Motorcycles represent freedom to a lot of people, and many folks dream of cruising down the open road on their new cycle. Have you considered, however, how to protect yourself on the road? Other drivers can make bad decisions, and environmental conditions can cause a motorcycle crash at any moment, even for experienced riders.
Bikers must take the right steps to avoid accidents, from defensive driving techniques to proper protective gear. Read this article to make sure you have the tools to protect yourself in emergency situations and to be prepared when car accidents involving motorcycles do happen.
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The first thing to do after any accident with passenger vehicles, if possible, is to get clear of the site. Move motor vehicles off the road if you can. This will mitigate the risk of accidents getting worse due to additional drivers not seeing the wreck. Keep your head clear and your wits about you. As hard as it may be, try to stay calm.
Next, call emergency services to get first responders on the scene. Make sure everyone gets medical attention. Even if you do not feel hurt, some instances of personal injury do not show symptoms for days or weeks, and getting examined immediately can identify injuries early. It also shows that you took the situation seriously from the start.
While police are on the scene, file a police report. While you cannot use it in court, it will form an important touchstone to reference to keep your details straight as you pursue your case. Police can ask everyone on-site for their driver’s license and car or motorcycle insurance, which your attorney will need later.
When you return home, call your insurance company to report the incident, but stick to the basic facts. Do not editorialize or tell your side of the story. That is for your attorney to tackle. Finally, call a motorcycle accident lawyer at Matz Injury Law immediately. Get in touch at 866-226-6833 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.
No matter how well you follow the rules of the road, the biggest risk for accidents while motorcycle riding involves other drivers. You constantly face issues like other cars changing lanes unexpectedly without using turn signals, cars stopping in front of you, cars exceeding the speed limit, and even vehicles pulling up in your blind spot when you are about to move over. Drunk drivers are still among the deadliest and most common causes of accidents all over the country.
Other major risk factors include environmental factors like inclement weather from driving winds to pouring rain, cold and ice, and even extreme heat. Extreme temperatures can change your tire pressure, altering your traction on the road.
Finally, road conditions like poor pavement, gravel, dirt roads, potholes, and the like can also be a hazard. Poor road conditions can turn a safe ride into serious injuries in a flash.
Aside from following the rules of the road and driving safely, the right safety gear is essential to prevent fatalities and serious injuries from motorcycle accidents. Riding gear should always include leather jackets and motorcycle helmets with a full face shield.
Always keep your bike in proper repair, and keep a close eye on the road and environmental conditions. The more you know about your vehicle and the state of the road and weather, the safer you will be.
Whether you have to wear a helmet in Michigan depends on several factors. Legally, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (DOT), if you are over the age of 21, Michigan law does not require you to wear a helmet. Riders under the age of 21 may have to wear a helmet.
Even if you’re not legally required to wear a helmet, your motorcycle insurance company may require that you wear the proper safety gear to be covered. Regardless of whether you are required to wear a helmet, you should always do so.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wearing a helmet vastly improves the chances of surviving motorcycle accidents. While leather clothing can help you avoid serious injuries like road rash, a helmet protects and pads your head, reducing the chances of things like traumatic brain injury, and it can lessen the severity of head injuries that you do suffer.
In 2020 alone, 5,579 fatalities were reported among motorcyclists in the U.S. Many of these could have been avoided had the rider simply chosen the right safety gear, including a strong helmet with a guard that covered the full face. According to the CDC Injury Center, in 2017 helmets saved over 1,800 lives, and 749 more could have been saved had helmets been worn. Helmets reduce the risk of severe head injury by 69%.
According to the NHTSA, motorcycle accidents are most common among men. In fact, in Michigan in 2019, only eight motorcycle accidents among 122 involved females. Among males, around 39% of all motorcycle crashes involve men over the age of 50. Fatalities for those under age 30, on the other hand, comprise about 27% of all accidents.
In the end, it is very simple: Adhering to safety precautions decreases your chance of injury. Wear the right protective gear and be safe at all times. Even an experienced motorcycle rider might consider taking a motorcycle safety course to refresh your knowledge and skills. If you do not wear a helmet to protect yourself, do it for your loved ones, who do not deserve the loss.
If you are in a motorcycle crash across the state of Michigan, call Matz Injury Law at 866-226-6833 or use our online contact form for a free consultation. We serve nearly every city across the state including Portage, Jackson, Rochester, Sterling Heights, and Flint.
Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.
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