May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and while the month is coming to a close, it’s never too late to brush up on how to stay safe on the road. Whether you are dusting off your motorcycle for summer or prefer to stay within the air-conditioned comfort of your car, staying safe on the road with motorcycles is a two-way street!
TIPS FOR MOTORCYCLISTS
CHOOSE THE RIGHT HELMET, JACKET, AND EQUIPMENT
Your safety gear does more than make riding more comfortable — it can help you been seen by motorists and keep you protected while you’re on the road. Today’s market is filled with helmets of all shapes and sizes, and in the event of an accident, it can potentially save your life. A reflective safety jacket or vest allows drivers to see you better every hour of the day.
SLOW DOWN & BE SEEN
Riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to be on constant alert of your surroundings and intentions of others on the road. Most motorcycle accidents are caused by driver error, so it is important to do your part to be seen while you are out on your bike. This means riding within a driver’s line of sight and making sure you are not situated within any blind spots. It is also important to maintain caution at stop signs and intersections, where half of all vehicle/motorcycle collisions occur.
USE YOUR HEADLIGHTS DAY & NIGHT
Like the reflectors on a bicycle, your headlights help alert drivers you are approaching and helps them adjust their course accordingly. Using your headlights during the day helps establish your right of way and helps your remain conspicuous on the road.
OBEY THE RULES OF THE ROAD
While you may have a more nimble and lean ride, remember the easiest way to be seen on your bike is to stay in the appropriate lanes, avoid riding on the shoulder, and use the appropriate turn signals or hand signals when merging into another lane.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BRUSH UP ON YOUR SKILLS
Interested in becoming a better rider? Need to brush up on your skills? Consider taking a class through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. They offer classes for every skill set, from beginning riders to those looking to master the specifics of their motorcycle. Visit their website for more information on local course offerings, class information, and more.
TIPS FOR DRIVERS
CHECK YOUR BLIND SPOTS
Chances are you have uttered “They came out of nowhere!” at least once while behind the wheel of your car. While it seems like motorcycles can appear out of thin air, there is a good shot they were actually in your blind spot. It is a motorcyclist’s job to make sure they are visible and avoid cruising within a vehicle’s blind spot, but you can do your due diligence and check that space for bikers when merging lanes or passing vehicles. It is also important to make sure your side view mirrors are properly set to increase visibility of the spaces outside your car.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
It is never a good idea to follow a vehicle too closely, but when sharing the road with motorcyclists, you should maintain a safe following distance, especially at night. Motorcycles react more quickly than cars to braking, so increasing the span between you and the motorcyclists allows you to both appropriately slow down and react to what is in front of you. Also remember, a motorcyclist’s brake lights might not always be engaged when a motorcycle decelerates.
CHECK THE WEATHER & CONDITIONS
Compared to a motorcycle, your car is essentially anchored to the ground by its weight and tires. What may seem like a nuisance to you — heavy rain, gravel, fog, and so on — can be treacherous and almost impossible for a motorcyclist to travel through. When the weather takes a turn or you hit patches of road construction, keep in mind that riders will need to make adjustments to their riding style in order to remain safe and visible on the road.
USE YOUR BLINKERS
There may be no one approaching in the left lane, but using your blinker lets all others on the road know your intention to change lanes. While this maneuver may seem like nothing to you, as you increase speed, it causes a gust of wind which can cause a motorcycle to become unstable and blow the rider off the road. By announcing your intention to change lanes, it allows the rider to prepare for potential changes in conditions.
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN. CHIARIELLO & CHIARIELLO IS HERE TO HELP
For two generations, the attorneys at Chiariello & Chiariello have represented clients across Long Island and New York City in personal injury and accident cases. We work diligently to provide each client with fair, reasonable representation and quality results. We care about helping you get back on the road and back to enjoying your life.
To receive more information about our vehicle accident services, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today at (516) 407-7717.