Vehicle Accident

Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cruising down the road on a motorcycle. The wind whips by, and you can feel the power of the bike underneath you. But, all that power won’t do you any good if you end up in an accident.

At Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, we have seen our fair share of motorcycle accident cases. In fact, according to recent statistics, 3,092 motorcycle crashes occurred just in the year 2020, and of those crashes, 160 were fatal. No rider wants to be on the bad side of the statistics, so it is crucial to understand the necessary precautions you need to take to ensure you ride safely. 

In this article, we’ll cover the top five motorcycle safety tips that our team at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys recommends.

1. Always Wear Protective Gear

Helmeted motorcyclist giving the thumbs up while wearing gloves

You should always prioritize safety over aesthetics, which is why wearing protective gear should be at the top of your list. Put it this way. The fastest human in the world is Usain Bolt, who peaked at 27.78 miles per hour during a 100-meter sprint. There’s no question that Usain Bolt would sustain serious injuries if he fell while running at his peak speed. Now, think about how fast your motorcycle can go, and what types of injuries you could sustain during an accident.

You need gear to keep you safe.  The essential gear you need includes helmets, gloves, plants, ventilated boots, reinforced leather jacket, and pads. How rigorous or padded these items are depends on your riding style. The general rule is that motorcycle gear should fit snugly, not tight. Your gear needs to be comfortable and breathable, but also limit excessive movement. 

For motorcyclists who like to tour, it is necessary to find protective gear that is durable and comfortable for longer periods of time. You wouldn’t want to wear a full-padded suit for a three-day road trip, but you would consider such a set-up for Motocross or rough trail riding. 

2. Choose the Right Bike for You

animated images showing the different types of motorcycles: moped, scooter, roadster, sports, cruiser, touring, scrambler, trial bike, and chopper.

Safety starts from the moment you buy your bike. While it might sound odd, there is no universal motorcycle that’s designed for every rider. You might be dreaming of a gorgeous racing bike, but the truth is, you’re putting yourself in danger if you buy a bike that you can’t handle. That’s why knowing your skill level and handling capabilities is crucial when selecting a motorcycle. When considering a bike, you should look beyond appearance and understand its features as it applies to the type of rider you are.  

If you’re not sure what type of bike is best for you, you should start by researching what types of motorcycles are available on the market. Beginners should avoid sport bikes or motorcycles with extremely powerful engines. 

Next, you want to consider both the horsepower and weight of the bike. Every seasoned motorcyclist will have their own desired power-to-weight balance. Understanding your own preferences will help you make a more informed decision, and ensure that the bike you purchase is comfortable and compatible with your current skill level.

Lastly, you must look for a motorcycle that actually fits you. When seated, you should be able to easily rest both feet flat on the ground beneath you, and the controls and handlebars should be in easy reach.

3. Take a Motorcycle Safety Course

helmeted female student taking motorcycle lessons while a teacher evaluates her in the background

If you’re a beginner, a motorcycle safety course should be built into the cost of purchasing a bike. This will not only help you improve your motorcycle skills, but will also ensure that you’re not a danger to yourself or others when you hit the road. Click here to find a local motorcycle safety course near you.

Additionally, Michigan law requires you to pass a vision, knowledge, and skills test in order to get a motorcycle license. The best way to prepare is to study using the Michigan Motorcycle Operator Manual.

Remember that you had to take a driver’s education course in order to get your driver’s license. Why would a motorcycle be any different? 

4. Obey Traffic Laws

a wide array of traffic signs on a white background

Traffic laws exist to protect you and other motorists. Obeying speed limits and directional signs can minimize your risk of catastrophic injury or accident. 

Nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents occur because a motorist violates a motorcycle’s right of way. Learning to drive defensively means taking extra precautions as you approach corners and intersections. While you might have the right of way and obey all traffic laws, other people might not. A little extra precaution could be the difference between life and death.

Additionally, keep in mind how fast you are going on the road. The faster you go, the more distance you must keep between yourself and other vehicles on the road. When you’re speeding, you have less time to react and less space to safely stop. While it’s not as cool to take it slow, there’s nothing cool about a broken arm or a serious head injury. Slow down and give yourself the time to prevent unnecessary accidents. 

5. Stay in Your Comfort Zone

green road sign with words comfort zone printed on it

Although you may be excited to show off your bike, you should stick to your comfort zone, especially if you’re a beginner. Start by riding your bike around your neighborhood or in an area that you’re already familiar with. This will get you comfortable with handling the bike. 

Once you’re comfortable riding in familiar areas, you can start expanding your route. Always make sure you’ve chosen a route that you can comfortably handle. The more familiar the route, the easier it will be to focus on safe motorcycle riding. 

Additionally, you should always check the forecast before you set out. Rain, wind, and other inclement weather can be detrimental to motorcyclists. If it’s not safe to ride, don’t try to be a hero. Take a car, public transportation, or even a taxi, but don’t ride your motorcycle.

What Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Sometimes, all of the motorcycle safety tips in the world aren’t enough to keep you safe. When that happens, you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Our experienced team at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys has been fighting for injured motorcyclists for over 25 years. 

While we can’t win back your peace of mind, we can help make the recovery process easier. If you’ve recently sustained injuries from a motorcycle accident, contact us today to get started with a free consultation.

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