Safety First: Sharing the Road
Out of the 32,000 people who died last year on the nation’s roads, more than 4,000 were related to motorcycle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). For motorists, the failure of a driver to see a motorcyclist in traffic is the primary cause for an accident. These Top 3 Tips are preventive measures for motorcycle safety:
Since not all motorcycles are the same, and range from touring bikes to cruisers to sport bikes, the owner’s manual is your new best friend. It will provide the specifics on how to understand and maintain your bike. There are, however, some general basics to follow. The front brake on a motorcycle supplies about 70 percent of the stopping power, which is why it’s important to use it every time you slow down. Also, always apply the front and rear brakes simultaneously. Slow down before you enter a turn, being sure that you look as far ahead, through the turn, as possible. Also, keep your feet on the pegs and grip the gas tank with your knees. Lean with the motorcycle by pressing the handlebar in the direction of the turn and maintaining slight pressure on the handlebar. Regular preventive maintenance is key.
The Right “Gear”
Good body protection can help reduce injuries if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident. This includes protective gear like over-the-ankle boots or shoes with non-skid soles, full-fingered gloves, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long pants (denim or leather), and an appropriate Department of Transportation-approved helmet. Also, keep abreast of the latest in safety courses and certifications. Plus, be sure to have the proper license to operate your motorcycle.
Safety is Paramount
According to the NHTSA, there are some commonalities contributing to motorcycle accidents, which include poor road or weather conditions, lack of awareness of other motorists, failure to understand the limitations of motorcycles or failure to follow speed limits. Before setting out on a ride, be sure to check the tires with a good gauge. In particular, look for surface cuts in the rubber or nails in the tires. Check the controls for any type of stiffness and check the lights including brake lights and headlights as well as turn signals.
If you intend to be the passenger on a motorcycle, be sure the driver goes over some basic safety rules and precautionary tips before you hop onboard. First, always wear a helmet, make sure it fits and that you have secured it properly. To board, extend your right leg over the seat, and then slide up onto the seat. Once onboard, be aware of exhaust pipes, which are extremely hot, and plant your feet firmly on the foot pegs. Place your hands around the driver’s hips, and don’t engage in unnecessary movement while the motorcycle is on the road. Maintaining proper balance while riding is critical to a safe trip.
If you’re a motorist, sharing the road with motorcyclists is important. When on the freeway, keep your eyes open for motorcycles. Most of the time, a motorcycle is closer than it appears, so be careful to judge blind spots and take extra time to check traffic when changing lanes. Also, allow more following distance than with a car or truck, three or four seconds.
When Things Go Wrong
For motorcyclists injured in a crash, medical costs, lost wages and other expenses are common results of the accident. It’s important to seek the advice of an attorney who can explain your rights, the legal ramifications of your situation, and offer help with the recovery of damages. Choose a personal injury attorney who has experience with cases specifically related to motorcycle personal injury. Most attorneys will work with you on a contingency basis, so you will not be required to pay out-of-pocket expenses.
Seek Expert Advice
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys at The Mandell Law Firm are happy to answer your questions and explain your rights relating to motorcycle injury. For more information or to make an appointment at their Northridge office, contact Laurence Mandell at 818.866.6600.