Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents
Though riding motorcycles can provide an incredible feeling of freedom, especially when riding on the open road, operating a motorcycle involves serious risks. Unlike the operators of other passenger vehicles, motorcyclists are not in a steel cage when riding and are therefore far more likely than operators of other passenger vehicles to suffer significant injury or die as a result of a motorcycle vs. passenger car collision or other motorcycle accident. Data from 2014 shows that motorcycle accidents led to over 4500 deaths in that year alone, and 92,000 motorcyclists suffered injuries.
To get all the enjoyment of riding your motorcycle while lowering the risks, be sure to follow motorcycle safety tips, particularly the following:
- Receive the appropriate training and license. The Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles goes into more detail about license eligibility and the steps needed to obtain one. Make sure to receive rider training from a reputable organization that will work with you on various skills, such as braking properly and dealing with turns. Pick a bike that suits you and that you feel you can handle. Learn it well, including its controls. For rider training you may want to check out ABATE Alaska, a couple of our attorneys have attended programs there and recommend them.
- Wear a well-fitted, high-quality helmet. There's a variety of safety gear motorcyclists should wear, including boots that cover their ankles, a goggle or face shield for eye protection, and long sleeves and pants. And they should never forget to put on a helmet. The CDC advocates for mandatory helmet use, citing data that helmets reduce the risk of death by 37% during motorcycle accidents and the risk of injury to the head by 69%; they point out that in one year alone, helmets saved the lives of over 1600 motorcyclists and brought down the financial costs of accidents by roughly $2.8 billion. At the very least, helmets should meet Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. (Additional certification standards worth looking into have come from The Snell Memorial Foundation and from the ECE, or Economic Commission for Europe.)
- Follow traffic laws. Because operating a motorcycle feels different than driving a car, motorcyclists will sometimes disregard traffic laws they'd ordinarily follow behind the wheel. Remember not to speed, blow through red lights, or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Be especially careful in the roundabouts in Anchorage and elsewhere. Our office has seen multiple accidents in these roundabout areas, often times larger caged passenger vehicles make a lane change in the roundabout and hit the motorcycle.
- Operate your motorcycle defensively. Don't assume that other drivers on the road see you; it's easier to overlook a motorcycle than a car or a truck. Leave space between yourself and other drivers, and take care to avoid their vehicle's blind spot. Remain vigilant about road obstacles such as potholes and debris that can have a strong impact on motorcycles.
These are just a few of the many items, you should be aware of when you go for a ride to help you avoid a motorcycle accident. If you have been in a motorcycle accident and just want to determine the steps you should take after the motorcycle accident, please contact us at (907) 222-9900. In the event of an accident, our Anchorage motorcycle accident attorneys can fight for you and help you receive the compensation you need to heal and cope with your harms and losses.
For more information on motorcycle accidents, check out our other blogs: