Every good motorcycle lawyer knows that there is nothing quite like the freedom and thrill of a ride on the open road. Over four million Americans agree, as there are approximately that many motorcycles registered in the United States. Motorcycle riding is popular in large part due to the economic value – cycles cost less than cars and also get better gas mileage. However, while motorcycles represent just 2% of all registered vehicles in the United States, motorcycle fatalities account for 5% of all highway fatalities in a year. Obviously this is partly because a motorcycle, unlike a car, truck or SUV, provides virtually no protection in the event of a crash. Approximately 80% of reported motorcycle crashes and accidents result in injury or death. Comparatively , for cars, trucks and SUV’s that number is 20%. It is essential that all motorcycle riders take safety precautions to heart and practice them absolutely 100% of the time.
First and foremost, your trusty motorcycle lawyer will advise that all riders take a course in how to skillfully and safely operate a motorcycle. Next, protective clothing and equipment is not negotiable. The law requires that you wear a helmet and with good reason. Studies have shown that in a motorcycle crash, the head, arms and legs are most often injured. Protective clothing provides more than just a means of protecting your head, body and limbs – it also offers protection from the elements and a means by which other motorists can see you.
The helmet is the single most important piece of equipment for a motorcycle driver. Helmets save lives as they reduce the extent of head injuries in a crash. Without a helmet it would not be unusual to see brains splattered all over the road. A helmet should fit comfortably and snuggly and fasten onto your head so that it does not get knocked off. Many motorcycles do not have windshields, so protective eyewear is a must. Wind can blur vision and it goes without saying you need your vision to drive the cycle. Eye protection will also protect the eyes from dirt, rocks, insect and other airborne matter. Goggles, glasses, and face shields should be scratch free, shatter proof, and well ventilated to prevent fog buildup. Eye protection is advised even when a motorcycle has a windshield. In the event of an accident, some of the first things your motorcycle lawyer will ask you is if you’ve taken this basic but necessary safety precautions.
The clothing a rider wears on a motorcycle is not a fashion statement. It is about protection from abrasion in the event of tipping over or falling off your motorcycle. Motorcycle lawyers will always advise that clothes of a durable material with reflective properties should be chosen. Jackets should have long sleeves that fully protect the arm and pants should be “straight legged” as flared pants could become stuck in the chain, kick starter or other parts of the sides of the motorcycle. A rider should wear non-slip gloves so that they have a firm grasp on the handles and controls of the motorcycle. In terms of shoes – leather boots are best, but good athletic shoes that cover the ankle are acceptable. Think of shoes that will protect your feet from abrasion or a crushing impact. Sandals, flip flops and shoes with dangling laces are not recommended.
Motorcycle riders must always be aware when they ride, know their limits, and ride within them. They must also be aware of and understand their motorcycle’s limitations and the environment in which they ride. In the event of an accident, contact your motorcycle lawyer as soon as possible.