With summer around the corner, motorcycle riders across the country are gearing up for long rides, weekend trips, and more time on their bikes. With an increase in traffic and out-of-state motorists, summer creates a number of hazards for everyone on public roadways. Unfortunately, these hazards can be increased for motorcyclists who have virtually no protection when they are involved in auto accidents with passenger vehicles and trucks.
At Justice Law Office. Our legal team is passionate about helping injured victims understand and safeguard their rights after preventable wrecks, including motorcycle accidents that could and should have been prevented. Having handed a number of cases on behalf of injured riders and their families, we know that driver negligence and error is a lead cause. All too often, this negligence is avoidable.
Whether you are a motorcycle enthusiast or simply one of the many motorists who navigate our roadways, it is critical that you understand your rights and responsibilities, and that safety should always been the primary goal when operating a motor vehicle. To help everyone stay safe and reduce risks of preventable motorcycle wrecks these coming months, we wanted to provide a few helpful tips to both riders and drivers.
Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle riders can play an active role in keeping themselves safe, and they would be wise to do so. Motorcycle wrecks commonly result in serious injuries, even in low-speed collisions. Keep yourself safe on a road trip or simple ride on the town with these tips:
- Be vigilant – Motorcyclists know that they can never anticipate that drivers of passenger vehicles will always see them or drive safely. As such, it becomes their responsibility to be vigilant at all times, especially when following vehicles at a safe distance, changing lanes, making turns, and especially when entering intersections.
- Obey the law – Just as any rider would want a motorist to obey the rules of the road in order to keep them safe, they should also obey the law themselves. This means passing vehicles safely and in accordance to local laws, using signals and appropriate turn lanes, and obeying traffic signs. Most importantly, motorcyclists should always ride sober. The NHTSA reports that nearly half of all single-motorcycle wreck fatalities involve a rider who was impaired by alcohol.
- Be visible – Riders should always make themselves as visible as possible when sharing the road with other motorists. Aside from making eye contact to ensure a driver sees you when you intend to enter an intersection, change lanes, or make a turn, riders should always use their turn signals and headlights. Additionally, riders can make themselves more visible, especially at night, by wearing bright and reflective clothing or having bright and reflective gear on their motorcycles.
- Wear a helmet – Wearing a helmet is one of the most important things a person can do when they get on a motorcycle. Use of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets is increasing year over year, and for good reason. Helmets can significantly reduce the risk of serious and life altering injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, and death. Kentucky and other neighboring states may not require experienced and older riders to wear a helmet, but doing so can save your life.
- Check your bike – Before you hit the highways for a road trip or are dusting off your motorcycle to enjoy the nicer weather, be sure to give your bike a thorough inspection. This includes checking all critical safety components, including tires, brakes, signals, and lights.
Tips for Drivers
Drivers are obligated to drive safely, as doing so can reduce risks of preventable harm. By making safety a priority and keeping an eye out for motorcyclists this summer, motorists can do their part in making our roadways safer.
- Treat riders with respect – Motorists need to understand that motorcycles are legal vehicles with all the same rights and responsibilities. This means they have just as much right to be on the road, and should be treated just as any other vehicle would be treated.
- Provide safe distance – Motorists should always provide safe distances when around riders, especially when making turns, following a rider, and entering intersections. Motorists should also follow and pass riders at a safe distance, and ensure they provide a rider with the full lane to themselves.
- Be aware – Motorcyclists are much smaller and prone to being overlooked than regular vehicles, which is why vigilance is crucial. Always scan your surroundings and check all directions prior to making any driving move, including turns, lane changes, and backing up. Because motorcycles can get lost in blind spots, you should never make a driving move without being certain the coast is clear.
- Avoid distractions – Most importantly, motorists should never drive distracted. Texting and using a cell phone substantially increase the risks of accidents, especially when smaller motorcycles are not as visible to a distracted driver. Always make the task of operating a vehicle your only task
Drivers have a legal responsibility to be safe behind the wheel, which means that they can be held accountable in the event they fail to make safety a priority. Remember, even the most vigilant and experienced riders can fall victim to a negligent motorist. When that does occur, injured riders can work with an experienced Louisville motorcycle accident lawyer from Justice Law Office to learn more about the right to financial compensation and what our firm can do to make their legal journey easier.
Speak with our team about your case. Call (502) 822-2230 for a FREE consultation.