Put Emphasis on Safety While Riding a Motorcycle
The summer months mean longer days for motorcyclists to spend riding through Oklahoma’s cities and countryside.
Unfortunately, motorcycles are inherently dangerous because they have less stability than passenger cars, provide no protection in crashes and have a narrow profile that makes them easy for other motorists to overlook. More than one in seven traffic accident deaths in Oklahoma involve a motorcycle rider.
In 2013, Oklahoma recorded 1,541 motorcycle crashes, with 92 of them involving fatalities and 332 causing incapacitating injuries, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office Crash Facts 2013.
The accident statistics underscore the need for motorcyclists to focus on driving safely and other motorists to remain alert for bikers:
- The number of deaths per mile traveled in 2013 was 26 times higher for motorcycles than passenger vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Almost 50 percent of motorcycle crash deaths involve no other vehicle.
- Forty-six percent of 1,746 riders killed in single-vehicle wrecks in 2013 were speeding.
- Forty percent of those killed in single-vehicle motorcycle crashes showed blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or more.
- Twenty-two percent of fatal motorcycle wrecks in 2013 involved collisions with fixed objects compared to 16 percent for deadly passenger car crashes.
- Forty-four percent of motorcycle fatalities involved in two-vehicle crashes in 2013 occurred when the motorcycle was traveling straight, passing or overtaking the vehicle when it turned left.
Our downloadable motorcycle eBook offers helpful information for all Oklahoma motorcyclists including general information about making yourself more visible, a refresher on motorcycle hand signals and seven steps to take after an accident.
Motorcycle Safety News offers these guidelines to ride safely:
Focus on visibility:
- Ride with the understanding that motorists have difficulty seeing motorcycles and reacting quickly.
- Check your headlight and use it day and night while riding.
- Put reflective strips or decals on your motorcycle and clothing.
- Avoid riding in the blind spots of cars and trucks.
- Flash brake lights as you slow down and before stopping.
- Use your horn when you realize a motorist doesn’t see you.
Ride with protective clothing:
- Wear eye protection and a helmet that meets or exceeds federal safety standards.
- Wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet to become more visible.
- Leather and thick clothing can protect your body and limbs in case of a crash.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves and boots that go over the ankles.
Use good mental strategies:
- Continually check the road for changing conditions. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests a Search, Evaluate, Execute strategy to improve safety margins.
- Allow space and time between other vehicles to react to others’ actions.
- Position yourself in lanes to be the most visible to car and truck drivers.
- Be alert for turning vehicles.
- Give a signal before making your next move.
- Don’t weave between lanes.
- Ride defensively, pretending you’re invisible to other drivers.
- Avoid riding when you’re drowsy or tired.
- Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs that could affect your skills.
- Understand and ride by the rules of the road, following the speed limit.
Get well-versed with your bike:
- Take formal training and refresher courses.
- Call 800-446-9227 or go to msf-usa.org to find the nearest Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider course.
- Motorcycling requires skill. Practice developing your techniques to make sure you’re prepared for congested traffic and learn how to handle conditions such as wet or sandy roads, heavy winds and uneven riding surfaces.
Constantly remind yourself to allow space between other drivers and remember motorists often don’t see motorcycles or share the road with them. Be aware that other drivers may see a motorcycle but can’t properly judge their speed and underestimate the amount of time needed to share the road.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle crash caused by another motorist in Oklahoma, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer experienced with handling these types of personal injury cases. You’ll need help navigating the legal system to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve to cover property damage, injuries, pain and even lost work time.
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