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How to Stay Safe on Your Motorcycle

Staying safe on your motorcycle is priority number one. As soon as warmer weather arrives, it’s tempting to get out your Harley and take to the roadways to enjoy some fun in the sun. What starts out as a fun outing quickly can turn into a nightmare if you encounter careless drivers during your road trip.

Never assume drivers are paying attention to you. Be proactive and drive defensively on your motorcycle. There are steps you can take to give added protection to yourself and your passenger. Here are some of the most common ways you can do your part to prevent motorcycle accidents.

Wear the right gear

Riding a motorcycle can be an exciting experience. The harsh reality is you lack the protection provided by a regular motor vehicle on impact. Wearing the right motorcycle gear can help keep you and any passengers safe.

The right motorcycle gear protects you from debris and road rash should you fall off your bike. Among the gear you should consider before heading out:

  • An NMDOT-approved helmet. Riders and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet under New Mexico law. Even if you are not legally required to wear one, it’s in your best interest. You are more likely to be hospitalized with a head injury if you crash your motorcycle while not wearing a helmet.
  • A pair of goggles. If your helmet doesn’t include a face visor, wearing goggles can protect your eyes from any debris that may get kicked up on the roadway.
  • A leather jacket, pants/chaps, and non-slip gloves. Wearing leather protects your delicate skin should you fall off your bike during an accident.
  • A pair of over-the-ankle boots. Protecting your feet is important while riding. Never wear open-toed or other casual shoes while on your bike, and insist your passengers don’t wear them, either.
Wearing the right gear can protect you and your passengers if you fall off your bike while riding.

Resist the need for speed

It can be tempting to go faster on your motorcycle than you should, especially on the open road. The faster you go, the less time you have to react to any potential hazards. Let’s say you’re speeding around a bend in the roadway, only to encounter some debris in the roadway. You risk not stopping in time or upsetting your bike if you navigate too quickly to avoid it.

A good rule of thumb is to follow the posted speed limit. If you’re traveling on an unfamiliar roadway, you may want to go a bit slower, especially if it’s a curvy, windy road.

Avoid riding between traffic

It can be tempting to cut between traffic, especially if it’s moving slowly and you’re in a hurry. The same applies to parked cars along a street or in a parking lot. Engaging in this kind of reckless driving on your motorcycle is dangerous for a few reasons.

  1. A driver could open their car door and knock you off your bike.
  2. A car could pull out in front of you, and you could crash into it.
  3. A pedestrian could step out from behind a car and you could hit them.

Riding a motorcycle doesn’t magically give you special driving privileges on the roadway. You must follow traffic laws. If you have an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian while disobeying the law, the blame rests on you.

Increase your visibility to other drivers

Never assume other drivers – especially those in large motor vehicles – can see you. Drivers have a limited capacity to process everything they see while on the roadways. Scientists labeled it “inattentional blindness.” Do your best to avoid riding in another driver’s blind spot. Drive with your headlights on, even during the daytime.

Keeping your distance from other vehicles also is important. Following the four-second rule can help ensure you have enough time to stop and that other drivers see you.

Wearing bright or reflective clothing can help draw attention to you and your passengers. Lastly, always use your hand signals and turn signals.

Take a motorcycle safety course

One of the best ways to stay safe on your motorcycle is by signing up for a motorcycle safety course. You learn the rules of the road for motorcycles. You also get tips about how to handle situations that can lead to accidents or injuries.

In New Mexico, you must pass a motorcycle license test and complete a motorcycle safety course to get your motorcycle license. Completing a motorcycle safety course can save you money on insurance coverage as well.

When to call a motorcycle accident lawyer

Sometimes you can follow all these rules and more and still end up seriously injured while riding your motorcycle. If you or your passenger are hurt due to another driver’s negligence, you can consult with a motorcycle accident attorney to get fair compensation for your injuries.

Calling an attorney as soon as you can is important. Scott Atkinson is a skilled personal injury attorney. He can help you recover damages if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. Call 505-944-1050 or request a consultation online to schedule an appointment.

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