Top 5 Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riders
You take on a great deal of risk as a motorcyclist in California. Motorcyclists are statistically much more likely to suffer catastrophic and fatal injuries in auto accidents than passenger vehicle operators. In 2018 alone, 488 motorcyclists in California lost their lives in traffic accidents. The decisions you make as a motorcycle operator could save your life. Thirty motorcyclists killed in fatal accidents were not wearing helmets, for example, and some were operating their bikes under the influence of alcohol. Ride while following a few safety tips to reduce your risk of a serious accident. If you do get into a motorcycle accident, contact a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney to help you with the claims process.
Receive Adequate Training
Preparation is key to preventing a collision. You must know how to properly control your bike and react to dangerous roadway situations without crashing. Pick a motorcycle that matches your experience level and reason for riding. Inexperienced, incompetent and untrained motorcyclists are more likely to end up in collisions. In California, you must pass special tests and training to operate a motorcycle. You must obtain a motorcycle endorsement (class M) on your driver’s license. You may also wish to enroll in motorcycle safety courses to further decrease your risk of an accident.
Obey Traffic Laws
While on the road, you are subject to the same traffic laws and roadway rules as motor vehicle drivers. You must ride on the correct side of the road, stop at all red lights and stop signs, obey speed limits and other road signs, yield the right-of-way to others when necessary, pass safely, and use your turn signals. Your motorcycle must have all the necessary equipment to make it roadworthy as well, including a seat for every passenger, working brakes, a horn and rearview mirrors.
As a motorcyclist, you may have the right to do things other motorists cannot do, such as lane split and ride two abreast in the same lane. If you choose to lane split in California, do so safely. Safety experts recommend never exceeding 10 to 15 miles per hour over the speeds of surrounding vehicles, and not riding on the line between lanes if the speeds of other cars exceed 30 miles per hour. Do not share a lane with cars, even just to pass. You may only share a lane with other motorcycles.
Do Not Tailgate
A rear-end collision can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Do your part to prevent this type of accident by leaving an adequate amount of following distance between your motorcycle and the back of the vehicle in front of you. Pay attention to the road and surrounding traffic. Prepare to stop your motorcycle at a moment’s notice. Reduce the risk of the person behind you rear-ending you by braking slowly, signaling your intent to turn and lane splitting when traffic comes to a stop. Lane splitting can put you safely between two vehicles rather than in the path of a negligent driver.
Always Wear a Helmet
California Vehicle Code 27803 states that all motorcyclists and their passengers have to wear helmets while in the State of California. It is one of the only states with a universal helmet law. Wearing a helmet can help you avoid a serious or fatal head injury in an accident. It is also wise to wear other types of safety gear, such as long pants, long sleeves, boots, a jacket and gloves. Wearing full gear can help you avoid serious injuries, such as road rash or broken bones. Ear and eye protection are also important.
Never Drink and Ride
Every year in California, a percentage of motorcycle accidents that take the rider’s life involve positive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests. Riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can make it more difficult to safely control a motorcycle. Intoxication can slow your reflexes and impair your judgment. Although the legal BAC is 0.08% in California, it endangers your life to operate a motorcycle after drinking any amount of alcohol. Drinking and motorcycling do not mix. Stay sober if you plan to ride home.