man riding motocycle

On any given day, a dozen people in the United States are injured in motorcycle accidents. Lieutenant Greg Willmore from the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) is a man who is well acquainted with these kinds of accidents. In fact, it’s his job to inspect motorcycles after crashes.

“We see a lot of motorcycles after crashes. Especially with the weather heating up, being careful is so important,” said Willmore. A rider himself, Willmore has a few easy maintenance and safety tips that could help Utah motorcyclists stay safe and get the most from their rides.

Keep your motorcycle working at its best

“There’s a lot of reasons someone gets in a crash, but a few of the main [reasons] are riders having a helmet that’s too big, not taking their motorcycle in for regular tune-ups…. things like that make a big difference,” said Willmore.

Although the law only requires you take your motorcycle in for an emissions test every 4, 8, and 10 years, Willmore firmly believes in checking your motorcycle frequently. A lot of little things can go wrong with a motorcycle during a year, and even little things make a big difference when you’re riding at 70 mph.

Motorcycles need a little extra TLC as compared to cars. In addition to regularly checking the oil, brakes, and tire pressure, motorcyclists should be keeping an eye on their bike’s battery, fluid levels, chain, shaft drivers, and belts.

For motorcyclists, maintenance can be a hefty job. Keeping track of everything that needs to be checked or adjusted can quickly become confusing or overwhelming. Because of this, officer Willmore suggests motorcyclists keep an eye on the three areas that are the biggest safety concerns; brakes, lights, and tires.

Brakes: Check the thickness of your brake pads and your front and back brake-fluid levels regularly. It’s a good idea to replace the brake fluid every one to two years.

Lights: In addition to always riding with a working headlight and taillight, you should consider getting reflectors for your bike. Simply not being seen by other drivers is one of the top three causes of motorcycle accidents. Do all you can to stay visible and get the respect and room you deserve on the road.

Tires: The number one cause of motorcycle breakdowns is tire damage. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a smart idea to check your tire pressure every time you fill up for gas. Keep a tire-pressure gauge with your motorcycle and be sure to keep your tires well inflated. Even small drops in pressure change how your tires grip the road and put you at a greater risk for blowouts.

In addition to doing your own maintenance, taking your motorcycle into a dealership or repair shop regularly is a good way to avoid future problems on the road.

Utah police services also provides safety inspections for only $7. Their safety inspections are required at least every four years. Even if your motorcycle doesn’t need to be inspected this year, it could be a smart idea to have it checked, especially if you have any doubts. Seven dollars is a cheap price to pay for peace of mind.

Keep yourself informed

Most motorcycle accidents involve riders who are self-taught or learned to ride from family members. While discovering the freedom that comes with riding  on your own can be exhilarating, be sure to take the time to learn some safety tips before you hit the road.

Finding a motorcycle safety course is simple and can save you a considerable amount of pain, money, and frustration in the future. Who knows, it might even save your life.

Some manufacturers, like Harley-Davidson, offer safety riding courses through their dealers. “Rider training continues to be a really important part of our strategy,” said Angela Thundercloud, Harley’s rider training manager.

But riding safely is not only a concern for self-taught or new riders. Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries stated that statistics “show there’s work to be done” when it comes to motorcycle safety.  With more riders on the road than ever before, his company intends to create a program that encourages experienced motorcyclists to enroll in courses that would remind them to keep safety as their number one concern.

When riding, it helps to always remember the details: remember to check your brakes and tire pressure, always wear a helmet and reflective jacket, and eliminate any distractions. Implementing these simple practices can not only create a smoother ride, but can also save lives. For more information on safety tips, visit our Utah Motorcyle Lawyers website. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, call us at (801)506-0800 to talk with us to see how we can help you.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons