Motorcycle Safety: What You Can Do to Avoid Accidents

Motorcycle riding has become more popular in recent years, appealing to a new group of enthusiasts consisting of older and more affluent riders. A 2012 study found that there were 8.5 million motorcycles on the road and this statistic has likely increased over the last three years. But if you’re not taking the appropriate safety precautions, motorcycle riding can also be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal.

Recent Motorcycle Statistics

In 2013, 4,668 people died in motorcycle crashes, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report. In 2013, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured. Motorcyclists were about 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled in 2012 and five times more likely to be injured. Fatalities among motorcyclists age 50 and older increased from 2011 to 2012 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition to injuries and fatalities, there is a financial burden to society as well. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, $16 billion in direct costs are attributed to motorcycle accidents such as emergency services, medical costs including rehabilitation, property damage, loss of market productivity including lost wages, loss in household productivity and insurance costs, including claims and the cost of defense attorneys.

Local Sacramento Motorcycle Accidents

Sacramento is no exception when it comes to serious motorcycle accidents. One local rider was thrown into the driver’s side window of a truck and died at the scene of the crash. Another man died at the scene in Vacaville when his motorcycle collided head-on with a car. Both collisions had to be investigated to determine the cause of the accidents. Most likely a motorcycle accident attorney had to get involved.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

1. Take a safety course

Taking a motorcycle safety course helps riders understand street safety and potentially avoid collisions for those riders. Safety Center in Sacramento offers a motorcycle training course (MTC) and Intermediate Riding Clinic to instruct riders on street safety at a reasonable cost.

2. Wear appropriate safety gear

Wearing the right apparel can be the difference between life and death. This site provides many safety gear options, such as helmets, gloves, pants and even boots to protect every inch of your body.

3. Be aware of your surroundings

The most common motorcycle accident occurs when a car turns left in front of the rider. This is typically because the car fails to see the rider or judges their speed incorrectly thereby turning in front of the motorcycle rider at an intersection. There are things a motorcycle rider can do such as looking for signs such as a car at an intersection waiting to turn or a gap in traffic near an intersection, driveway or parking lot. In these cases, it’s up to the motorcycle rider to slow down, prepare to brake and be prepared for evasive action.

4. Understand your motorcycle’s braking system and look into ABS brakes

Stopping a motorcycle is more complicated than stopping a car. Motorcycles have separate brakes for the front and rear wheels, and braking hard can lock the wheels and cause the bike to overturn, which obviously can lead to extensive injury. Not braking hard enough can put the rider into harm’s way, such as in the path of an oncoming vehicle. With an anti-lock braking system, a rider can brake fully without fear of locking up. The system automatically reduces brake pressure when a lockup is about to occur and increases it again after traction is restored. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that motorcycles with antilock brakes are 37 percent less likely to be in fatal crashes.

Medical claims related to riders’ injuries were 34 percent less frequent than with bikes that did not have antilock brakes. Because motorcycle riding is a hobby that only seems to grow among motorcycle enthusiasts, it is important to understand the risks involved. Taking a motorcycle safety course, wearing the proper attire, being aware of your surroundings and understanding the mechanisms of your motorcycle are just a few ways to reduce or prevent injury while riding. If you have been in a motorcycle collision or you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a vehicle driver, you should contact a qualified motorcycle accident attorney.

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