For thousands of Californians, there is nothing more enticing than escaping crowded cities or sprawling suburbs and taking to the open roads on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, few recreational activities are as fraught with risk. As the Los Angeles Times reports, California had the second most motorcycle fatalities in 2015. Only Florida had more.
Logic dictates that two groups of riders are at greatest risk for serious or fatal injuries: those who have been riding for so long they take their safety for granted, and those who lack experience. With that in mind, here are some essential safety tips for new riders to prevent Southern California motorcycle accidents.
Stay in your comfort zone
Even the most basic motorcycle is a powerful machine. Therefore, it is important to get a motorbike that suits you. If your goal is simply to ride around the neighborhood until you gain more confidence, one with a smaller engine would be good. If you’re more adventurous, a motorcycle with a bigger engine may be better.
Then there’s the size of the motorbike itself. It’s harder to maintain proper control of a motorcycle that’s too big or too heavy; and if you’re not comfortable, you won’t enjoy riding it to begin with.
Practice makes perfect
To a certain extent, there is no substitute for experience once you’ve gotten your motorcycle license or endorsement. However, some new riders may lack the confidence to tackle crowded streets or highways straight away. Additional training programs give new riders the chance to practice critical skills in a controlled environment. For example, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers several courses that allow you to brush up on the basics. As an added bonus, the successful completion of some courses can help lower insurance rates.
Get the right gear
There’s a lot of emphasis on helmet laws, and with good reason. Wearing the right helmet – one that fits properly and complies with government safety requirements – can literally save your life. However, experts also recommend investing in the right boots, gloves, jacket and pants – all of which also provide protection in the event of a crash or spill.
Use common sense when it comes to the weather
Conditions that are bothersome to most drivers can be especially hazardous for motorcyclists. Specifically, rain and snow hamper visibility and make for slippery roads. Wind gusts can affect your balance and make it more difficult to control your motorcycle. Obviously, it’s best not to ride in bad weather, but if you must do so, use the same precautions as you would in a car:
• Slow down
• Keep more distance between yourself and other vehicles
• Avoid situations in which you are forced to stop or turn abruptly
In a worst-case scenario…
If you have been injured in a crash while riding your motorcycle and you think the other driver was at fault, one of the first and most crucial steps is to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact the Southern California motorcycle injury lawyers at Steinberg Injury Lawyers today at 800-989-6385.