The Basics of Motorcycle Safety

It’s called the ‘lure of the open road’; that indescribable need you get to hop on your motorcycle and hit the road. It’s been written about so many times, featured in movies, and has become an accepted iconic lifestyle. Some do it over the weekend, while others really live the life. They say on a motorcycle, it’s impossible to be balanced while being still—you got to keep moving.

They say it’s the wind in their face, the sounds that surround you, the smell of nature or the city, and the unobstructed view. These add to the mystery of why men and women choose to ride a motorcycle. There’s also the vibration of the engine, signifying a promise of another road trip somewhere sometime soon. Perhaps, that is it—that feeling of being able to go anywhere at any time.

But your safety should always come first. You must ensure that your ride is in good condition and you must drive safely at all times. If you don’t have motorcycle insurance in Chicago, Illinois, you’re at great risk of losing a large sum of money when the unexpected happens.

Numbers Don’t Lie

The latest statistics show that in 2017, there were 4,990 motorcycle-related deaths in the United States, about 300 less than in 2016. Accidents involving motorcycles do not happen more frequently than those involving four-wheeled vehicles, but they are more likely to result in a serious injury or death.

Here are some of the most common accidents related to motorcycles:

Don’t lose your head—avoid a head-on! This is perhaps the worst thing to ever happen to a rider, as this accounts for 56% of deaths from a motorcycle-related accident.

When Cars Make a Left-Hand Turn. This type of collision makes up for 42% of all accidents between a motorcycle and a four-wheeled vehicle. When an automobile is making a left turn, it makes contact with the motorcycle rider that is passing the car, trying to overtake or going straight.

Man cruising in a motorcycle

Be patient—do not split the lane. It’s when there’s a traffic jam and a motorcycle rider would try to squeeze in between two stopped or slowly moving cars. Accidents occur largely due to the very close distance of the motorcycle to the four-wheel vehicles. Car drivers don’t usually expect any vehicle to pass them while in traffic.

Alcohol and Speeding is a Bad Combination. While these two factors play a big role in accidents involving cars, it accounts for about 50% of motorcycle accidents. The difference is that motorcycles don’t provide much protection from the impact, often resulting in serious injuries or death.

Crashes Into Fixed Object. If a motorcycle rider collides with a fixed object, it would likely result in an injury or death due to the impact. Statistics show that car crashing into fixed objects resulted in only 18% deaths, compared to 25% in motorcycle deaths.

What to do?

You don’t have to give up your motorcycle dreams. You can do some things to avoid getting into an accident.

  1. When you ride, be aware of your surroundings. That way, you can react accordingly to unexpected elements on the road.
  2. Wear safety gear. This is a no-brainer—wear a helmet, save your brain. Wear a rigid riding jacket with spine protector. Invest in leg and arm protection.
  3. Don’t drink and ride. If you do, you risk killing yourself or another innocent person.
  4. Speed limits are set for a reason.
  5. Maintain your motorcycle.
  6. Master riding skills. The only way to do this is to ride frequently, but safely.
  7. Get insurance. You’ve covered everything else. Cover your liabilities as well.

The lure of the road will never go away because the road never ends. It’s an open invitation, and some can’t resist the promise of being free while riding a motorcycle.  But your safety is the most important thing.

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