With the warmer weather approaching, more motorcyclists will be getting out to enjoy the fresh air and open roads. While riding can be fun, it can also be dangerous. With May being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, it makes sense to go over some safety precautions one must follow before getting on their bike. Motorcyclists always need to drive carefully to avoid motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle riders suffer more major injuries in accidents than others. It could mean a long road of recovery and mounting medical bills. Hiring a lawyer can help sort through a victim’s legal options.
What are the Risks of Riding a Motorcycle?
There are risks that motorcycle riders encounter that car riders do not. For instance, there is a higher risk toward motorcyclists when they come across debris or other road hazards. Riders are also more prone to severe injuries when involved in accidents. Unlike car drivers, there is no metal frame surrounding them for protection and no air bag will deploy if they hit something. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be killed in accidents than other motorists.
Pennsylvania is one of the top ten states for motorcycle accidents. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported that in 2018, out of all accidents that occurred in the state, motorcycle crashes represented a little more than two percent, however, motorcycle crashes represented more than 14 percent of all fatal crashes.
How Do I Stay Safe Before Getting on My Motorcycle?
Before a person decides to ride on their motorcycle, there are several precautions they should take. Primarily, it is illegal in Pennsylvania to ride a motorcycle without the proper license. To obtain a proper license, one must pass a written test before taking a road test.
In addition, it is wise to check the weather before going out to determine if it is safe to ride. If there is rain in the forecast, it could make for slippery and dangerous roadways. A person may choose to postpone their trip until the weather improves.
It is also important for all drivers to wear a helmet with a face shield to protect them from flying debris or if they get into an accident. A helmet will protect a person’s head from getting a concussion.
Once it has been determined that the conditions are safe to drive and the rider is protected, the next step is to inspect the motorcycle itself to ensure that it is safe. To do that, a rider should check the following:
- Tires: One should inspect them to make sure that they do not have any cracks or bulges or signs of wear in the treads. If there is low tire pressure or defects, a blowout can result.
- Underneath the Motorcycle: Motorcycles can have oil and gas leaks. Making sure no fluid is escaping will prevent trouble during the ride.
- Lights: This includes inspecting the headlights, taillights, and signals. Specifically, test for high and low beams, and make sure everything else is functioning properly.
- Hydraulic and Coolant Fluids: These should be examined on a weekly basis to guarantee that they are at the proper levels.
- Brakes: The most ideal motorcycle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS). This will prevent the motorcycle from locking if the rider must brake hard. This mean it is less likely the person will skid out of control.
Additionally, no one should ever ride a motorcycle if they have had too much to drink or are under the influence of a narcotic.
How Do I Stay Safe While on the Road?
Once out on the road, riders need to practice all safety precautions. The basics include sitting properly on the bike in the center of the seat with both hands firmly on the handlebars, unless signaling. Also, riders should obey all traffic laws and posted speed limits and be cognizant of other drivers and riders on the road. There are other safety measures that riders should follow, which include the following:
- Heavy Traffic: When encountering heavy traffic, riders should maintain their position and avoid maneuvering their way around it. Riders tend to stick to the left lane, so they need only worry about drivers on their right.
- Debris: Rider should be wary of any debris or obstacles on the road as they can prove more hazardous to motorcyclists than others.
- Visual: If it is dark outside, riders should wear reflective material on their clothing, such as a vest or tape so that they are visible to other drivers.
- Focus: No matter what is going on out on the road, riders must pay attention and watch their fellow riders and drivers. They should also give everyone adequate space and also signal ahead of time before changing lanes or making turns.
What Should I Know About the Laws in Pennsylvania?
The laws pertaining to motorcycle riders differ state-by-state, and another safety precaution is to know the law in the state a person is riding in. What might be legal in one state, may not be legal in another. For instance, in Pennsylvania it is illegal for motorcycles to lane split. This is when a motorcycle will ride in between two lanes of traffic. Other rules include:
- Motorcyclists cannot ride more than two abreast in a single lane.
- The person operating the vehicle must use the permanent and regular seat attached to the motorcycle. They can not carry a second person unless the motorcycle is designed for it.
- No one can operate a motorcycle while carrying something that prevents the rider from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
Additionally, motorcycles must have insurance, but it is up to them if they wish to carry no-fault insurance or fault-based insurance. Under the former, no one is held liable for an accident and all claims go directly to the insurance. Under the latter, someone could be held liable and forced to pay for damages. For help with a claim after an accident, an injured motorcyclist should speak to a lawyer.
Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. Protect the Rights of Injured Motorcyclists
While riding your motorcycle can be fun, there is a significant danger associated with it. A Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. can help you after a motorcycle accident. Call us at 412-765-1888 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.