If you are a motorcycle enthusiast living in the Seattle area, you know that you can ride your bike year-round, or at least 10 months out of the year. Yet, some don’t want to battle the colder weather or potential icy roads during the winter months, so they wait until spring to break out their bike for the summer. This makes May the perfect time to think about motorcycle safety. Fortunately, most bikers ride safely, and when they are involved in an accident, it’s often caused by another motorist.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission estimates that motorcycle accidents account for 15 percent of traffic fatalities and almost 20 percent of severe injuries in crashes. An average of 75 bikers die each year on Washington’s roads and highways. Whether you’ve been riding for years or weeks, it’s important to remain focused on safety for your own protection. Below are some tips to help you avoid accidents while you commute to work or take a joy ride to enjoy the picture-perfect landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.
One of the best ways to keep you safe on the road is knowing how to handle your bike. This is a learned skill that only gets better as you ride more. It’s important that you have a motorcycle that fits your body, which means you should be able to put both feet flat on the ground and reach your handlebars. You should also make sure your bike isn’t too heavy for you. Assuming your motorcycle is a good fit for you, hone your skills by taking a rider’s safety class. You can find classes for all levels from beginning to advanced. The Washington State Department of Licensing lists multiple locations throughout the state, including three locations in Seattle.
As you are cruising around on your motorcycle, only your gear separates you from the road if you get in an accident. The right gear helps reduce injuries and might even prevent them in some cases. Washington law requires all bikers to wear helmets. Keep in mind that helmets don’t last forever; exposure to oil and chemicals from hair products cause them to wear slowly overtime. The Snell Memorial Foundation, a world-respected non-profit organization who independently researches and tests helmets, suggests you replace your helmet at least every five years.
In addition to protecting your head, you need the right gear to protect your eyes and feet. Even if your bike has a windshield, you should wear a helmet with a face shield, sunglasses, or goggles to keep debris out of your eyes while riding. Eye protection also keeps the rain out of your eyes, something you will most likely experience at some point when cruising around Seattle. Rain can also cause your feet to slip, so invest in good motorcycle boots to give you traction and protect your feet from getting wet.
The right protective clothing keeps you safe in two ways. First, leather and padded gear protect you from the elements and from road rash if you get in an accident. Second, when you buy clothing and gear in bright colors, you make yourself visible to others on the road which prevents accidents.
Aggressive motorcycle drivers who take chances are more likely to be involved in an accident, and even those who drive carefully face the risk of an accident. Riding defensively helps you anticipate and prevent hazards and dangerous situations that might lead to injury or fatality. The following tips will help you drive defensively on your next motorcycle ride:
Avoid quick braking because it might cause you to skid. Many high-end models come standard with anti-lock brakes, but if you have a low-end model or an older bike, consider investing in anti-lock brakes. Sometimes a vehicle or hazard in front of you forces you to suddenly brake, anti-lock brakes will help you avoid an accident or dumping your bike after a skid.
Even when you know your motorcycle well, wear the proper gear, and following defensive driving tips, you still might sustain an injury in a motorcycle accident. Washington law permits you to seek damages in court to recover medical costs, lost wages, and non-economic damages, but you need the guidance of a skilled motorcycle accident attorney to increase your chances of a successful settlement or verdict in your favor. Contact the skilled legal team at Boohoff Law online or call at (877) 999-9999 for a free consultation if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121