Motorcycle Safety Gear while riding your bike

Drivers: Do You Ever Think About Motorcycles?

The vast majority of vehicles on the road are not motorcycles. They're cars and vans and trucks. It's quite possible that as a driver you rarely think about motorcycles.

This is a problem.

"When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist's right of way," according to an issue statement from NHTSA. "There is a continuing need to help other motorists 'think' motorcycles and to educate motorcyclists to be aware of this problem."

Why do drivers often violate motorcyclists' right of way?

  • Motorcycles are relatively small and drivers don't see them
  • Drivers don't anticipate motorcycles' movements
  • The driver's view of the motorcyclist is obstructed, often by the vehicle's blind spots or other vehicles
  • The driver is distracted

Driver education programs should emphasize these issues – especially in programs for mature drivers who may have diminished abilities.

Skill and Gear Can Protect You

A helmet is the most important equipment a biker can use. In 2017, 1,908 motorcyclists who died were not wearing a helmet.  Helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries.

  • A full-coverage helmet offers the most protection
  • Look for the DOT sticker, which guarantees the helmet meets safety standards required by law
  • Never buy a used helmet; helmets are useless after they've been worn in a crash
  • Here is a fact sheet on motorcycle helmet use from NHTSA

Not every state has a helmet law, but even if yours doesn't, wear one anyway.  A motorcycle crash is a "violent event." More than 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, according to NHTSA.  In addition to wearing a helmet:

  • Choose a bike that fits you; "supersport bikes" have driver death rates about four times that of cruisers or standard bikes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Invest in antilock brakes
  • New riders should take a motorcycle safety course, and experienced riders should take refresher courses after being off their bikes for a while
  • Know the rules of the road
  • Be aware that riding with a passenger requires considerably more skill
  • Never drink and ride
  • Drive defensively, especially at intersections, where half of all collisions occur
  • Watch for hazards like potholes, manhole covers, oil slicks, puddles, debris, railroad tracks and gravel
  • Assume you are invisible to other motorists and position yourself to be seen
  • Use headlights day and night
  • Be courteous; don't weave in and out of lanes, or ride on the shoulder or between lanes
  • Don't speed
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing that is durable and boots that cover the ankles
  • Wear goggles, glasses or use a face shield that is ventilated to prevent fogging, and make sure it's clear if riding at night

Always wear your safety gear and be safe out there!

Source: National Safety Council

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