Motorcycling in the Pacific Northwest should not end in disaster. Unfortunately, motor vehicle drivers do not always fulfill their duty to drive safely. Careless and reckless drivers can cause deadly motorcycle collisions, as can motorcycle defects and dangerous road conditions. If you were in a motorcycle accident, reach out to a Vancouver motorcycle accident attorney for legal guidance on the next steps. Whether you are a motorcyclist or motorist, you can reduce your risk of getting involved in an accident by following a few safety tips.
Inspect Your Motorcycle
Inspect your motorcycle regularly, especially before long rides. Check all of its parts and components for issues and wear and tear that could point to the need for repairs or replacement. Check the brakes, tires, lights, and fluids before you ride. You should also periodically look your motorcycle model up on the national recall website to ensure you are not riding one that has known defects.
Obey Speed Limits
All motorists should obey posted speed limits in Washington. Speed limits are in place to ensure traffic travels at speeds that are safe for the road conditions and environment. On sharp curves, for example, there are lower speed limits to prevent vehicles from careening off the road. Motorists are also required to drive at a speed that is “safe for conditions.” This may mean less than the posted speed limit in dangerous situations, such as if it is raining.
Pay Attention to the Road
No driver or motorcycle rider should ever drive while distracted. The driving task requires 100 percent of a driver’s attention. Driving or riding a motorcycle while texting, talking on the phone, looking at a map, adjusting the radio, reading billboards, eating or drinking, rubbernecking, or daydreaming increases the risk of an accident. A distracted driver may not notice changing roadway situations, such as a stopped vehicle or crossing pedestrian, in time to hit the brakes.
Look Behind You
As a motorcyclist, you are at risk of suffering serious injuries if you are rear-ended by a motor vehicle. You may be able to protect yourself from this type of accident by checking behind you when you come to a stop. Look in your mirrors at a vehicle approaching from behind. If it does not appear to be slowing down or stopping, pull to the side quickly to reduce your risk of a crash.
Wear Protective Gear
Even if the law in your state does not require a motorcycle helmet, wear one for your own personal safety. Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of suffering a fatal injury by about 37 percent and a head injury by 69 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Beware of Road Hazards
Motorcycles are more likely to crash than other vehicles when they encounter road hazards such as potholes and uneven road surfaces due to their small size and weight. For this reason, motorcyclists must be vigilant in scanning the road ahead for potential defects and hazards. You should know how to safely and properly maneuver through or around hazards without losing control of your bike.
Don’t Share Lanes
When riding a motorcycle, use a full lane on your own. Never share a lane with a motor vehicle. Lane splitting, or riding a motorcycle on the line between two lanes of same-direction traffic, is illegal in Washington. If you drive a passenger car, do not encroach on a lane that is already occupied by a motorcyclist. Sharing lanes with motorcycles increases the risk of a sideswipe accident.
If you get involved in a motorcycle accident, help is available at the NW Injury Law Center. Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Vancouver can discuss a potential claim with you during a free consultation.