Motorcycles are a helpful and thrilling form of transportation. But it’s also true that motorcycles have a higher likelihood of collision than automobiles – according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “for every mile traveled, motorcyclists have a risk of a fatal accident that is 35 times higher than a car driver.
This article will provide some helpful safety information for motorcyclists, to ensure you stay safe and protected while on the roads (and to prepare you for what to expect in case of an accident).
Motorcycle Inspection Checklist
The first thing you can do to set yourself up for success on the roads is complete a robust safety inspection of your motorcycle and equipment before taking off. Many potential safety issues can be spotted as a result of regular inspection and familiarity with your bike.
Some of the areas of your motorcycle that you should conduct a visual and physical inspection of before riding include: the tires, the lights and electronics, the oil and fluids, the handlebars, and the frame. Review the list before for detailed instruction for a pre-ride motorcycle safety inspection.
- Check Tires – Make sure each tire has proper pressure, and tread is in good condition to prevent skidding or sliding, especially in inclement weather.
- Check Electrical Components – Make sure all electrical components are functioning properly, including lights, electronics and switches. This is a simple check that can and should be done before every ride.
- Check Fluids – Ensure proper fluid levels are being maintained, including: engine oil, gear oil, hydraulic fluid, coolant, and fuel. Regular maintenance and routine check ups are the best way to keep a consistent eye on fluid levels. Also, be sure to check for any leaks.
- Check Handlebars – Spend a few minutes to check throttle response, levers and pedals and the brakes.
- Check Frame – Check regularly for potential damage.
- Check Chains and Belts – Ensure chains and belts are tight. It may be best to get some professional eyes on these every once in a while if you don’t feel comfortable or confident checking them yourself.
Motorcycle Safety Gear
In addition to regular safety inspections of your motorcycle, ensuring you are wearing proper safety gear can help protect you on the road and minimize potential injuries. Motorcycle safety gear is not something to skimp out on (or ever go without). Here are the core elements of motorcycle safety gear you must have.
A helmet is a necessary element of motorcycle riding, and more so, they are legally required in almost ever state. In fact, there are only three states that don’t have helmet laws: Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire.
There are three different kinds of helmets to choose from. They all provide protection (some more than others), but here are the main differences:
- Full face helmet – As expected, a full face helmet provides the most protection of your head and face, including protection at the base of the skull.
- ¾ face helmet – The next most protective option, a ¾ face helmet offers similar coverage to a full face helmet, but with less facial coverage (specifically in the chin and face area).
- ½ face helmet – The least coverage is provided by a ½ face helmet, which covers the top of the head, but zero coverage of the face. If you choose this helmet style, you will likely also have to wear glasses or goggles to protect the eyes and ensure visibility while riding.
It’s also imperative to choose proper clothing and “gear” for motorcycle safety. Below are some of the most highly recommended motorcycle clothing pieces and how they help keep you safe.
- Jacket – Wearing long sleeves is a must for motorcycle riders, but it’s an even better choice to wear a jacket that provides more padding and physical coverage. Leather and synthetic jackets are both great options here, and will help protect you from cuts and scrapes in moderate accidents.
- Pants – For the same reason, long pants are also necessary. Motorcycle riders will find many options for material types for pants, such as textile, leather, and kevlar. Jeans are not always a great choice for protection or visibility. Ideal motorcycle pants should combine elements of protection, visibility, and ventilation.
- Full Body Suit – Another high safety option for riders is a full body suit. This option may be best for the rider who isn’t getting off the bike for lots of starts and stops (e.g. stopping for a meal), as a full body suit is more difficult to remove than a 2 piece option. There are many great options for both one and two-piece suit sets for motorcycle riders.
- Boots – Boots are the ideal form of footwear for riding a motorcycle. Be sure to get proper boots that are well built for riding (include ankle protection, limited flexing, and firm grip on the bottom).
- Gloves – Gloves can offer additional protection in case of a fall, as well as improve grip while riding. Gloves are very often overlooked as necessary safety gear for motorcyclists, so be sure to include them in your list.
- Body Armor – Perhaps the safest option for motorcycle riders is to invest in body armor to wear while riding, which features additional padding and impact resistant material that can be used in combination with pants and jackets.Body armor adds extra protection to the waist, chest, back, shoulders, and elbows.
The Ruiz Law Firm Can Help You As A Motorcycle Attorney
Unfortunately, even with a diligent motorcycle pre-ride checklist and the best motorcycle safety gear, it’s never assured that you won’t get into an accident. Be sure you are prepared in case of a motorcycle accident and visit our motorcycle practice page for some helpful tips. And, if you are in need of a motorcycle accident lawyer, contact us today – we’d love to help you.