Five Motorcycle Safety Tips to Protect Yourself on California’s Roads

Five Motorcycle Safety Tips to Protect Yourself on California's Roads

Driving a motorcycle comes with the perks of speed, low fuel costs, and easier parking, but it also comes with risks. The Insurance Information Institute reports around 5,000 motorcycle-related deaths and over 80,000 injuries each year. Motorcycle safety tips can help keep you from joining these grim numbers and stay safe on the roadways.

California has the highest number of motorcyclists in the country, and the relative frequency of sharing the road with motorcycles makes the state’s drivers more aware of their presence. Since motorcycle blindness is a leading cause of accidents, this increased visibility offers some protection to California motorcyclists. What else can you do to keep yourself as safe as possible?

Check out these motorcycle safety tips before you ride.

Tip 1: Get the Right Gear

Ah! The freedom of the open road is so much more pronounced without the enclosed nature of a car, but it also leaves motorcyclists more exposed to the hazards flying by them. Even if you’re never in a collision, things as simple as an errant rock thrown from the back of a truck can become seriously hazardous when you’re unprotected.

Getting the right gear can provide you with a layer of protection.

  • Helmet: California law requires helmets, and the stats are clear: helmets save lives. The CDC finds they reduce the risk of death by 37% and the risk of head injuries by 69%. Don’t take any chances. Wear a high-quality helmet designed for motorcyclists that meets Department of Transportation safety standards.
  • Eye Protection: Ideally, you’ll wear a helmet with full face protection, but if you opt for one that does not cover your eyes, be sure to splurge for goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris that can cause injury and impair your vision while driving.
  • Protective Clothing: Road rash is a very real threat, and any rider who has suffered the pain can tell you it’s no walk in the park. Get fortified riding pants and jackets to make the burn less likely.
  • Gloves: Your hands are at risk from flying debris and exposure to the elements. Ride with high-quality gloves that keep you safe without impeding your dexterity.
  • Boots: Wearing sturdy boots while riding protects your skin from the heat of your engine while also affording protection in a crash.

Tip 2: Keep Your Bike in Good Shape

Some riders only get the chance to hop on their bike for special occasions. If your motorcycle has been languishing in the garage for extended periods of time, always make sure it gets a tune-up before you hit the road.

Even if you ride your bike regularly, it’s always a best practice to give it a general safety inspection before you head out. Check to make sure that all of the lights and signals are working. Give the tire pressure a check and ensure that there are no signs of damage or loose parts anywhere on the bike.

Tip 3: Pay Attention to the Weather

Don’t just assume a sunny day is going to stay that way. Adverse weather conditions are one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and can quickly turn an easy ride into a dangerous one. Keep in mind the duration of your planned trip and make sure that you’ve checked the weather going to your destination and coming home so that you don’t get caught in a slick spot—literally!

Tip 4: Know Your Own Abilities

Let’s face it, being part of the motorcycle community often means being associated with a daredevil attitude and a rebellious spirit. Whether that’s true or not for your personality, you should never ride beyond your own comfort zone—no matter what your friends are doing. Pick a bike you can handle and make sure that it’s the right size and weight for your body. Don’t take corners at dangerous speeds or attempt tricky routes that you don’t know well without preparation.

Respect the power and potential of the machine you’re sitting on and remember that there’s nothing cool or impressive about sliding your way into a serious injury—or worse.

Tip 5: Ride Sober and Alert

This should go without saying, but riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good idea. It’s also never a good idea to ride while sleep-deprived or overly stressed. The risks of doing so are high for anyone, but they are especially high for motorcyclists who definitely need their full faculties and fastest reaction times.

Motorcyclists are often overlooked or ignored by other drivers, and that means you need to ride defensively with careful attention to what’s going on around you. You can’t do that when you’re tipsy or exhausted. Make sure you’re in the right headspace to ride so that you can keep your wits about you when they’re needed most.

Motorcycle Safety Tips Keep You Driving Longer

Riding a motorcycle can be a very pleasurable and exciting experience, and understanding the added risks and taking precautions against them can help you make the most of it. Take care by being prepared and stay safe to ride another day!

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, one of our skilled motorcycle accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering. Call us today for a free consultation.