Motorcycling Safety Tips for Riders and Motorists
Arizona is the perfect environment for motorcycling: lots of sunshine, open roads, and beautiful views. A 2019 report by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) lists Arizona as having nearly 210,000 registered on-road motorcycles. Unfortunately, Arizona is also one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists. That same report list 2,728 crashes involving motorcycles in 2019, with 164 of those being fatal.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Service, the number one cause of motorcycle crashes is speed. Other major causes are unsafe lane changes, lane splitting, and neglecting to yield the right-of-way. All these causes have one factor in common – failing to comply with Arizona traffic laws, including those specific to motorcycles.
Motorcyclist should be aware that motor vehicle drivers may not be able to see motorcycles as easily as other types of vehicles, especially at night or in poor weather conditions. Although there have been numerous campaigns to make motorists more aware, such as Look Twice! Save a Life, Start Seeing Motorcycles, and Share the Road. There’s a Life Riding on it, motorcyclists need to be accountable for ensuring their own safety.
The following are guidelines every motorcyclist should follow to help protect themselves while on the road:
- GET LICENSED AND TRAINED. Arizona requires motorcyclists to be licensed, which involves passing a skills test. Although it is not mandatory, it is a good idea to also take a motorcycle safety course. Team Arizona is one of the most popular with locations all over the valley, but there are many other companies throughout the state.
- WEAR A HELMET! Half of all motorcycle fatalities in Arizona involve riders without helmets. Not only will a helmet help protect your head and prevent serious brain injury, the face shield can keep rocks and bugs from flying into your face and causing injury.
- WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR. Gloves, pants, boots, and long sleeves will help minimize injury in the event of a crash. Road rash is a real thing and you do not want it. Single motorcycle accidents without protective gear can lead to amputation of fingers, toes, and limbs, nerve damage, skin loss, and scarring.
- BE VISIBLE. Visibility is key to safety. You are sharing the road and, therefore, share the responsibility for seeing and being seen. Do not ride in a vehicle’s blind spot. Make a neon jacket your own personal brand. Maintain some form of movement when stopped at an intersection. Use your headlight, even during the day. If your motorcycle is equipped with a blinking light meant to increase visibility, do not assume motorist will understand its purpose. They may not be aware what the blinking means and could mistakenly believe you are signaling them to go ahead, particularly if stopped at an intersection. A better strategy might be using your brights all the time, especially at night when, statistically, motorcycle fatalities are at their highest.
- DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. Even if you are doing all the right things, other drivers and riders might not be. Stay alert and pay attention to what is going on with the flow of traffic. Keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of you. When approaching an intersection, make sure you can see all the other vehicles, particularly those coming from the opposite direction that may turn left in front of you.
- PLAN AN EXIT STRATEGY. At every intersection or in any scenario where you will intersect other motorcycles, vehicles, pedestrians, or construction, be aware of a “way out” should something go wrong. Think about where you can safely steer your motorcycle to avoid a crash.
- KNOW YOUR ABILITIES. If you are a novice rider, do not attempt maneuvers beyond your skill level. If you are an older rider, be aware that age can unexpectedly affect your reaction time, balance, strength, and capability – regardless of your riding experience. Many older riders find that they enjoy the three-wheel life. Choose a bike that fits your skill level, lifestyle, and capabilities.
Motorists also have a responsibility to help prevent collisions with motorcycles. Drivers should follow these rules-of-the-road:
- TWICE IS NICE. Check twice before changing lanes or making turns. Be sure to cover blind spots.
- ALWAYS USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL. Your signal should blink several times before changing lanes, giving plenty of warning of your intention. A nice feature on some newer vehicles is a warning light that appears on the side view mirror to signify that something is next to you. When the turn signal is activated, the light on the mirror will blink to attract your attention that the lane is occupied. Do not rely exclusively on your turn signal or this feature. Always turn around to ensure there is not a motorcycle or car in your blind spot.
- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Motorcycles stop much more quickly than your vehicle. Always allow for a four to five second following distance. To measure this, choose a fixed object ahead, such as a light post or sign, and count the seconds between when the motorcycle and your vehicle pass it.
- STAY ALERT. Even if you follow all the rules, others, including motorcyclist, may not. Be aware of your surroundings and give driving your full attention. Be extra vigilant when there are motorcycles around.
- BE COURTEOUS. Motorcycles have the right to be on the road. Being courteous to riders and other motorists could prevent a tragedy.
WHY CHOOSE FITE LAW GROUP?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, a lot of law firms will competing for your case. So, why choose us?
- Over 50 years of combined legal experience among three dedicated attorneys
- Experience with complicated motorcycle cases, including those in which the rider has been drinking
- Private, personalized service guided by discrete and thorough investigations. We have handled cases involving debilitating head trauma and severe damage to extremities and genitalia. Our staff is trained to handle the most intimate details of your injury with respect and dignity.
- We are local. When you call our office, you will speak to someone who lives and works nearby, not in a different state.
- We work with all riders from beginners to seasoned veterans
- We are committed to getting you to ZERO medical debt
- Women ride too! We have a female lawyer who has completed a motocross training course.
- All we do is practice law. We do not show up and hand out flyers at Bike Week, sit on any boards, or try to influence the legislature to enact new laws. We work on what happened to you and how it is affecting your life right now.
Contact us today at (602) 368-1869 for a free case evaluation.