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Do's & Don'ts of Motorcycle Riding

Michigan summers are some of the best around the country, so it's no surprise that many Michigan residents own or desire to own a motorcycle. Although fun and exciting, motorcycles can also be very dangerous. In 2014, a total of 2,860 motorcycle accidents occurred. Of those accidents, 105 were fatal and 2,075 resulted in an injury. Of those injured, 474 victims had injuries that were so serious that they were left incapacitated. Just knowing the "dos" and "don'ts" of motorcycle safety can reduce your risk of being a victim of a motorcycle accident. By following these tips and tools, you can be a safe rider and enjoy the ride.

DO:

  • Buy a bike that is the right fit for you: Today's motorcycles are fast and powerful. You should choose a bike where your feet rest comfortably on the ground and you are not on your tiptoes. The handle bars and controls should be within close reach, and you should be able to get on and off of the bike easily.
  • Buy a bike that fits your riding plans: If you plan on riding on side and main roads, choose a motorcycle with a 250- to 300-cc engine. However, if you plan on doing a lot of freeway driving, purchase a bike in the 500- to 750-cc range, which will allow you to keep up with traffic.
  • Take a motorcycle riding safety course: Motorcycle safety courses are offered all over Michigan and are essential for new riders and great as a refresher for those that have been riding for a long time or are getting back into riding after some time.
  • Wear proper gear: This includes a helmet, a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, eye protection such as goggles or a helmet visor, and over the ankle boots or similar footwear. Choose items that are made from breathable material and bright colors for your comfort and safety.
  • Quickly check before each ride: Before riding, do a quick check of the lights, horn, and directional signals. You should also check the chain, belt, or shaft, brakes and tires. If it has been several months since you last rode your motorcycle, you should also check the oil and fuel levels, make sure the mirrors are positioned correctly, and lube the chain.
  • Invest in anti-lock brakes: Anti-lock brakes are becoming more readily available and are essential to your safety. ABS helps you retain steering control during an emergency stop, and it can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.
  • Be defensive but respectful of other drivers: Be extra alert to cars-drivers do not automatically look out for motorcyclists. With cell phone use while driving rising, the road hazard for motorcyclists is increasing. Look out for vehicles that are changing lanes, turning, and pulling out of side streets. Do not quickly change lanes or change lanes with little space between you and a vehicle. Use turn and/or hand signals and do not swerve in and out of lanes.
  • Watch for road hazards: Road hazards that may not be an issue for large vehicles can be the cause of an accident for motorcycles. Sand, wet leaves, and pebbles can be problems because motorcycles have less contact with the pavement. Bumps, potholes, and train tracks should be approached slowly and cautiously as well.

DON'T:

  • Push the speed limit or rules of the road: The speed limit and rules of the road are important to keeping you and other drivers safe. Do not speed in and out of cars, and follow all road signs as you would if you were driving a car.
  • Drive intoxicated: Many motorcycle accidents and injuries occur due to alcohol use. Driving sober is just as important on a motorcycle as it is in a vehicle.
  • Tailgate other drivers or be a driving distraction: Keeping a safe following distance is critical, both to ensure you have enough stopping distance and so you have time to react to obstacles in the road. Do not weave in and out of traffic or unnecessarily rev your engine.
  • Drive in bad weather: Rain, storms, and strong wind can make it difficult to keep traction on the road. Furthermore, rain reduces visibility. The most dangerous time to ride is right after precipitation begins, so avoid biking during those times.

If you have been a victim of a motorcycle accident, whether you are the motorcyclist or were in an accident involving a motorcyclist, it is important to speak to an attorney about your rights. Michigan law does not consider a motorcycle a "motor vehicle," so without experienced legal representation it can be difficult for injured motorcyclists and their passengers to collect compensation.

Our Detroit motorcycle accident attorneys have been representing victims for over 30 years, and can help you with the legal process following an accident. Call (248) 793-2010 to get your questions answered with our free, no-obligation case review guarantee and learn why so many bikers have trusted us to handle their claim.