As vehicles continue to advance in size, shape, style and features, it will still be many years before motorcycles outnumber cars on the road. But, while motorcycles are not dominating the roadways, it’s safe to say they are here to stay. Motorcyclists are seen on roads and highways throughout the world, including areas in and around New York and sister states. They ride the roads with ease and freedom, enjoying the scenery from a different and new perspective not afforded to most travelers who prefer to ride in closed vehicles. With no protection surrounding the rider (as with a car) the risk for riding a motorcycle comes with the territory. The ability of the rider to command a vehicle that weighs anywhere from 600 to 800 pounds and can excel at speeds of over 180 miles per hour makes them a danger zone on two wheels when proper care is ignored.
As with any vehicle on the road, it’s even more important for motorcyclists to know the basics of motorcycle operation. That includes knowing the intricacies of the machine, paying attention to all road signs designated for vehicles, being aware of oncoming traffic, and refraining from being too aggressive overtaking other vehicles, especially on unsafe roads and in extreme weather conditions. As a motorcyclist, you should:
- Wear visible and reflective clothing. The motorcycle alone is difficult to see on the road; wearing reflective clothing, particularly in the dark, could add more visibility for other drivers to see you.
- In addition to reflective clothing, wearing protective and padded gear such as leather or Kevlar can provide added resistance in case of a skid or road burn. This includes gloves, jackets, boots and pants.
- Stay safe by not taking risks or doing stunts in traffic or isolated roads.
- Never drink and drive while riding a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sees trends in the number of drunk motorcyclists on the road, which are close to outnumbering intoxicated drivers of other vehicles.
- The debate continues regarding helmet use. Wearing one is a matter of preference, despite it being a state law in some states. While studies showing recent statistics are not available by the National Highway Travel Safety Administration, they do report that in 2008, 1,829 lives of motorcyclists were saved by the use of helmets.
- Avoid riding a motorcycle in extreme weather conditions. With many areas of the country seeing no end in sight to winter, stay off the road unless absolutely necessary.
- Receive proper training for motorcycle riding. There are many variables that come into play with motorcycles: weight of the vehicle, balance while riding, and acceleration. If you have never ridden one before, training is best before you jump on and go.
- When possible, purchase a motorcycle that has a crash bar and an antibraking system, which will make it easier to stop and avoid skidding.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident in New York, you know that the resulting injuries could range from minor abrasions, to loss of limbs, to brain injury or even death. With so many details involved in the investigation, including re-creation of the accident, you want to be sure that you are working with a New York law firm who specializes in motorcycle accident cases.
Motorcycles are the perfect mode of transportation for some when used safely. Be sure to take precautions while on the road with other vehicles at all times to avoid a disastrous motorcycle accident or injury that could stay with you for the rest of your life.