Four safety tips for California motorcyclists

Taking certain precautions before and during their rides may help motorcyclists improve their safety while on the road.

Unfortunately, crashes involving motorcycles and other vehicles are all too common on the streets and highways throughout California. In fact, the California Office of Traffic Safety reports there were 519 motorcyclists killed in collisions across the state in 2014 alone. Further, many more riders suffer serious personal injury each year as a result of such accidents. While not all motorcycle accidents are avoidable, there are steps people can take to help increase their safety while riding.

Dress for safety

In the event of a collision, motorcyclists and their passengers may suffer cuts, abrasions and other serious injuries with no vehicle exteriors to protect them. As such, the clothing people wear when they ride may provide valuable protection. In addition to always wearing a helmet, riders are advised to wear long sleeves, pants and close-toed shoes. Additionally, it is recommended that people wear eye protection, particularly if their helmets do not have face shields.

Develop riding skills

Just as it takes time to learn to ride a bicycle and drive a car, operating a motorcycle requires certain skills. Therefore, people should ensure they are familiar with general riding techniques, as well as the operation of their bikes prior to hitting the road. The completion of a California Highway Patrol-approved training program is required for those riders under the age of 21-years-old, and advisable for those who are over the age of 21-years. Such programs may not only teach people the basics of riding safely, but also how to respond to certain emergency situations and hazards that may arise on the road.

Ride defensively

Many motorcycle collisions occur because other motorists do not see riders or their vehicles. When on the road, it may help motorcyclists to assume they are not visible to other drivers and ride defensively. Taking precautions, including maintaining the proper lane position, using the appropriate signals, allowing other vehicles ample space, and refraining from weaving in and out of lanes, may help other drivers know what to expect of riders, and thus, avoid some potentially serious motorcycle collisions.

Conduct pre-ride inspections

Compared to other automobiles, motorcycles require more upkeep and care. Therefore, people are advised to inspect their vehicles before each ride to ensure they are mechanically ready and safe for operation. This includes checking the air pressure and tread on their tires, ensuring the lights and signals are operational, and making certain the fluids are at the appropriate levels. Once on their motorcycles, riders should check that their clutch, throttle, brakes and horn are in working order.

Seeking legal guidance

When California motorcyclists are involved in accidents, they and their passengers may suffer serious injuries requiring extensive medical treatment. Consequently, they may incur undue medical bills and other expenses, as well as lose income while they are off work recovering. In some situations, however, the drivers responsible for such collisions may be held liable for these and other resulting losses. Therefore, those who have suffered injury due to motorcycle wrecks may benefit from discussing their rights and options with an attorney.