How To Be Safe When Riding a Motorcycle

April 13 2018 | Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • For fun and safe riding this spring, motorcycle riders should choose appropriate safety gear and make themselves clearly visible to other users of the road. In this week’s blog, we’ll discuss how this can be achieved.

    This is the second of two blogs on motorcycle accidents and safety issues

    In 2015, 4,976 people were killed and an estimated 88,000 were injured in motorcycle crashes across the United States. Spring, which marks the beginning of the riding season for many motorcycle riders, can be a particularly dangerous time to be on the road even though the weather conditions seem more favorable. Many accidents, however, can be avoided by taking simple and practical steps. Last week, we explored safety issues related to motorcycle maintenance. This week, we will focus on gear, visibility issues, and DUI laws in Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Always Wear Safety Gear

    While Tennessee has universal helmet laws (riders of all ages are required to wear a helmet), Kentucky does not. In Kentucky wearing a helmet is only required for riders under 21 years of age, new riders (in possession of operator’s license for less than one year), and riders who have a motorcycle instruction permit only. Still, considering that motorcycle helmets can reduce spinal injuries by 50% and that they are about 37% effective in preventing deaths, a helmet in an essential piece of safety equipment for every rider regardless of whether it is mandatory to wear one. Of course, in order for a helmet to effectively protect the rider, it must be well-fitted and comfortable. It should fit snugly enough so as not to move around the rider’s head, but not so tightly as to cause any irritation or uncomfortable pressure. Riders should avoid purchasing a used helmet even if it looks acceptable on the outside. The internal structure of a used helmet might have been compromised in a previous accident, and if so, it will not provide the necessary protection.

    A helmet may be the most important part of a rider’s safety gear but it’s definitely not the only one. Regular motorcycle commuters should also consider the following additions to their set of riding clothes:


    • Gloves – in an accident, you will instinctively try to cover your head or arrest a fall with your arms and hands. Thus, in order to prevent nasty skin and bone injuries, gloves are essential. You should be looking for a pair that fit your hand comfortably and allows for a good grip on the handlebars.
    • Boots essential for preventing lower-leg injuries, like fractures to the ankle or the feet. Look for sturdy boots with a strong sole, covering your leg above the ankle and made of good leather for better endurance.
    • Jacket and trousers – one of the most painful and difficult-to-heal injuries a motorcycle rider can sustain is road rash. If you want to avoid it, wearing protective jacket and trousers, preferably made of good-quality leather, is a must. To protect lower back and spine, you can buy a jacket with full body armor or simply a back protector. While you may find good deals on the Internet, make sure to try on your outfit before buying it. During long rides, uncomfortable clothing will become a nuisance at best and a serious safety issues at worst.


    Make Yourself More Visible

    As mentioned in our previous blog post, one of the biggest safety issues riders need to be aware of has to do with a motorcycle’s size. A small, fast, easily-maneuverable vehicle can be easily missed by the driver of a passenger car. For example, many accidents happen when a car unexpectedly turns left or changes lanes into a motorcycle rider. To minimize this danger, riders should make effort to make themselves more visible on the road. This can be achieved by wearing clothes that stand out. Another way is to make the motorcycle louder – for example, by using a loud pipe. Granted, it may earn you a few irritated looks every now and then but it may be a price worth paying considering that it will also increase your chances of having a safe ride and staying injury-free.

    Never Drink and Drive

    According to data gathered by NHTSA, 43% of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2014 were alcohol-impaired. Both in Kentucky and Tennessee, you are guilty of driving under the influence if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. Additionally, in Kentucky, for drivers and riders under 21, the BAC limit is 0.02%. However, even smaller amounts of alcohol in your blood can influence your motor skills and lead to a dangerous accident. The safest rule to adopt is: never drink and drive.

    Motorcycles can be a fun, efficient, and economical means of transportation. Riders should be aware, however, that they face a unique set of risks. Periodically reviewing motorcycle riding safety tips – such as the ones we mentioned in this and last week’s blog posts, and making sure to apply them, can help riders minimize those risks and stay out of harm’s way not only this spring but throughout the year.

    Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

    If you’ve been injured due to no fault of your own, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today for a free case evaluation.

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