Taking care to be safe on the road should be the top priority for any motorcyclist. There are quite a few simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and others from injuries and accidents. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad provide some valuable tips that can make you a better rider and help you stay safe when you’re on the road in Pennsylvania.
Wear a Helmet
Pennsylvania motorcycle laws do not require riders to wear helmets. However, putting a helmet on every time you hit the road can save your life and protect you from serious harm such as traumatic brain injury. Purchasing a helmet with a face shield provides an extra layer of protection if you’re involved in a crash. Personal injury lawyers always recommend that riders use helmets, as not wearing a helmet can affect the outcome of a motorcycle accident claim.
Use Proper Safety Gear
Additional protective gear also is crucial for protecting yourself in the event of an accident. Jackets, gloves, and boots that are specially designed for motorcyclists can help prevent road rash and other injuries. Putting reflective tape on your clothing or buying gear that has reflective stripes makes you more visible to other motorists as well.
Obey the Rules of the Road
Following all traffic and motorcycle safety laws in Pennsylvania is a must for any responsible motorist. Although it can be tempting to speed, the faster you’re going, the longer it will take you to stop. This can result in deadly accidents if you take a turn too fast or encounter stopped traffic. Another dangerous practice to avoid is lane splitting – it is illegal under Pennsylvania motorcycle safety law.
Make Yourself Visible
One of the main causes of motorcycle accidents is other drivers’ failure to see them, especially at intersections involving left turns. Keep your headlights on, avoid riding in blind spots, and make sure to use turn signals well before changing lanes or making any kind of turn.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always stay alert and aware when you’re on your bike. In addition to keeping an eye out for turning vehicles, it’s important to look ahead for any debris or obstructions in the road. If you find yourself getting sleepy or fatigued, you probably should call it a day and head home.
Don’t Drink and Ride
It’s best to completely avoid alcohol and drugs if you’re planning to take your bike for a ride. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 alone, 5,014 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents. Nearly 30% of those deaths involved riders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Being impaired affects your judgment, coordination, reaction time, and balance, so if you plan to drink, hitch a ride with a designated driver or call a rideshare like Lyft or Uber.
Do a Safety Check Before Riding
Making sure your motorcycle is fit to ride also is vital. Mechanical malfunctions, burned-out headlights, and blown tires are real dangers that can cause accidents and injuries. It’s always a good idea to check the following:
- Lights — Properly working headlights, taillights, and turn signals help you be visible to other drivers.
- Tires — Check tire pressure and look for bulges, cracks, and holes before getting on your bike.
- Oil and Coolant — Look for leaks and check oil and coolant levels at least once a week if you take your motorcycle out frequently.
- Brakes — Test both the front and rear brakes before getting on the road. It can save your life.
- Mirrors — Clean and adjust your mirrors for better viewing. It can make your ride more pleasant and a little bit safer.
- Horn — A working horn is vital for alerting other motorists of your presence.
Hone Your Skills With Riding Courses
Pennsylvania offers Motorcycle Safety Training for those who are interested in taking a course through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP). If you successfully complete a PAMSP basic or intermediate course, the requirement to take a skills test at a PennDOT Driver License Center is waived and permit holders automatically earn their motorcycle license.
Even if you already have your motorcycle license, refresher courses can help you hone your riding skills and learn evasive emergency maneuvers that could save your life. Some insurance companies even provide discounts to customers who take motorcycle safety classes in Pennsylvania.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Eastern PA
At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, our motorcycle accident attorneys understand that being injured in a crash can be life-altering. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call our Bath office at 610-867-2900. With offices in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, and Monroe counties, we offer free case evaluations to injured victims throughout Eastern Pennsylvania.