You can't overstate the danger to motorcyclists. Accidents involving bikes are frequently deadly, when compared to other types of motor vehicle accidents. Remember, you don't have to make a mistake to get involved in a crash. Your life literally rests in the hands of other drivers.
In recent years, the amount of deaths in car accidents has generally gone down. There have been some spikes and reversals, but, if you compare the statistics today to the stats from a decade or two ago, the roads look safer.
Over the same time, though, the amount of motorcycle deaths has gone up. In some areas, they've doubled. It's shocking and concerning. Riders need to know the risks so that they can address them and drive safely. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Always use your turn signals. Never make a lane change or a turn unexpectedly, even if you think the way is clear.
- Watch out for drivers who are about to turn themselves. Left turns in particular cause a lot of serious crashes.
- Remember that drivers often only look for other cars, not motorcycles, bicycles or pedestrians. They may not see you, even if they should.
- Stay out of blind spots. Motorcycles disappear easily with their small size. Stay in view and stay visible.
- Speaking of visibility, always wear bright clothes, not black. Red, lime green and orange are all colors that attract attention. Do everything in your power to stand out, especially if the bike itself is black. Consider a reflective jacket for night riding.
- Anticipate mistakes. That driver waiting to pull out into the road, who should wait for you to pass before he does? He's not going to. He never saw your bike. Watch him the entire time, until you go by. If you adopt a mindset that drivers will make mistakes, you can prepare to react before they even do it.
You also want to keep your eyes open for drivers who take unneeded risks themselves. These may include drivers who got drunk before they got behind the wheel or those who spend the entire drive reading and sending text messages. If you see a car driving erratically, keep your distance. Forget about the right of way or sharing the road. Either stay back or pass by and leave that dangerous driver behind. It's not worth it to take a risk when the odds are high that the driver wouldn't even get injured in an accident that would put you in the ER.
Still, you cannot prevent others from making mistakes, and you can't avoid all accidents. Make sure you know how to seek compensation after a crash.