As warmer temperatures tease across the nation, millions of Americans itch to at least temporarily replace their daily rides with two-wheeled varieties. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are nearly 8.5 million motorcycles registered nationwide and Michigan accounts for approximately 250,000 of them. For many people, riding a motorcycle provide a unique experience and freedom that their daily transportation options simply can’t begin to match. When safety is prioritized, those experiences can be enjoyed for an entire lifetime. But some riders tend to push their limits and a motorcycle accident is often the result. Fortunately, there are some crucial yet simple safety tips to ensure everyone can share the road in harmony and get back in one piece.
Choose the Right Bike
According to the American Motorcyclist Association, 93% of their members are male and almost 80% of motorcycle usage is for on-road treks. That pretty much guarantees a lot of testosterone-fueled adventure seekers will be sharing local highways. A lot of new or inexperienced riders make the mistake of buying too much bike for their britches. But you’re not going to look like an Easy Rider if your feet can’t touch the ground or if you can’t control your machine. Consider your skill level, where you’ll be riding, and the bike’s handling prior to making a bad purchase that could ruin everyone’s fun.
Gear Up, Buttercup
Leather jackets, gloves, and boots aren’t just cool fashion accessories. The special gear also helps keep motorcyclists safe and comfortable during their ride. Bright colors make the rider more visible to other motorists. Heavy materials such as leather keep wind and road debris from whipping or cutting into the skin. Good gloves and boots can keep you warm and dry during early or late hour rides or during inclement weather conditions. And while Michigan allows motorcyclists to decide whether to wear a helmet for themselves to some degree, it’s essential to know the age and medical coverage limitations of that law prior to heading out.
Expect the Unexpected
You can never control another motorist’s behavior, so your safety is in your own hands once you’re on the road in any type of vehicle. While it’s lovely to see the best in people, it’s often safer to assume the worst in other drivers’ abilities–or at least assume you’re always in their blind spot. Never just assume a driver sees you merge or switch lanes and keep a preventative position so you can get off the road quickly in case of an emergency.
Opt for a Defensive Strategy
Adding on to the above, adopt a defensive driving strategy when on your motorcycle. Sure, your bike can probably whip between cars and speed out of traffic jams. But doing so adds to the risks of having a motorcycle accident. Instead of being a hot shot, give plenty of room between vehicles, follow speed limits and road rules, and watch for hazards such as gravel, bad drivers, and pedestrians.
Distracted driving is a triple threat because it can include visual, cognitive, and manual distractions. It’s just as easy to answer a cell phone or text on a motorcycle as it is in a car. Turn the hand-held technology off until you get to your destination or can pull over. Avoid fiddling with radio controls or GPS adjustments when driving. And keep your eyes on the road as opposed to the flashy sports cars as you fly by. Implementing the right safety protocol can lower your chances of needing to call a Michigan motorcycle accident attorney.