May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and with spring in full swing and summer just around the corning, motorcyclists across Ohio are getting ready for the open road.
It can be risky to operate a motorcycle in the presence of cars and trucks, as riders do not have airbags and seatbelts. Additionally, drivers don't often see motorcyclists or understand that they have the same right to the road.
Whether you have been riding for years or are just starting out, it's important to know how to protect yourself on the road.
Preparing your bike for the road
It's a good idea to have your motorcycle thoroughly inspected for safety hazards before taking it out for a spin. Even if your motorcycle has performed well the last time you used it, you should ensure that it is in proper working order.
Always make sure that your tires are inflated and are still in good condition. You should also check on your brakes, handlebars, horn, lights, turn signals, exhaust, and mirrors.
If something appears to be broken or isn't working properly, get it fixed before taking your bike out.
Wearing protective gear
You never want to ride in a T-shirt, shorts, or flip-flops. Without adequate protection, you could sustain road rash, a head injury, or other serious injury in a crash.
Anytime you ride, you should wear a properly-fitted helmet. While only riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet, it's still a good idea to wear one. Motorcycle helmets can prevent crash fatalities by about 67 percent and traumatic brain injuries by 37 percent, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
Wearing the right clothing and equipment will provide significant protection against road rash and other injuries related to motorcycle crashes. Here are the clothes and gear you should equip yourself with before you ride:
- Motorcycle boots
- A leather jacket or heavy denim jacket
- Long pants or jeans
- Eye protection (faceguard, sunglasses, or goggles)
Making yourself visible to drivers
Drivers who don't pay attention to the road often don't see motorcyclists. Visibility can be a serious safety issue for motorcyclists who ride at night.
That's why it's critical to make yourself as visible as possible. Aside from ensuring that your front and rear lights work, you should also add some reflective devices to your motorcycle. Reflect strips or vests can also be worn.
Using good judgment and riding defensively
Using keen judgment on the road is key to staying safe. Drivers can be unpredictable, especially those who appear to be acting recklessly or are distracted by cellphones. Blind spots are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists.
If you're near a driver who seems to be distracted or doesn't see you, try to honk your horn to get out of the way if you can.
Also, be sure to look out for hazardous road defects such as:
- Downed tree branches
- Uneven road surfaces
- Road debris
How can an attorney help me if I was injured in a motorcycle crash?
The majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who fail to fulfill their responsibility on the road. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash due to the careless or reckless actions of someone else, speak to an experienced Ohio attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney Mike Christensen serves clients in the greater Columbus area. He can investigate the cause of your crash and legally advocate on your behalf for a fair financial settlement. To learn more, contact Mike Christensen Law Offices LLC and schedule your free case evaluation.