Due to the lack of external protection, a motorcyclist who is involved in an accident may suffer serious injuries such as brain damage, paralysis, road rash and broken bones. Fortunately, there are many safety tips that riders can follow to help prevent serious injury.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Then, contact a skilled Harrisburg motorcycle accident attorney from Schmidt Kramer for assistance with your legal claim. We can investigate your accident while you recover from your injuries.
Some of the ways that motorcyclists can prevent or minimize injury include the tips below.
1. Get a Motorcycle License
Motorcycle riders are required to have a special Class M (motorcycle) license if they are to operate a motorcycle legally. In Pennsylvania, you must do the following to get a Class M license:
- Apply for a learner’s permit.
- Take a vision screening test and motorcycle knowledge test.
- Once you pass both of those tests, you will receive your learner’s permit.
- Complete 65 hours of supervised riding.
- Apply for your motorcycle license.
Once you have your motorcycle license, you will be fully prepared to ride safely and legally on the roadways in Pennsylvania and across the country.
2. Wear the Right Gear
In case of a crash, a helmet can protect your most important organ: your brain. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries and 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities in motorcycle accidents.
Helmets approved by the Department of Transportation are your best option, as they have been tested and comply with safety standards. Try on the helmet to make sure it fits well. It should cover most of your head and not be too tight or too loose. Helmets with a front visor can help protect your face from road debris.
Bikers and their passengers should also wear additional protective gear including:
- Leather gloves
- Closed-toe shoes with rugged soles
These pieces of clothing can help protect your skin, and the shoes can protect your feet from the exhaust and other hot parts of the motorcycle.
3. Stay Focused
Distracted driving is dangerous for all drivers, but it is especially dangerous for bikers. It is critical for your own safety and that of others to stay laser-focused on your surroundings while riding. A rock or dip in the road may have little effect to other motorists, but it can lead to a deadly accident for a motorcyclist. Taking your eyes or hands off of your bike can compromise your ability to steer and handle your bike properly.
Motorists in passenger vehicles may not look for bikers and may pull out in front of them, so it is important that bikers be able to react quickly to danger.
4. Maintain a Safe Distance
It is important that bikers leave enough space between themselves and the vehicles in front of them to brake suddenly if necessary. Motorcyclists may also share a lane with another biker when traveling together, so keeping a substantial distance between yourself and others on the road can help you avoid dangerous situations.
It is also important to allow extra space between yourself and parked cars along the road while riding. If there are cars parked along the side of the road, try to stay as far to the left of your lane as possible. If there is oncoming traffic, stay in the center of your lane, but be ready to move away from a car door that is opening in front of you.
5. Always Use a Turn Signal
Using turn signals on your motorcycle will alert other drivers to your intentions. You can also use hand signals, including:
- Left-hand turn – Extend your left arm out straight sideways with your fingers extended
- Right-hand turn – Extend your left arm out sideways, and bend the elbow at a 90-degree angle while pointing your fingers upward
- Slowing or stopping – Extend either arm out sideways and bend the elbow at a 90-degree angle while pointing your fingers downward
6. Never Drink and Drive
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 43 percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle accidents in 2014 were considered alcohol-impaired. Avoiding alcohol before getting on your bike is a simple way to prevent a crash.
7. Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
Motorcycle safety courses provide you with the knowledge and skills to safely handle your bike. They teach you about safety laws that apply in Pennsylvania and give you the knowledge of what to do in case of an emergency.
A motorcycle safety course can also give you an opportunity to try out new skills while in a controlled environment so that you do not hurt yourself or others. You can receive important feedback from an experienced instructor and learn about proactive ways to protect yourself and maintain your bike.
Contact a Harrisburg Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle crash, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can help protect your rights while you are recovering from your injuries. We are experienced at representing motorcycle accident victims and are well-acquainted with the serious medical conditions and recovery process involved in these types of accidents.
For more than 20 years, the legal professionals at Schmidt Kramer have helped motorcycle accident victims obtain compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. We offer a 100 percent free consultation to discuss your claim and your legal options. We only get paid if we can help you recover compensation, so there is no risk to you.