Are Most Motorcycle Accidents Preventable?

Are Most Motorcycle Accidents Preventable?

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Are Most Motorcycle Accidents Preventable?

Motorcyclists enjoy the thrill of the wind around them as they ride, but that same unencumbered experience also leaves riders at risk of serious harm in an accident. Motorcycles have no crash protection features like airbags or seatbelts. In an accident, a motorcyclist may make direct contact with the road or obstacles.

But are most motorcycle accidents preventable? What if a careless driver causes an accident with a motorcyclist? How does a motorcyclist minimize their chances of experiencing an accident?

Using Proper Gear Helps Prevent Accidents and Injuries

Most states have helmet laws, but not all states have mandatory helmet laws for all riders rather than just those under age 18. However, wearing a DOT-approved helmet significantly decreases the chances of death in a motorcycle accident. Helmet use reduces the risk of death by 37% for operators and 41% for passengers.

It reduces the risk of a serious traumatic brain injury by 69%. Wearing tough outerwear while riding reduces the risk of road-rash abrasions in an accident. Bright clothing helps to improve rider visibility to drivers. Even more importantly, accident risk itself is lower when a motorcycle is roadworthy and properly equipped with functioning brake and signal lights. Do a precheck before riding to ensure that all other components are in top working order, especially the brake and steering systems.

Choose the Right Motorcycle

A motorcyclist should always choose a ride that’s within their skill and comfort level and one that’s a good fit. They should be able to physically lift the motorcycle from a sideways position on the ground and be able to comfortably touch the ground or roadway while riding. It’s important to choose a motorcycle that’s appropriate for the type of riding the user plans for it and to choose one that’s well within their ability to control.

Avoid Speeding and Aggressive Driving

Speeding is the cause of most fatalities in motorcycle crashes. Not only does speeding cause greater crash force in an accident, but it also leaves a rider with decreased control, including when steering around curves or maneuvering around obstacles. Speeding requires longer stopping times if a rider has to brake.

Preventing Distracted Driving

Distractions behind the wheel are epidemic among drivers now that our lives and technology are centered around smartphones. While speeding is the most common cause of fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident, distracted drivers are the number one cause of motorcycle accidents.

A motorcyclist may not have control over the behaviors of drivers behind the wheel, but they can protect themselves by remaining alert and vigilant to signs of driver distraction such as a vehicle that’s drifting back and forth out of a lane or a driver with their face turned downward. When stopping at traffic signals and road signs, motorcyclists should always check their rearview mirror to ensure that any vehicle behind them is coming to a stop.

In an intersection, be sure to make eye contact with drivers to ensure they are aware of your presence before you proceed. One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is a driver making a left turn and failing to see a motorcycle approaching from the left because they are focused on the right.

Always Avoid Substance Use and Riding

We get it. Weekends are for riding but they are also for having a few beers with friends. Sadly, the two popular weekend activities do not mix. Each state’s DUI laws apply to motorcyclists just as they do to drivers. Never drink and ride or use mood-altering substances that reduce reaction times and affect judgment.