Motorcycle Crashes: How to Avoid, What to do After
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80% of all reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. Although motorcyclists have the same rights as other drivers, it’s important to know and practice motorcycle safety to reduce your risk of a crash, as well as have a plan about what to do after an accident.
How to avoid being involved in a motorcycle accident
Take these precautions to help avoid an accident so you can enjoy riding a motorcycle safely.
Beware of your surroundings
You are much more likely to be involved in an accident if you aren’t paying attention to the road ahead. Motorcyclists are especially susceptible to losing control of their vehicles in poor conditions, like when the road is wet or there are potholes.
You should also be paying attention to other drivers because people driving cars often don’t notice motorcycles.
Don’t drink and ride
Alcohol lowers your reaction time, which doesn’t mix well with riding a motorcycle. If you plan to ride, don’t drink, and if you’ve been drinking, find a way to get home that doesn’t involve operating a vehicle.
Follow speed limits
Many preventable motorcycle accidents occur because riders were speeding. Follow the posted speed limits, and slow down around turns so you don’t lose control of the vehicle.
If you are driving in a congested area where traffic is moving slower than the speed limit, slow to the speed of traffic for safety. Car drivers aren’t looking for speedy motorcyclists, and lane splitting is illegal in Michigan.
Don’t share lanes
It might seem space-efficient to share a lane with another motorcyclist, but this can dramatically increase your chance of an accident. Treat your motorcycle as a car on roads and keep a safe distance away from other vehicles.
Maintain your motorcycle
Ensure your motorcycle is running properly before you go for a ride. This includes checking brake lights and tire pressure.
Improve your riding skills
Being a skillful driver can also make you a safe driver. You can take a motorcycle riding course to hone your skills and learn safety techniques and ways to avoid dangerous situations.
You can also take the time to practice the basics in an empty parking lot. Even having something simple, like the amount you can rely on your front brake at various speeds, can help you avoid an accident.
Be a defensive driver
Cars drivers often don’t look out for motorcyclists, so make sure you’re watching out for motorists to make mistakes. The most common motorcycle accident is caused when a car turns left in front of a motorcyclist; watch the cars ahead of you for telltale signs that they are about to turn left.
Avoid riding in a car’s blind spot. If you can’t see the driver’s face in their mirror, they probably can’t see you. If you’re maneuvering around parked cars, watch out for opening car doors, as drivers often don’t check their surroundings before getting out of their vehicle.
Motorcycles can easily be rear-ended at traffic light stops, especially in low visibility. As you slow to a stop at an intersection, check your mirrors to make sure traffic behind you is slowing as well. If you’re unsure if the driver behind you sees you, flash your brake light by tapping the brake.
Prepare for an accident
It’s best to avoid an accident, but you can still help your future self by preparing for the possibility of getting into an accident. Before you set out, make sure you’re wearing the right safety gear. A helmet is paramount; good head protection can save your life.
Hand and eye protection and jackets and pants made specifically for motorcyclists are also good to invest in. Not only will it help protect you from flying debris, weather, and wind, it also provides a layer of protection against the road in the event that you were to fall off the motorcycle.
You should also invest in motorcycle insurance to help you pay for any medical or mechanical bills you might have due to an accident.
What to do after an accident
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, contact the police so they can gather evidence from the scene. If you are injured, visit a healthcare facility right away. If you don’t go to the hospital directly after the accident, it may be more difficult to get insurance payments for future medical expenses.
You may be legally entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Insurance companies and faulty parties often attempt to avoid properly compensating victims, and it’s often necessary to turn to a motorcycle accident attorney to fight for your rights.
Even if you’re unsure if your accident claims need to be handled by a professional, it’s a good idea to seek advice from an attorney soon after the accident. Start by contacting a reputable law firm that handles personal injury cases, like Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. for a no-obligation consultation.
An attorney at our law firm can advise you of your rights and direct your next steps, even if you don’t have a legal case at the time. This can prevent you from running out of time to file a claim per the statutes of limitations.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. offers a free consultation so you can get the professional advice you need without committing to working with a lawyer. We also take cases on a contingency fee basis, so you’ll only pay for a lawyer who helps you win your case.
Motorcycles are exhilarating modes of transportation, but they can also be dangerous in inclement weather and poor road conditions. Always take safety precautions when riding a motorcycle, and know what to do in the event of an accident.
If you have been injured in an accident and need help getting the compensation you deserve, call Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at (866) 868-3779 to learn more about how we can assist you.