If you are a motorcycle rider, you get why people want to do it. There is freedom found on a motorcycle that is unmatched by vehicles like cars and trucks. Other benefits to being out on the open road on a motorcycle include having a smaller carbon footprint and feeling the warm sun beating down on you. Plus, with New Mexico’s temperate weather, you can smell the crisp breeze outside on your bike for the whole year. We are lucky in that we don’t have a strict “riding season” like colder climates do.
Even in the winter months, you can find determined motorcyclists on Albuquerque’s roadways. The weather may be cool this time of year, but by the time you put on your motorcycle safety gear, you are more than prepared for the elements as well. However, if something goes wrong, the weather may be the least of your worries. Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, resulting in lasting injuries and changing your life forever. Thinking about how to ensure your ride is as safe as possible may be the most important thing you do before getting on your bike.
Motorcyclists Must Be Extra Vigilant
It makes sense that motorcyclists are so much more apt to come out on the “losing” side of a crash with a passenger vehicle. Cars and small trucks come with safety features like crumple zones, airbags, seatbelts, a steel frame, and more. A car basically cradles an occupant during a crash, taking the bulk of the force.
Your bike, however, cannot offer those same protections. A motorcyclist has only the benefit of the items on his or her body, which, in the best-case scenario, consists of a helmet, gloves, boots, pants, pads, and leathers. You absolutely should wear sufficient protective gear every time you get on your bike. Even the most careful riders cannot control others’ actions; you alone cannot guarantee your safety. It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of crossing paths with a reckless driver.
The Cold, Hard Facts About Motorcyclist Safety
Looking at data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) puts things into perspective. The NHTSA states that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to be killed in a crash than vehicle occupants are.
In addition, the number of fatal injuries in car accidents has been steadily falling for more than two decades. By contrast, the rate of deadly crashes involving motorcyclists has risen five-fold during that same timeframe.
Sharing the Road Responsibly
Safe vehicle operation is the responsibility of everyone on the road, whether they are driving a semi-truck or puttering away on a moped. All drivers must follow certain rules to keep our roads safer. No matter your vehicle of choice, you should always:
- Focus your full attention on the road ahead – studies have repeatedly shown that distracted driving is deadly
- Look twice when changing lanes – check your mirrors and blind spots each time
- Turn left with due care – many car-versus-motorcycle crashes happen when a vehicle turns left in front of a motorcyclist, so drivers need to accurately judge distance and turn only when they are certain the path is clear
- Stay alert and aware at intersections – nearly a third of accidents between motorcycles and passenger vehicles happen at intersections, so approach each one slowly and with care
- Give motorcycles room – it can be easy to misjudge how much room a motorcyclist needs on the street, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and give them just as much space as you would a car
Even with all the care taken in the world by a motorcyclist, he or she can still be seriously injured in a crash caused by a fellow motorist. If this happened to you, you might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. A personal injury attorney, many of whom offer free consultations, can give you more information about the potential for bringing a legal claim.