May is motorcycle safety awareness month. It comes around every year and no one seems to want to address it, but we still know it needs to be addressed. Let’s face it, we talk about motorcycle safety all the time, yet it’s never enough. Part of that is because motorcyclists can only do so much. The vast majority of motorcycle crashes occur because someone driving a car wasn’t paying attention, or didn’t follow the right of way. No matter how safe we try to be, it won’t be enough if we’re invisible to others on the road.
Though it can be frustrating when so many things are outside our control on the road, that doesn’t mean we should use it as an excuse not to take charge of the things we can control.
This safety awareness month, we can admit that there’s always something we can do to be a little safer.
Avoid risk on your “most dangerous” rides
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear is again. Study after study shows that in motorcycle accidents, helmets are critical. And that isn’t only on some high-speed highway when a driver texting on his phone edges into your lane. No, the large majority of accidents that result in head injury happen on short trips around town, going less than 30 miles per hour.
Our usual excuse of, “I’m just going out for a quick spin to enjoy the city roads–it’s no big deal,” doesn’t make any sense. That’s the most dangerous type of ride and the time we need our helmets most.
In Utah, wearing a helmet is optional if you’re older than 17. Every single motorcycle rider 18 and older has the right to leave behind their helmet whenever and wherever they feel like it. But, I would hope you choose to wear a helmet every time you get on a motorcycle, even if it seems inconvenient. When that one piece is the only difference between safety and a lifetime of disability and brain damage, it’s an easy choice to make.
Even if you choose to take your chances, I hope you make sure all of your passengers have and wear a helmet. You have the choice of endangering your own life, but you shouldn’t endanger the lives of others when you ride.
Don’t drink and ride
According to just about every safety report published, the number two factor in motorcycle accidents is substance use. We can all control and eliminate this factor. Not only do the number of accidents increase when alcohol or drug use is involved, but the likelihood of fatality goes up drastically. The Department of Transport found that in one-third of every fatal motorcycle accidents, the driver of the motorcycle has been drinking and riding.
It’s silly that riders who would never think it’s okay to drink and drive are more open to drinking and riding. Riding a motorcycle can be risky in the best of situations. There’s absolutely no excuse for riding while impaired.
Make yourself visible
The third largest factor we can help control is visibility. Drivers, especially new drivers, just aren’t trained to see motorcycles. You can be much safer if you wear bright colors (white included) when you ride. Ride with your lights on (not your brights, that can blind others on the road), and attach reflectors to other parts of your bike and gear. Also, don’t wear solid black. Though it may look stylish while you ride, it looks significantly less so when you’re knocked to the asphalt.
This May, let’s be a little inconvenienced with safety. If we make it a habit, it won’t seem like such a chore to talk about when next motorcycle safety awareness month rolls around.
We know that most accidents involving cars aren’t our fault. That’s why we have to take the extra steps to be safe. Still, If you’ve done everything the law requires of you and you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, call us at (801) 506-0800 for a free consultation. We ride motorcycles. We get it. We’re here to help.