May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Casper Meadows Schwartz & Cook felt it would be helpful to share some important tips that might save your life when riding a motorcycle. Because nearly one-third of fatal motorcycle accidents in the U.S. involve speeding and about 25 percent are due to alcohol, know that you can avoid preventable accidents by traveling at the posted speed limit and not drinking. By taking the necessary precautions before you get on your motorcycle, you can better protect yourself from an accident.

Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in California 

Factors contributing to a motorcycle accident can vary, but some common causes exist. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports that some common contributing factors in motorcycle accident cases, in addition to speeding and driving while under the influence, include: 

  • Distracted driving 
  • Fatigued driving
  • Aggressive or reckless driving 
  • Failure to properly monitor blind spots 
  • Poor vehicle maintenance 
  • Manufacturing defects

Avoid becoming a statistic. Although motorcycle riders are at risk for accidents caused by the negligence of other drivers, motorcyclists can take specific steps to protect themselves from an accident. 

How Can I Make Myself Safer While Riding My Motorcycle?

Wearing a helmet is the best (and perhaps easiest) way to protect yourself on a motorcycle. Additionally, make sure you are road-ready. To receive the proper motorcycle endorsement on your license, you must first pass written and on-cycle tests. Completing a motorcycle rider education course is another means to ensure you have the proper instruction and experience to ride a bike. In addition to these preparatory steps, there are specific safety measures to take before and during your ride to protect yourself: 

  • Wear the proper clothing –  Besides wearing a helmet, consider wearing leather or heavy denim to protect your arms and arms. Not only will this clothing protect you in a crash, but it can also help prevent dehydration. You should also wear boots to cover your ankles and gloves to give you a better grip on the bike. Having some reflective gear will also make you more visible to other drivers.  
  • Complete a pre-ride inspection – Always check the tire tread depth, test your brakes, and ensure headlights and turn signals are operational before riding. Your pre-ride inspection should also include checking for any indication of an oil or gas leak. If you are carrying cargo, be sure to secure and balance the load and adjust the suspension to accommodate the additional weight. 
  • Obey traffic laws – Although you cannot control other drivers’ actions, you can control how you handle yourself on your motorcycle. By obeying traffic lights and signs, driving the speed limit, and riding with the flow of traffic, you can help protect yourself. Do not take risks, and be sure to ride defensively. You can also try to make yourself more visible to other drivers by always using your turning signals. 
  • Stay sober – Riding a motorcycle and drinking don’t mix. Alcohol and other drugs, including some prescription medications, can affect your judgment, coordination, and ability to shift gear. Do not use alcohol, and be sure to be drug-free before getting on your motorcycle. If you are impaired, do not operate any type of motor vehicle. 

Contact a Bay Area Personal Injury Attorney 

If you need a motorcycle accident attorney in Contra Costa County or the Bay area, call Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook. If the accident was not your fault, you may receive money for unexpected hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our personal injury attorneys offer a personalized approach to each case. Through strong legal advocacy and diligent preparation, we will help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact our motorcycle accident lawyers for a free consultation to get started with your case.