Riding a motorcycle comes with risks. In 2014, motorcyclists were killed 27 times more frequently in crashes than other drivers. But there are steps you can take to make riding safer. If you ride a motorcycle or are considering buying one, here are some tips to stay safe on the road.
- Wear bright colors.
Black is the color of choice for many bikers, but it can make motorcyclists nearly invisible on the road. Riding conspicuously means riding safely. When choosing riding gear, opt for bright colors like red or yellow instead of black.
- Proceed through intersections with caution.
Intersections are particularly dangerous to motorcyclists. Drivers sometimes make careless left turns and pull out in front of motorcycles, causing a T-bone accident that could be fatal to the rider. Because of this, motorcyclists need to be extra careful when going through intersections. Keeping your headlights on at all times, even during daylight hours, will help keep you visible to oncoming traffic. Stay in the most visible lane position, usually near the middle of the road, and be ready to brake suddenly as you move through the intersection.
- Avoid speeding around corners.
Taking a turn too quickly can cause a rider to lose control and fall off the bike. This is often a problem for new riders, but even experienced riders can fall due to speeding around turns.
- Pass vehicles quickly and with care.
On a motorcycle, you’re much smaller and harder to spot than other vehicles on the road. This can make passing dangerous, as drivers may not see you when you’re in their blind spots. Give drivers plenty of time to see your turn signal before passing, and double-check the passing lane to make sure it’s clear before you move. As you pass, stay in the middle of the lane, where you’re most visible, and move through the driver’s blind spots as quickly as possible without speeding.
- Stay vigilant while being passed.
When another vehicle is passing you, stay in the center of the lane to avoid blind spots. Also be prepared for a gust of wind from the passing vehicle and look out for obstacles such as large mirrors that could hit you or trash thrown out of windows.
- Position yourself safely in heavy traffic.
Heavy traffic makes it difficult to avoid blind spots. Ride in front of or behind other vehicles, not side-by-side, to make yourself visible. Remember that lane-splitting is legal only in California.
- Communicate with passengers before riding.
Make sure passengers wear as much safety gear as you do, including a helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots. Tell your passengers to sit forward, hold your waist, use the footrests, and lean into curves as you do. Also, keep in mind that the weight of a passenger will make the bike slower to respond, so drive slower and be especially cautious.
- Avoid uneven surfaces.
Riders need to pay close attention to the road ahead to avoid obstacles like potholes or roadkill. Some uneven surfaces, such as railroad tracks and speed bumps, can’t be avoided. Try to ride over these obstacles straight on, not at an angle. As you approach the obstacle, slow down and lift yourself off the seat slightly. Then stay on the gas as you cross to keep control of the bike.
You can find more motorcycle safety tips on our blog and in these articles:
- 10 Biggest Dangers to Motorcyclists on the Road
- Biggest Dangers to Motorcyclists
- Handling Dangerous Motorcycle Situations
Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Advocate for You
No matter how carefully you ride, accidents are always a possibility. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a motorcycle crash, we can help you receive compensation. Contact our motorcycle accident attorneys online to schedule a free case evaluation or call us at: