Unfortunately, there is nothing motorcycle riders can do to guarantee they will never be involved in an accident or suffer injuries if a crash occurs. There are simply too many factors that are out of their control.
However, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of being involved in a motorcycle crash. Our Baton Rouge motorcycle accident attorneys have compiled a list of motorcycle safety tips to help keep you safe.
If you are ever involved in a crash, do not hesitate to contact our firm to review your legal options.
1. Always Wear a Helmet
This is more than a common-sense safety tip, it is the law in Louisiana. Under Louisiana Revised Statute 32:190, anyone riding a motorcycle on a Louisiana roadway must wear a helmet made for motorcycle riders. The helmet must be secured by a chin strap and have padding, lining and a visor.
Statistics from various organizations show that riders who do not wear helmets make up a large percentage of those who die in motorcycle crashes.
For instance, of the 14,283 motorcyclists killed in crashes between 2008 and 2010, 42 percent were not wearing helmets, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In Louisiana, 21 percent of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2013 were not wearing helmets, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics.
Helmets may not prevent all head injuries if you are involved in a crash. However, a helmet can help ensure your injuries are less severe than they would be if you were not wearing a helmet.
2. Wear Appropriate Clothing
Wearing appropriate clothing and gear can help protect you from road rash, bugs and road debris.
Avoid wearing things like T-shirts, sandals or shorts. You should opt instead for long pants, footwear that covers your ankles and a jacket. If you want maximum protection, wear leather clothing, including a reinforced jacket, boots and gloves. Like helmets, these things may not prevent injury, but they could help make injuries much less severe.
Many riders like to buy dark-colored clothing, but this is a bad idea because it makes it harder for drivers to see you. Try to find jackets and other clothing in bright colors as it makes you more visible.
3. Watch for Debris and Hazards
One of the reasons riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving in a car is that potholes and wet pavement and small debris like sand and leaves can cause an accident. Cars pass over these things and the drivers often do not even notice.
The best way to deal with these hazards is to maneuver around them, as passing over them could cause you to lose control of your bike.
However, it is not always possible to maneuver around an obstacle, either due to traffic, the road being too narrow or the fact that you are turning. In these situations, you need to slow down and pass over these obstacles as slowly as possible with minimal steering.
If you are passing over something like a piece of wood, you need to maintain the balance of the bike. You can do this by shifting your weight backward as your front wheel goes over the obstacle then shifting your body forward as the back wheel passes over it.
4. Practice Defensive Driving
Defensive driving means keeping your attention on the road and being proactive to avoid dangerous situations where accidents are more likely to occur. There are several defensive driving strategies that can help prevent a crash:
- Maintain a safe following distance between your bike and the car in front of you: This will provide you enough time to stop if the car slams on the brakes. It will also give you more time to react to obstacles the car in front of you passes over.
- Avoid other cars’ blind spots: Stay out of drivers’ blind spots because they may not check before changing lanes.
- Use caution in intersections: There is always a risk of cars trying to turn in front of you. Be prepared to slow down or maneuver to avoid an accident, particularly if you see cars turning before you reach the intersection.
- Watch your back when stopping at intersections and stop signs: If you come to a stop at a red light or stop sign, watch behind you, as riders are often rear-ended by cars in these situations. It is always a good idea to stop at the side of the lane rather than the center, as you could avoid being hit by a car’s front bumper.
5. Never Drive While Impaired
Riding a motorcycle while impaired is even more dangerous than driving a car while impaired. Alcohol affects your reaction time and judgment, which are even more important for handling a motorcycle safely.
In some cases, seconds make the difference between a crash and continuing down the road safely. Alcohol could slow your reaction time just enough that you fail to slow down to avoid rear-ending a car or avoid a car that swerves into your lane.
Small errors are magnified when riding a motorcycle, especially considering that small debris, uneven roadways and other seemingly minor obstacles can easily cause an accident.
If you plan on drinking, do not ride your motorcycle. If you are out somewhere, arrange for alternative transportation home, either from a friend or family member or a ridesharing service.
Contact Simien & Simien to Discuss Your Claim
A personal injury can have a devastating impact on many aspects of your life, physically, financially and emotionally.
That is why the law allows injury victims to pursue compensation if their injury was caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness.
The personal injury lawyers in Baton Rouge at Simien & Simien have decades of combined experience obtaining fair compensation for a variety of claims, including motorcycle crashes.
We take cases on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid unless you receive compensation.