Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous for a number of reasons. From being very exposed with little protection, to being three times smaller than other vehicles on the road, motorcyclists are very vulnerable to motorcycle accidents and injuries. According to the National Safety Council, there were 5,932 motorcycle fatalities in 2021, and the death rate has increased by 29% over the last 10 years. Needless to say, it is important for motorcyclists to practice defensive driving tactics in order to protect themselves from being involved in a serious accident.

Inspect Your Motorcycle

The first thing you should do before hopping your motorcycle is to conduct a quick inspection of your bike to ensure that you are not vulnerable to any machine errors. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has created an inspection checklist for you to use prior to riding. The checklist includes making sure your tires are pumped, ensuring your handlebars have full mobility, and looking to see if all of your lights work.

Wear Protective Gear

One of the most vital steps a motorcyclist can take to protect themselves is to wear protective gear while riding. Studies show that wearing a helmet can significantly decrease the likelihood of an individual suffering from a severe head injury, such as a traumatic brain injury. In 2017, it was reported that helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives, further proving how beneficial helmets can be. When purchasing a helmet, it is important to get one that is DOT-certified, meaning that it is compliant with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS). Additionally, you want to make sure that it fits your head properly, otherwise the use of a helmet will be ineffective. Beyond wearing a helmet, you are also encouraged to wear goggles, boots, gloves, and clothing that covers your entire body to ensure that you are fully protected in case you fall. 

Familiarize Yourself With The Route

Another defensive driving tactic you can take is to familiarize yourself with the roads you most commonly drive on. If possible, you will want to try and plan out and memorize the directions of the route you are taking. This will allow you to concentrate more on the road rather than your GPS, which can be very distracting and dangerous. Distractions often lead to motorcycle accidents, of which a Van Nuys motorcycle accident attorney can provide legal guidance.  

Stay Visible

One significant issue with riding motorcycles is that they can sometimes be hard for other drivers to see given their size. This issue becomes even more problematic when driving at night. Therefore, it is important for motorcycle riders to wear reflective and bright colored clothing in order to increase their visibility and chances they will be seen by others on the road. In addition to using clothes to help remain visible, it is also important that motorcycles steer clear from riding in blindspots of other vehicles, if possible. 

Ride With Confidence

While there are many steps that can be taken to help ensure your safety as a motorcycle rider, one of the most meaningful things you can do is to ride with confidence. Hesitancy on the road can unfortunately be fatal, and one split second of indecision can make the world of a difference. Therefore, whatever actions you take on the road, whether you are switching lanes or making a turn, do so with confidence and assertiveness.