After months of (winter and spring) snow, Wisconsin motorcyclists are finally back on the road again. The weather is great. Why not go for a ride? Unfortunately, the newspapers and television newscasts are dotted with stories about motorcyclists injured or killed in accidents, usually with other vehicles. We’ve seen many of those motorcyclists in our office, dealing with aftermath of a difficult motorcycle accident. While you can’t change the behavior of other drivers (unfortunately), there are steps you can take to prevent a motorcycle accident when you are taking the bike out for a ride.
Make sure other drivers see you.
You can’t always control a driver double checking their rear view mirror, but there are steps you can take to ensure that you are highly visible. Wear bright clothing when riding. Purchase a brightly colored helmet and add a bright reflector to the back of a helmet (usually a piece of bright reflecting tape).
Obviously, you try to drive safe when out for a ride. Take that commitment an extra step by not adding speed and alcohol into the mix, which can increase your chances of an accident.
Wear adequate gear.
As tempting as it may be to head out in shorts and a tank, that decision can increase the chance and severity of injury during accidents. Instead, wear a helmet, goggles (or a helmet shield), long sleeve jacket (with thick fabric for sleeves), long pants, and motorcycle boots.
Purchase a quality helmet.
A quality helmet can be invaluable when an incident causes you to go down; it gives you another layer of protection against brain and head injuries. If you decide to wear a helmet, do you research and purchase a quality helmet that fits properly and can protect you against injury.
Pay attention to conditions and the weather.
Heavy rain can negatively impact visibility for any driver—especially motorcycle riders. Storms can also make roads greasy and impact traction. Watch the news, monitor an app, and a close eye on the sky so you are up-to-date on the weather. Likewise, watch the road closely for sand, potholes, and excessive gravel that can cause an accident.
Take a motorcycle safety course.
A motorcycle safety course can be a real asset for new motorcyclists, and an excellent refresher for experienced riders. Before riding your new bike, search and enroll in a local motorcycle safety course.
Look twice, proceed once.
Statistics show that most motorcycle accidents happen at intersections. Before proceeding across any intersection, slow down and double check for other vehicles. If you have a stop sign, look at each car in the intersection before proceeding. If you do get in accident, do not move your bike until the police ask you to do so (or for safety reasons). Take pictures of the accident scene and consult the appropriate professionals for advice.
Most importantly, drive safe and enjoy the ride!