Rules of the Road for Motorcyclists

Those of you who ride a motorcycle knows the sheer exhilaration of cruising the open road and how much fun it is to get out on your bike the first warm day of spring.

That day has come. Enjoy, but remember -- with great freedom comes responsibility.

The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash.

Experienced motorcyclists know that it takes balance, coordination, and good judgment to be safe on the road. They understand that there's little room for error when riding on a motorcycle and that mental and physical preparation can mean the difference between a safe, enjoyable ride and a potentially disastrous one.

What about those with less or little experience on a motorcycle? Besides taking motorcycle safety classes, there are “rules of the road” – some codified, some not, that need to be followed to reduce a rider’s chances of getting into an accident.

Ride Responsibly

Experienced riders don't take risks. They ride defensively and obey the rules of the road, abiding traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings. They ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between their bike and other vehicles. And, they always check behind their bike and always signal before changing lanes.

The single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns. These collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car. Usually, the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is going straight through an intersection. The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes are caused when other drivers didn't see the motorcyclist.

You can reduce your chances of being hit by proceeding cautiously at intersections and yielding to pedestrians and other vehicles as appropriate. It’s smart to apply reflective material to your motorcycle to increase your visibility. Also, always keep your motorcycle's headlights on, even using high beams during the day.

Wear the proper protection

Motorcycle helmet use saves lives. Helmets should weigh around three pounds, have thick polystyrene-foam lining and sturdy chinstraps. Helmets should be worn, even on the shortest of trips. Plastic face shields on helmets can protect from wind, rain, stones that get kicked up by vehicles. If your helmet doesn’t have a face shield, goggles are a good idea.

Fully protect your arms and legs, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim.

Don’t Drink Alcohol before a Ride

Warm weather means picnics, tailgates, and parties at the beach. It’s way too easy to get caught up in fun at an event. Before going anywhere, make a pledge to yourself and your family that you will not drink and ride. Impaired motorcyclists practice poor judgment, coordination, balance, throttle control, and ability to shift gears. Alcohol reduces reaction time. Even when you're fully alert, it's impossible to predict what other vehicles or pedestrians are going to do. Therefore, make sure you are alcohol and drug-free when you get on your motorcycle.

“Twenty-five percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2016 were alcohol-impaired—more than drivers of any other vehicle type (21% passenger car drivers; 20% light truck drivers; 2% large truck drivers).” -NHTSA

Ride defensively

Remember that drivers have more on their minds, slow, congested traffic, construction equipment, poor road surfaces and so forth. They may be even less likely than usual to take you into full account.

Inclement weather and road surface hazards can force you into taking actions and making split-second decisions with minimal warning.

Work zones present a hazard to all drivers but even more so for motorcycle riders. Cars will be slowing down. Vehicles may be merging or passing. Drivers can be confused and irritated. Many work zone related crashes occur before or after the actual work zone where cars are slowing down and merging or speeding up to resume regular highway travel. All the caution you observe in regular riding should be doubled in and around work zones.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle collision, Casey Law Offices has the experience you need to file an effective claim. We understand the challenges of litigating motorcycle claims, including addressing potential jury bias and the complexities of such injuries. We can explain the specific laws and help you navigate your case. Our personal injury attorneys can fight for the maximum compensation that you will need for medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Tips to Improve Your Motorcycle Crash Claim

Immediately following a motorcycle accident, it is important that you take the necessary steps to protect your claim. Here are some tips on what you should do after a motorcycle accident so you can improve your chances of obtaining a fair recovery.

  • Obtain evidence: You will need photos of the accident, the scene, and your bike
  • Get insurance information from the other motorist and contact information from witnesses
  • Get a copy of the accident/police report
  • Follow your doctor's orders.
  • Don't miss doctor's appointments and follow your doctor's treatment. Too many people either fail to seek treatment or discontinue treatment, which can hurt your claim.

At Casey Law Offices, we have represented many motorcyclists who have been injured in accidents. We help injured victims seeks compensation for damages including, but not limited to: medical expenses including hospitalization and rehabilitation, lost income and benefits, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering. If you find yourself a victim of a motorcycle accident, please call our offices at 414-276-3776.

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