The arrival of spring and warmer weather often leads to more motorcyclists on the roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists made up 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2016. Of these fatalities, more than half involved another vehicle. As a rider or driver, it’s important to share the road and drive defensively. Stay safe and potentially save a life by following these motorcycle safety tips.
Safe riding tips for motorcyclists
As a rider, you are the most at risk of injury if you are in a crash. These tips can reduce your chance of a crash on the road.
1. Know your bike
As a rider, it’s very important to be familiar and comfortable with your motorcycle. If your bike is new, spend some time getting used to the handle turns, weight, etc. in a controlled environment before you hit the road for the first time. If you know your bike inside and out, you won’t struggle to handle it on the road, which could increase your risk of a crash.
2. Wear a helmet
Helmets save lives. Riders without helmets are 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and 3 times more likely to suffer brain injuries than those with helmets. The NHTSA estimate that helmets saved the lives of approximately 1,800 motorcyclists in 2016. They also found that another 802 lives could have been saved if the riders had worn helmets. Wear your helmet every time you ride.
3. Drive defensively
Motorcyclists are most at risk of serious injury if involved in a crash, so ride defensively. According to a study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, car drivers were at fault 60% of the time in crashes involving motorcyclists. Stay alert and keep a lookout for cars that may suddenly change lanes or turn out in front of you. Give yourself plenty of room to slow down, stop, or switch lanes if needed.
4. Don’t drink and drive
In 2016, 37% of motorcyclists killed in single-vehicle crashes were alcohol-impaired according to the NHTSA. Driving under the influence always makes you a danger to everyone on the roads, so don’t do it.
5. Follow road rules
The easiest way to stay safe on the road is to follow the rules of the road. Follow speed limits, lane markings, and road signs. Don’t tailgate, yield to those who have the right of way, and watch out for others who may not be doing the same.
Motorcycle safety tips for drivers
If you are on the road, it is your responsibility to share it with other drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. Always follow these safety tips for drivers:
1. Check your blind spots
They’re called your blind spots for a reason. All cars have them and motorcycles can be easy to miss if you don’t double-check your blind spots. Before you turn or switch lanes, always double or triple-check your blind spots to make sure a motorcyclist isn’t there.
2. Slow down
If you find yourself driving behind a motorcyclist, slow down and do not tailgate. Follow the 4-second rule to increase your driving distance and give yourself more room to stop quickly. To use the 4-second rule, choose a still object, such as a road sign or tree, and allow 4 seconds to go by between when the motorcycle passes and you pass.
3. Use turn signals
It’s always important to use your turn signal to let others on the road know you intend to turn. When you share the road with motorcyclists, it’s even more important to make sure you communicate your intentions so a rider can prepare.
4. Use caution on left turns
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 44% of fatal motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle occurred when the car was making a left turn and the motorcyclists were going straight. If you are making a left turn, always use caution and check your side mirrors to ensure there isn’t a cyclist (or another car). If you do see a motorcyclist at an intersection, make eye contact before turning.
5. Don’t drink and drive
You should never drink and drive. Drinking and driving, like distracted driving, makes you more of a risk to everyone on the road, especially vulnerable motorcyclists.
Another way you can make sure you are doing your due diligence on the road is to drive and ride with insurance. Get a free online quote and you could save up to 25%.