Tips From A California Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle riding is a fun and invigorating pastime. While there is very little that can match the thrill and enjoyment of riding on California’s many roads it is important to stay safe. As a motorcycle accident attorney and motorcycle rider, I know the dangers and joys of riding a motorcycle. According to the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, fatalities have increased 175 percent from 1998 to 2008; in 2008 alone, 560 fatal motorcycle accidents were reported. In non-fatal accidents, motorcyclists were over represented as victims. The following tips should help you stay safe and be ready if the worst should happen.
1. Wear a Helmet: It’s The Law
When you are riding always wear a helmet. According to the NHTSA, (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) helmets are estimated to be 37 percent more effective in preventing death than riding without one. Nationwide 63 percent of motorcyclists wear helmets, per the Department of Transportation statistics for 2008. Among those killed in fatal accidents only 58 percent were wearing helmets. Remember not only do helmets keep you safer, they are mandated in the state of California for motorcycle drivers and passengers alike. Without a helmet the chances for brain injuries and spinal damage increase. Now while decreasing chance for such severe injuries is the primary reason for wearing a helmet, there are other factors to consider. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet, that could lessen the damages you receive from any court settlement. The reason riding a motorcycle in California without a helmet violates state law introduces the counter argument that you are partly responsible for your own injuries due to personal negligence. Because there are such complex matters of law to consider always consult a motorcycle accident attorney if you have been injured in an accident.
2. Be Aware of Surroundings: Protect Yourself
Motorcycles by their very design are harder to see than a car. Because you cannot control the actions of others, you need to be very observant of events going on around you while you are riding. By being observant you can react to road hazards more quickly. Things such as road debris, ice, and reckless drivers are just some of the things you must watch out for. Part of being aware means limiting distractions. So when riding you should leave your MP3 player in your pocket and never answer a ringing cell phone. Also be sure to check your mirrors; you need to be aware of what is going on around you and not just in front of you. Finally, keep a safe distance between your bike and the automobiles in front of you so that if you need to make a sudden stop or swerve you have enough room and time to do so.
3. Always Be Ready To Stop
Being able to stop quickly and slow down when necessary is a needed skill. When driving a motorcycle, one of the best things you can do is keep your hands in the correct position. When you are pulling up to a stop, at a light or intersection, have your hands positioned over the front and rear break handles. This allows for an easier stop and a quick sudden reaction if needed. Now do not drive like this all the time as it can cause unintended breaking; however, be prepared to slow down so you can avoid obstacles and hazards.
4. Road Positioning Can Prevent and Cause Accidents
Keeping safe is all about reaction time. By riding near the shoulder of either side of the road you have more room to move. So if something hazardous happens you can swing out of its way and onto the shoulder instead of into another vehicle. Also, always veer the opposite way when going into a curve, thus, if you are going through a left curve stay on the right hand side of your lane and vice versa.
5. Take Additional Motorcycle Safety Courses
Even very experienced riders can have bad habits. Training classes can be quite useful for keeping skills sharp. The Motorcyclist Safety Foundation, for example, offers both rookie and experienced motorcycle-riding classes. Over 400,000 riders sign up for their courses every year.
6. Hire A California Motorcycle Accident Attorney
When you are injured in a motorcycle accident you have a right to a motorcycle accident lawyer. You are well within your legal rights to recover damages for lost wages, hospital care, and pain and suffering. When you are injured it may not always be apparent. Even if you walk away, seemingly fine, contact an attorney. Certain injuries can take time to show up and require later care. In more severe injuries, you can require long hospital stay and rehabilitation that may go beyond your insurance coverage. Aside from recovering, certain injuries can be permanent however, and affect daily living for the rest of your life, and you should be compensated. Lost wages from work add up and you are entitled to recover them. So remember if you are hurt, hire a motorcycle accident attorney, contact The May Firm for a free consultation.