Motorcycle enthusiasts in states where the weather is warm for the majority of the year consider themselves lucky to be able to ride as often as they want. Unfortunately, such riders are at a greater risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident due to the increased amount of ride time. Motorcyclists have the advantage of experiencing a solo journey and feeling closer to nature, but they are also one of the most vulnerable motorists on the road.
While motorcycles have been around for well over a century, they still remain one of the most “unseen” vehicles on U.S. roadways.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, 34,000 motorcyclists were killed and 1,222,000 individuals treated for non-fatal motorcycle-related injuries between 2001-2008. Additionally, 4,502 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in 2010 and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projected 5,000 motorcycle deaths in 2012.
How To Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in California
Motorcycle accidents have been proven to be dangerous and fatal, but often it’s up to the motorcyclist to stay out of danger and decrease the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Responsible motorcyclists are willing and able to share the road with other motorists and follow the “rules of the road”. By making simple adjustments, a motorcyclist can prevent or decrease the chances of being injured or killed in an accident.
- Safety First: Whether you are a veteran motorcyclist or are merely considering buying your first motorcycle, motorcycle safety is the first and most important step in preventing an accident. Helmets and protective gear cannot prevent an accident on their own, but they can prevent an injury if you are involved in an accident. Too many lives have been lost because a motorcyclist simply didn’t want to wear a helmet. According to NHTSA, 706 unhelmeted motorcyclists would have lived had they worn helmets in 2010.
- Know How to Ride: Motorcyclists make riding a motorcycle look easy and effortless and many new riders fail to learn everything they need to know. Enrolling in a motorcycle safety course can teach you everything you need to know including how to ride defensively and prevent accidents. Motorcycle courses are good for all motorcycle riders, new and experienced. Additionally, in order to prevent a motorcycle accident, all riders should have a valid motorcycle license. Knowledgeable riders have a tendency to ride more responsibly.
- Watch Other Motorists: Drivers tend to pay less attention to the road and fellow motorists than motorcyclists do. Out of habit, drivers expect to see cars, but not motorcycles. As a motorcyclist, it’s up to you to be seen. Wearing brightly colored clothing can be helpful, but it’s usually not enough. Motorcyclists should ride as if every driver will make a dangerous move at any moment. Ride defensively and make your intentions clear (ie. such as turns and lane merging). Motorcycle accident prevention relies on responsible motorcyclists who know how to navigate and share the road with drivers.
Motorcycle accidents may always, unfortunately, remain a prevalent issue on U.S. roadways. However, if more motorcyclists make a commitment to ride responsibly and legally, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents could decrease dramatically.
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