With motorcycle crashes on the rise, particularly throughout Southern California, it’s becoming more important than ever to stay safe while on the road.
According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, motorcycle collisions and fatal crashes increased by 23 percent between 2003 and 2012. As a populous area, Orange County often ranks near the top of California regions when it comes to motorcycle-related injuries.
As a Costa Mesa motorcycle accident attorney’s office, we frequently deal with injuries related to motorcycle crashes. Often, these crashes are no fault of the motorcyclist — in many cases, other road users simply make a mistake, drive dangerously or are unaware of road conditions.
While some accidents are unavoidable, you can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in an accident by taking several steps to keep yourself safe while on your motorcycle.
Below, we’ve listed five injury prevention tips based on years of assisting motorcyclists to pursue legal action after accidents. Whether you’re an everyday rider or a weekend warrior, it’s worth keeping these tips in mind — in an accident, they could reduce the risk of major injuries.
Ride within the speed limit
It should go without saying, but it’s important to ride your motorcycle within the speed limit. A large number of serious motorcycle accidents involve speeding, including a disproportionate number of fatal road accidents.
As tempting as it can be to push your motorcycle to its limits and enjoy its performance, doing so can be extremely risky. Violating the speed limits also makes it more likely that you can be held legally responsible for an accident — something that can have major legal consequences.
When you’re riding your motorbike, pay attention to local speed limits. Ride at or slightly below the maximum legal speed and you’ll reduce your risk of being involved in a collision with a car, losing control of your vehicle or other dangerous situation.
Wear protective motorcycle gear
Costa Mesa and the surrounding area can get very warm, especially during summer. Because of this, it can be tempting to ride without protective equipment, particularly if you’re only going a short distance from home.
However, there are significant risks involved in riding a motorcycle, even on short trips. If you’re involved in an accident without a protective jacket, pants, gloves and other clothing, the risk of you facing serious injuries increases by a substantial amount.
This can mean costly hospital bills, as well as a risk of permanent injuries that negatively affect your quality of life for the long term. Reduce these risks by always wearing protective gear, such as a protective jacket, gloves, jeans, and boots.
Ride responsibly and predictably
As well as obeying the speed limit, it’s extremely important that you ride in a predictable, highly visible manner.
Motorists in cars, vans, trucks and other large vehicles often fail to see motorcyclists, leading to accidents as a result of poor visibility. When you weave in and out of traffic, lane split or swerve around within your lane, you substantially increase your accident risk.
When you’re on your motorcycle, keep the word “predictable” in your head. Riding predictably will keep you more visible to other motorists, all while reducing the risk of collisions caused by other road user failing to account for your on-road behavior.
Raining? Take it easy
It’s important for all motorists — car drivers and motorcyclists alike — to drive carefully when it’s wet and rainy. However, as motorcycles have fewer points of contact with the road surface than cars, it’s particularly important to take it easy if you’re a motorcyclist.
When it’s raining, try to ride within your comfort zone. Don’t accelerate rapidly, even if you keep your speeds under the speed limit, and avoid making overly aggressive turns that wouldn’t be a problem in dry weather. Remember, it only takes a moment for your motorcycle to lose its grip.
When the rain gets really heavy, it’s often best to pull off the road and take a break. If you notice the level of rain increasing, try finding a local cafe or restaurant to take a break from riding until the weather improves and the roads dry up.
Seek help immediately after an accident
It’s every motorcyclist’s worst nightmare — you’re involved in an accident that damages your motorbike and causes injuries. If you have an accident, it’s important to seek assistance — of both the medical and legal variety — as soon as possible.
Seeking immediate medical treatment will help you lessen the impact of any injuries you’ve received as a result of the crash. If the collision wasn’t your fault, seeking immediate medical help will also give you a record of your injuries for use in an insurance claim.
Finally, in the event of a major accident, it’s also important to seek legal help. We can provide free assistance to help you understand your legal options — all you need to do is fill in our free case evaluation form or contact us at 1-800-410-4085.