Learning how to avoid suffering serious injuries while riding a motorcycle is no easy task; even if you are extremely safe, you can't count on others to do the same. California has the largest number of motorcyclists in the nation: according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, over 800,000 motorcycles are registered in the state.
The majority of registered motorcycles are in southern California. Despite their popularity, motorcycles can be dangerous and result in serious accidents or even fatalities for operators, passengers and other motorists.
Be Aware of the Dangers
According to statistics provided by the Statewide Integrated Traffic Record Systems date, California motorcycle fatalities have increased 175% in the last decade, rising from 204 in 1998 to 560 in 2008. In 2013, motorcyclists were killed 26 times more often than drivers and passengers in vehicles.
Wear a helmet
Under California Vehicle Code Section 27803, all motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards at all times. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 requires that all helmets have:
- A thick inner liner
- Riveted chin straps
- Weigh at least three pounds
- Protrusions less than two-tenths of an inch from the shell
Failure to wear a helmet, including failure to have helmeted passengers, is punishable by a fine.
Follow these tips
In addition to wearing a helmet, there are several safety precautions you can take to ensure that you are safe on the road. These include:
- Be alert
- Exercise extreme caution
- Understand and obey all traffic laws
- Conduct regular maintenance & inspections of your bike
- Complete a motorcycle safety course
- Comply with speed limits
- Maintain a safe distance from other motorists
- Avoid blind spots in other vehicles
- Wear appropriate clothing
- Abstain from alcohol and other substances that may impair your reflexes or judgement
Motorcyclists should be alert and exercise extreme caution while operating their motorcycles: a good rule of thumb is to assume that all other motorists, including other motorcyclists, cannot see you and therefore utilize defensive driving. Avoiding blind spots in other vehicles, especially large trucks, is also important as you want to be as visible as possible to avoid accidents. You should also obey all traffic laws at all times.
Make sure you know all the proper signaling and indicating gestures and use them when needed. Avoid exceeding the speed limit and maintain a safe distance from other motorists to ensure that you have plenty of time to stop. Many motorcycle safety courses are offered throughout California and are helpful for novice and experienced riders alike.
Alcohol and drug use can greatly increase your chance of accidents and should be avoided. You should also wear appropriate clothing: long-sleeved shirts and pants help reduce the risk of road rash, while closed-toe shoes prevent operating accidents. Finally, regular inspection and maintenance of your motorcycle ensures that all safety features are fully functional.
Assistance following a collision
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident where the other party is at fault, an attorney can help you avoid post-accident mistakes and recover compensation for your accident including:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Those who would like to obtain a free case evaluation for their motorcycle accident can call Timothy J. Ryan & Associates at (800) 838-6644 or fill out or contact form to get help today. We provide free consultations and a No Win No Fee promise and have helped to recover over $1 billion in damages.