May is motorcycle safety month.
In the past, we’ve published articles on how other motorists can share the road safely with motorcycles. In this article, we focus on the motorcycle rider and how he/she can keep themselves safe on the road.
Thinking of buying a motorcycle and hitting the open road? Before you do anything, get formal training. And, remember to keep your skills honed by taking refresher courses throughout the time you own a bike and ride regularly.
Start slow and practice your riding techniques before driving in heavy traffic. You should know how to handle your bike in all types of conditions – slick roads, sand or gravel, high winds or uneven surfaces.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers these general guidelines for riding a motorcycle safely:
- Remember that motorists often have trouble seeing motorcycles and reacting in time.
- Make sure your headlight works and is on day and night.
- Use reflective strips or decals on your clothing and on your motorcycle.
- Be aware of the blind spots cars and trucks have.
- Flash your brake light when you are slowing down and before stopping.
- If a motorist doesn’t see you, don’t be afraid to use your horn.
Dress for safety:
- Wear a quality helmet and eye protection.
- Wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet.
- Wear leather or other thick, protective clothing.
- Choose long sleeves and pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Remember – the only thing between you and the road is your protective gear.
Apply effective mental strategies:
- Constantly search the road for changing conditions. Use MSF’s Search, Evaluate, Execute strategy (SEESM) to increase time and space safety margins.
- Give yourself space and time to respond to other motorists’ actions.
- Give other motorists time and space to respond to you.
- Use lane positioning to be seen; ride in the part of a lane where you are most visible.
- Watch for turning vehicles.
- Signal your next move in advance.
- Avoid weaving between lanes.
- Pretend you’re invisible, and ride extra defensively.
- Don’t ride when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Know and follow the rules of the road, and stick to the speed limit.
Know your bike and how to use it:
- Get formal training and take refresher courses.
- Call 800.446.9227 or visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to locate a hands-on RiderCourseSM near you.
Remember the number one rule – Give Yourself Space.
People driving cars often just don’t see motorcycles. Even when drivers do see you, chances are they’ve never been on a motorcycle and can’t properly judge your speed.
Casey & Devoti is a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm. Together Partners Matt Casey and Matt Devoti have nearly 40 years of trial experience. They handle a variety of personal injury matters, including: car, truck and train accidents, victims of impaired and distracted driving, medical malpractice and birth injuries, product liability, slips/trips/falls, elder care and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation, and wrongful death. Matt and Matt proudly serve clients throughout metropolitan St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, call the office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (314) 421-0763.