and t-shirt flap like patriotic flags. There are no restrictions like seatbelts or sight-obstructing objects like dirty windows. You truly feel free, that is, until a car hits you and the feeling of flying becomes a reality. Knowing how to navigate in traffic is a vital skill to have if you plan on riding a motorcycle.
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle riders are 25 times more likely to experience a fatal accident on the road than those in passenger cars. The stakes are too high to be reckless or ignorant of simple street smarts.
According to motorcycleaccident.org, “42 percent of two-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle.” Simple techniques and habits acquired through study and practice can mean the difference between waking up in the morning and sleeping forever. Consider carefully the following safety tips.
Seven Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riding in Traffic:
- Vigilantly Watch Other Drivers
- Never Get Between a Rock and a Hard Place
- Show Your Colorful Side: Be Noticed
- Scrutinize the Surface
- Ride in the Open
- Maintain More Than One Way Out
- Use Others as Shields
The simple act of watching drivers’ heads and mirrors can dramatically increase your chances to avoid an accident by giving you foreknowledge of what the driver is going to do next. If a driver is looking over his/her shoulder, they are probably anticipating a lane change. Make the appropriate maneuvers to avoid getting hit. This goes for all anticipated motorist movements.
A huge mistake motorcyclists make is getting between two hard objects. This could be a car and a truck, a car and a jersey barrier, etc. Be aware of your surroundings and never allow other vehicles to box you in.
Wear bright colors. Keep your lights on every minute you ride. Use reflectors. Anything that is flashy and bright will keep you safer and will get you noticed.
Motorcycles are especially susceptible to losing control due to road divots, loose gravel, uneven pavement, cracks, etc. By keeping your eyes on the road, continually scanning for dangers, you will have a higher chance of maintaining control of your bike.
As stated above, don’t allow yourself to get boxed in by other vehicles. Riding in open areas allows for ‘room for error.’ As a bipedal machine, your bike needs room to go if debris or other obstructions are in the road. Also, motorcycles at high speeds, by design, need room to navigate; each turn is accomplished by leaning into it, hence the need for open space.
Again, as stated above, don’t get boxed in by other cars. Always maintain an escape route. You never know if the vehicle in front of you will slam on their brakes or not or if the mattress poorly tied to the truck in front of you will get launched into the air, landing in your path. Always have a way out.
Because of the slender nature of a motorcycle, there is an inherent need to use other vehicles as shields. This simply means that you strategically place other vehicles between your bike and any oncoming danger. After all, they have a metal cage protecting them, not you.
If Injured Call a Motorcycle Injury Lawyer
If you do get injured in an accident that was caused by another vehicle, get the best motorcycle accident lawyer you can find, which simply means, an attorney with a long record of winning motorcycle accident cases, one who will treat you like an individual and not a number, and one that works on a contingency fee basis (you don’t pay anything until they win your case for you).
Ultimately, ride smart, watch out for yourself, and have a good personal injury lawyer in your pocket just in case.