We’re currently in the midst of the summer season—the ideal time to take your motorcycle for a ride. And you’re not the only one with that idea. Given the increased travel and traffic on the roads during the summer, we have compiled a safety guide for you to have a safe motorcycling season. Read on and ride safely!
Motorcycle Crash Statistics
Given the prevalence of motorcycle crashes, it’s smart for every biker to be knowledgeable and prepared. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017, and, in this same year, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a crash per miles traveled.
Motorcycle crash fatalities have factors in common. The first is that most motorcyclists who die in crashes were not wearing helmets. The NHTSA estimates that helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries for motorcycle riders. In other words, for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets.
Another common factor is the time of day that motorcycle crashes occur. Most motorcycle fatalities (24.4%) occur on the weekend between the hours of 6 pm to 9 pm. Therefore, it’s important for motorcyclists not to ride during this time or to exercise extreme caution when doing so.
Now that we know the key elements that play a role in many motorcycle fatalities, we discuss specific steps you can take to ensure your next motorcycle ride is a safe one.
Motorcycle Safety 101
There are three important areas to master in order to practice good motorcycle safety, including the following:
Any safe motorcycle ride begins with adequate preparation. The type of preparation you must perform depends on the season. For summer, taking the following precautions can help ensure a safe journey on your motorcycle:
Protect yourself from the elements. Make sure to apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun. Additionally, it’s smart to wear a well-ventilated jacket to allow for airflow. There are several types of equipment available made of lighter materials perfect for hot summer months.
Don’t ride when tired. The hot temperatures of summer can dehydrate your body. This can be particularly dangerous if you are already fatigued when heading out. So, refrain from hopping on your bike if you have not gotten enough sleep, feel sick, or are otherwise unwell.
Wear the right equipment. The number one rule of motorcycle safety is to wear a helmet that fits your head shape. There are several different types of motorcycle helmets that have unique benefits including full-face, modular, off-road, half, open-face, and dual-sport. Make sure to choose one that is appropriate for the type of ride you’re taking. It’s also in your best interest to wear earplugs, gloves, and proper footwear to protect your entire body in the event of a crash.
Since motorcycles provide much less protection than a passenger vehicle in a crash, it’s vital that motorcyclists always remain vigilant and practice the following safety measures when riding:
Follow traffic rules. The best thing you can do for your safety is to obey the same rules of the road that cars and trucks do. Additionally, refrain from lane splitting. Lane splitting is dangerous and is only legal in California.
Ride defensively. Nearly two-thirds of motorcycle crashes are caused by a driver violating a motorcyclist’s right of way. As such, never assume that a car or truck’s driver can see you. Make sure to ride with your lights on and never remain in a driver’s blind spot.
Don’t ride under the influence. Riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol not only risks your safety, but also that of everyone else on the road. Just don’t do it.
You can keep your motorcycle in safe working order by storing it properly. Practicing the following measures can improve your bike’s reliability and longevity, particularly during the hot summer months:
Replenish your fluids. Your bike endures extreme heat and stress during the summer. As such, fluids may deplete more quickly than usual. Make sure your engine’s coolant is high-quality and filled to the optimal level to prevent overheating and subsequent damage. It’s also important to check your brake fluid and engine oil to prevent breakdowns.
Do not overinflate tires. Tires expand with heat. As such, the hot summer air and roads can cause overinflated tires to expand to the point they burst. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your bike’s tire pressure.
Clean and lubricate your chain. Extreme heat and dust that occur during summer can cause your bike’s chain to dry up more quickly. Therefore, it’s important to clean your chain more frequently than you do in the cooler months.
Injured in a Motorcycle Crash? Contact Us Today
Even if you follow all of these motorcycle safety tips, other bikers or motorists may not be as prudent. If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash that wasn’t your fault, our North Carolina personal injury attorneys are here to help. We have helped countless clients across the state recover the compensation they need and deserve for medical bills and lost wages after a crash. We’re here to do the same for you.
Contact Lanier Law Group, P.A. at (855) 757-4204 to schedule a free consultation.