It’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Here’s What to Know

Posted in Car Accident,Motorcycle Safety on May 19, 2021

Summer doesn’t officially start for a few more weeks, but for many people, the season begins in May. The weather is warm, school is letting out, and motorcyclists start bringing their bikes out of storage and hitting the open road. And while there’s nothing better than cruising around on a warm spring afternoon, it’s important to be safety conscious while riding.

However, motorcyclists aren’t the only ones who need to be focused on safety this spring and summer. Drivers should also be cautious and ready for the presence of motorcyclists, especially on weekends. It’s easy for drivers to become complacent and even “forget” about bikers, especially after a long winter. But being aware of the motorcyclists and prepared for their presence is the best way to keep them and yourself safe.

That’s a big reason why May is designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This month is all about motorcyclists being as safe as possible and drivers recognizing their vulnerability and doing everything they can to protect them. Whether you’ll be getting around on two wheels or four this spring, here’s what you need to know.

Tips for Staying Safe as a Rider

As a motorcyclist, being cautious and attentive is non-negotiable. Your motorcycle doesn’t have any safety features like a seat belt or airbag to protect you, and that means you must do everything in your power to avoid a crash. Here’s how to stay safe:

  • Wear full gear on every ride—Whether you’re riding around the block, to the store, or halfway across the country, you need to be fully geared up. That means wearing a riding jacket, pants, boots, and gloves. And most importantly—a helmet. Wearing a properly-fitted helmet will save your life in a crash.
  • Ensure you’re visible—It’s tough enough to get drivers to look out for motorcyclists. But when motorcyclists are hard to see, it’s simply asking too much. As a rider, you must do everything you can to make yourself easily seen. That means wearing brightly colored gear and ensuring that your lights work. It also means avoiding riding during times of reduced visibility.
  • Watch for left-turning drivers—When you’re approaching an intersection or a cut-out in the road where drivers turn left, be on high alert. Left-turning drivers are one of the biggest risk factors for causing motorcyclists to be seriously injured in crashes. If you see a vehicle with its turn signal on, behave as though the driver can’t see you, because there’s a good chance they don’t!
  • Drive as though you’re in a passenger vehicle—When you ride a motorcycle, you quickly adjust to its acceleration, speed, and braking abilities. But cars, trucks, and SUVs don’t have that kind of power, agility, and maneuverability. This stark difference puts riders at risk, as they may accelerate towards slowing traffic or slam on their brakes in front of drivers who can’t slow down fast enough.
  • Don’t push your limits—On the same token, you should never push yourself—or your bike—too hard. Even relatively underpowered motorcycles still have significant torque compared to passenger vehicles. It’s easy to lose control of your motorcycle when accelerating or taking corners too fast. Know your limits and ride accordingly.

Tips for Staying Safe as a Driver

When you’re driving a passenger vehicle, you’re better protected in the event of a crash than someone on a motorcycle. That puts you in a position where you should do everything you can to avoid a collision that can seriously injure or even kill a rider. To accomplish, you should:

  • Turn down your stereo—Despite what some drivers say after crashes, motorcyclists rarely “come out of nowhere.” Fact is, motorcycles are LOUD! They can often be heard long before they can be seen. However, drivers may have difficulty hearing motorcycles when their music is loud enough to drown out their engines.
  • Put your phone down—You can’t see motorcyclists when your eyes aren’t on the road. Being a safe driver means being an attentive driver, and that means avoiding using your phone. If you need to make a phone call or send a text message, pull over to a safe location. Even using hands-free devices can still be distracting.
  • Give riders plenty of space—Motorcyclists don’t take up nearly as much room on the road as cars, trucks, and SUVs. Because of that, some drivers think that they can hog the road or encroach on motorcyclists’ lanes. However, motorcyclists need and deserve plenty of room on the road, and crowding them can cause crashes.
  • Check your mirrors—Because motorcycles are small, they’re also more difficult to see when changing lanes or merging. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your mirrors are properly adjusted to cover your blind spots. Always check your mirrors before changing lanes or merging, and perform a head check if your mirrors don’t cover all of your vehicle’s blind spots.
  • Use your turn signals—Motorcyclists rely on being able to predict the movements of other vehicles. What’s the best way to help other people on the road know what you’re about to do? Using your turn signals! Always signal, whether you’re planning on turning, merging, or changing lanes. This simple task can significantly reduce your chances of an accident.
  • Look closely before turning—Whether you’re in your driveway, at an intersection, or waiting to turn left, it’s important to ensure the coast is really clear before you go. That means looking both ways and actively watching for motorcyclists. Many drivers are accustomed to only looking for vehicles, but it’s important to be on the lookout for people on two wheels as well.

Motorcycle Crash? Get Experienced Legal Representation Today.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month can help reduce the risk of crashes in Tennessee, but it can’t eliminate it. It’s up to every rider and every driver to be as safe as possible, whether they’re on rural roads and highways or urban streets and interstates.

When motorists are injured in crashes that weren’t their fault, they often need someone to help them get money for their medical bills and lost wages. That’s where we come in. At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers fight for the rights of injured victims throughout the Volunteer State.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to help you and your family get the money you’re owed.