It might be common sense that riding a motorcycle comes with grave risk. However, did you know that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash compared to those in a car and they are 6 times more likely to be injured. Fatalities among motorcycle riders have gone up– so is the joy ride worth the risk? We are not trying to scare you from owning a motorcycle, but instead remind you that your safety remains a big problem. Motorcycles can be a fun time– it’s the thrill of the open road and the wind blowing through your hair, the feel of freedom.
Just the Facts
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,985 motorcyclists died and 82,000 were injured as a result of vehicular crashes in 2018. This same study found that in states that do not have universal helmet laws, 57% of motorcyclists suffered fatal injuries. Compare this to 9% of motorcyclists in states that have universal helmet laws in place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that in 2018, there were a total of 41,545 people who lost their lives in motorcycle and automobile accidents costing billions of dollars for deaths and injuries. These numbers don’t just exist without reason. They are here to reinforce our message that you need to abide safety laws, regulations, and suggestions when traveling on your road hog. Riding a motorcycle is more risky than any other form of transportation. Can you think of anything more dangerous than sitting on a vehicle that was naturally designed to fall over?
Tips on Staying Safe
The NHSTA states that when a motorcycle collides with another vehicle, it is typically because the automobile violated the motorcyclist’s right of way. But there are several other reasons that automobiles and other vehicles find themselves in such position, including…
- Due to their small size, motorcycles are hard to see by other drivers.
- The motorcycle’s mobility makes it difficult for drives to anticipate how they will move on the road.
- Driver’s view of motorcycle riders can be obstructed in the vehicle’s blind spots.
- Driver’s are distracted more than ever– smart phones and other technology keep their eyes from being on the road at all times.
So what can you do to protect yourself and help ensure that you make it to your destination in one piece? Adhere to the following motorcycle safety tips…
- Wear a helmet with full coverage as they offer the most protection. A good helmet is an investment in your own life; don’t settle for something cheap. Look for helmet’s with a DOT sticker as they have met the safety standards.
- You want a motorcycle, cool. But you don’t need one of those “cool” supersport bikes. Those come with a driver death rate that is nearly 4 times higher than regular ones. Choose a safer motorcycle that suits you.
- Prior to taking a long trip or one on a bigger road, take the time to become familiar with your new toy by riding it in a controlled area. We suggest taking a motorcycle safety course if you are new to the game or a refresher course if you are an experienced rider.
- Learn the rules of the road and know them by heart.
- Before you head out, check your bike’s tire pressure, tread depth, hand and foot brakes, signal indicators, fluid levels, and headlights. Do not bring a passenger with you if you do not feel comfortable yet. And once you are ready for one, make sure your passenger knows to hold firmly onto your waist or hips and lean closer to you while observing minimal movements.
- Never, under any circumstance, drink or drive. NEVER. Alcohol and other impairing substances impact your judgement. Balance, coordination, control, and a whole lot more. It is not worth the risk.
- Be on the lookout for hazards like potholes, manholes, debris, sand, oil slicks, and anything else that might cause an accident.
- Whether it is sunny or dark as night, use your motorcycle’s headlights as they will make yourself more visible to other drivers.
- Follow the speed limit and stay in your designated lanes. In addition to a DOT approved helmet, wear other protective gear like bright clothes that have reflective strips, full pants and boots that cover your ankles, and goggles or glasses to protect your eyes.
Safest Ways to Enjoy Your Motorcycle
Riding a bike has its own charm. The freedom you feel going down the highway on two wheels, riding against the wind as the miles set behind you. While it can be thrilling, it is also very dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Which is why it is important that you know the safest ways to ride your motorcycle.
- Always Inspect Your Bike Before You Take Off – An easy way to remember all the things you need to check: T-CLOCS. This stands for tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis, and stand. Before you hit the road, inspect all of these bike elements, especially if you plan to ride at high speeds in a race or on the highway. While problems with these may not lead to a serious accident, you will have peace of mind that you will make it to your destination safely, making the journey more enjoyable.
- Don’t Think of Helmets as Optional – They are a necessity and can be the difference between life or death in the event of an accident. Nothing will make you safer on your bike than wearing a helmet. According to statistics, a whopping 85% of deaths due to accidents could have been avoided if the riders were wearing a helmet. It is not worth the risk to put your head, brain, eyes on the line for the thrill of it. So before you take off, put on your full face helmet. Keep the glass on it clean and buckle the strap to ensure it is secure. Strictly abide by the helmet rules in your region.
- Wear the Appropriate Shoes – Perhaps the most underrated safety feature of bike riding is wearing the proper shoes. Riding a bike in your sandals or flip flops might be tempting, but it is also dangerous. Your feet could slip while cruising at full speed resulting in a serious bike slip or accident. When riding your motorcycle, wear proper joggers or motorbike shoes. If you will be driving it at a high speed, get a leather jacket and leg and arm coverings.
- Be Cautious at Intersections – Inspections are where the majority of motorcycle accidents occur. This is because many car drivers fail to look both ways before they make their turn. They also seem to overlook the motorcyclists’ rights. Bike riders must slow down and look thoroughly before you approach the intersection. Ride defensively and do not expect others to be worried about you or your vehicle– you are in control of your safety.
- Remain Focused – While your emotions might not have created as much fear of an accident when riding in a car, that does not hold true for those riding motorcycles. If you feel angry, emotional, absentminded, or weak, you should not ride your bike. These distractions can lead to a severe accident and the injuries could be brutal.
There you have it — the safest ways to ride a motorcycle without wrecking. Speed is thrilling but your safety is the most important. Enjoy your ride– safely.
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Rollins Insurance is an independent insurance agency providing our clients the best prices with the most coverage possible since 2008. We represent multiple A-rated insurance companies to make sure we deliver the most competitive rate packages to our clients in Kentucky and Ohio. We find that most people are under-insured and over-paying when we meet them. We love what we do and our primary business is Personal Auto, Homeowners, and Life and Health insurance. We are a family-owned and managed business that specializes in providing needs-based insurance services.
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