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5 safety tips for motorcyclists

Posted at 11:40 AM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 19:18:47-05

According to Goodman Acker, statistics show that motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be killed in a crash than those in a car. Most motorcycle accidents are usually caused by the other driver. Under Michigan law, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles, and are treated differently than cars when there’s an accident.

If you’ll be taking your motorcycle on the road anytime soon, here’s what you can do to keep it and you safe.

Go back to school

Sure, you know how to drive a car, but if you’ll be hopping on a hog, you’ll likely need a new license to ride. Most states require either a motorcycle permit or license, or a motorcycle endorsement (on your standard license). Before you take that test (and maybe even after), you’ll want to make sure you know the rules of the road — as a motorcyclist. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles of Michigan, motorcyclists in Michigan should:

  • wear a helmet
  • be aggressively visible by staying out of other drivers’ blind spots
  • make sure his or her bike is running well and the mechanics are in check
  • wear thick, protective clothing and eyewear

Even if you know the rules, a motorcycle safety course will teach you how to handle unpredictable situations and road conditions from the seat of your bike.

Get geared up

Those motorcycle jackets aren’t just about looking cool. Legitimate gear can actually keep you safer on the road. In case of a crash, a good leather jacket can save you from severe road rash.

Also, forgoing a good helmet is practically a death wish. Not only does a DOT-approved helmet give you the best chance of survival in a crash, it also keeps bugs out of your face and, well, just makes you look cool. To get the best protection, forgo the shorts and flip-flops. You’ll want gloves, full pants and heavy footwear.

Keep it maintained

Keeping your motorcycle properly serviced and maintained isn’t just good for your bike, it’s crucial for your safety. Consumer Reports recommends that you keep your bike properly maintained by having the brakes checked regularly, getting frequent inspections and keeping your tires properly inflated.

According to the publication, when tires are underinflated, “handling gets really hard, steering gets hard, and the bike doesn’t want to lean.” Between your scheduled maintenance appointments, inspect your bike yourself to make sure you don’t see any leaks, broken lights or chains or belts that need attention.

Think before splitting

When it comes to traffic, your motorcycle is a lifesaver. After all, everyone’s witnessed that motorcyclist zipping between traffic during the busy morning commute. Lane-splitting (riding between two cars in adjacent lanes) is a common motorcycle practice that seems dangerous in theory. After all, you’re putting yourself at risk every time you enter a car’s blind spot. But a yearlong California study showed that lane-splitting was no more dangerous than riding a motorcycle in general — except at high speeds. When riding 10 mph faster than traffic, motorcyclists are significantly more at risk for a fatal crash. If you’re considering splitting lanes, think before you zip through traffic.

Know who to call

Even the safest motorcyclists are more at risk for an accident than drivers of cars. If you’re involved in an accident, you need an attorney you can trust. An experienced attorney will get the right settlement. Goodman Acker will be on your side. Contact them today if you have questions about how to handle your motorcycle-auto accident.