Each year, the city of Pittsburgh and state of Pennsylvania have their fair share of motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are because other drivers do not pay attention, do not check their blind spots, do not follow traffic laws and speed limits, or simply do not care about the well-being of motorcyclists. If you are a motorcycle rider, you need to be prepared at all times for an accident by practicing defensive riding.
Defensive riding is very important for motorcyclists because it can help keep them and others that they share the roads with safe and harm-free. In 2021, there were 226 motorcyclist fatalities and 3,361 motorcyclist injuries in the state of Pennsylvania, which was an 8.9 and 13.6 percent increase from the previous year. Therefore, with around 800,000 licensed motorcyclists and close to 400,000 registered motorcycles in our state, defensive riding may be able to save lives and prevent serious injuries.
So today, we offer nine tips for Pittsburgh motorcycle riders:
- Always wear your helmet and protective clothing.
Wearing a helmet is one of the smartest things a motorcycle rider can do. The reason for this is because motorcyclists do not have seat belts, air bags, or a protective shield like passenger vehicles do. If you are riding a motorcycle, you should always keep your helmet on in the event you are involved in a motorcycle accident. In addition, you want to make sure that you are wearing the proper protective riding gear, such as a leather jacket with padding, gloves, riding pants, boots, and goggles. This clothing will protect your body during a motorcycle accident.
- Never look at your phone while riding your motorcycle.
Although you may be tempted to check your phone or answer a call while riding your motorcycle, it is highly recommended that you refrain from doing this. In fact, you should not participate in any activity that may distract you while riding a motorcycle, such as eating, drinking, or changing the radio. This will only cause you to lose focus and make a mistake, which can lead to a wreck.
- Always follow the posted speed limits.
When you are on a motorcycle, you should never drive over the posted speed limits. Even though many motorcyclists enjoy the thrill of riding their motorcycles, it is crucial that you do not speed and always follow the traffic laws put in place for your safety. If you are in a rush, getting to your destination safely is more important than making it on time.
- Do not weave in and out of traffic.
Many motorcycle riders have a habit of weaving in and out of traffic. However, you should refrain from doing this because it can cause passenger vehicle drivers to fail to see you, leading to a sideswipe or other type of collision. Instead, you should just be patient, choose one lane, and stay in it.
- Try not to share lanes.
Since motorcycles are much smaller than other motor vehicles, motorcyclists often will share lanes with passenger vehicles or other motorcycles. However, you should keep in mind that passenger vehicle drivers are not used to sharing lanes with other vehicles, which means that they will most likely not be on the lookout for you. In addition, motorcycles are known to hide in passenger vehicles’ blind spots, making it extremely difficult for the vehicle driver to see you. Therefore, it is suggested that you remain in your own lane, giving other vehicles enough room to notice and see you.
- Pay attention to road hazards.
Road hazards are very dangerous for motorcycle riders. For example, icy, wet roads or tree limbs can be deadly for motorcyclists. Therefore, if you notice any possible road hazards, it is highly recommended that you choose a different route or drive very slowly around them.
- Ensure that your motorcycle is properly maintained.
Sometimes, motorcycle accidents happen because the motorcyclist failed to maintain their bike. A few examples of an improperly maintained motorcycle include:
- The tires are bare.
- The oil needs changing.
- The lights do not work.
- The mirror is broken.
- The horn does not work.
You should always inspect your motorcycle and ensure that everything is in working condition before going for a ride. This can prevent any possible accidents from occurring simply because you forgot to take your bike to the shop.
- Look out for car doors.
If you are riding through a city near parked vehicles, it is critical that you watch out for car doors. Many people will open their door when a motorcyclist is driving by, which can cause the motorcyclist to be ejected from their bike. This can lead to a very serious and deadly accident. Therefore, when passing by an area with several parked cars, you should move as far away from the cars as possible to avoid these types of accidents.
- Always assume that vehicle drivers do not see you.
Even though you may assume that a vehicle driver can see you when they are looking right at you, the harsh reality is that many vehicle drivers do not notice motorcycles. This happens so much that there is an actual term for it, which is inattentional blindness. You should always proceed with caution when at an intersection, turning, or even driving close to a passenger vehicle.
The Pittsburgh motorcycle accident lawyers at Carmody & Ging have 60 years of combined experience helping clients who have been in motorcycle accidents. We know and understand that even with the proper precautions and defensive driving techniques, motorcycle accidents still happen. That is why we are here to lend you a helping hand, guide you through the legal process, and fight for your right to the compensation you deserve. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.