As a matter of size and protection, operating a motorcycle has always been more dangerous than using a car, and in California, this is even more true. As one of the states with the most riders, motorcycle accidents are common, accounting for more than six times as many injuries and fatalities as other motorists.
There are many factors that contribute to how dangerous operating a motorcycle can be, from the lack of external safety features (such as the frame of a car) to driving without a helmet. However, motorcyclists and the drivers they share the road with can make intentional choices to increase safety for everyone on the roadway.
Here is an overview of the top California motorcycle safety tips for 2023 to keep motorcyclists and the people around them safe as they drive.
Distracted driving is a significant problem nationwide, and it disproportionately affects motorcycle riders. As many as 49% of motorcycle accident fatalities that occur in the Los Angeles area can be attributed to driver distraction.
Distracted driving comes in many forms; checking one’s phone, texting, and taking phone calls are the most frequent that come to mind, but even changing the radio station, eating, or manually adjusting mirrors can qualify. When a driver is distracted, their reaction time increases.
Stop Completely Each Time
California is a busy place, and people consistently struggle to arrive at their destinations on time due to traffic congestion. In an effort to alleviate wait time, many motorists drift through a stop light or sign rather than making a complete stop.
However, stopping fully provides enough time to adequately evaluate the environment and ensure that the way forward is safe. Stop completely each time to increase safety.
Double Check Your Surroundings
When making a traffic maneuver such as changing lanes, it is important to check your surroundings more than once. If you look at the flow of traffic then look at another point, be sure to check back to the first point before you move.
On average, people who think they have looked away from the road for a second or less have actually been looking away for around five seconds—enough time to travel the length of a football field. Traffic patterns can change significantly during this time.
Know Your Blind Spots
One of the most common motorcycle accidents arises when a vehicle is not aware that a motorcycle is in their blind spot and attempts to merge, thus colliding into the motorcycle.
Be aware of all the blind spots on your vehicle, and check them each time that you attempt to move. Motorcycles have blind spots as well; the onus of responsibility for this measure falls on both parties.
Use Your Turn Signal
Turn signals are used to indicate what a vehicle operator intends to do, not what they are doing in the immediate. Use your turn signal each time you plan to make a maneuver ensuring the traffic around you understands your intention, providing sufficient time for other drivers to react.
Slowing down for a turn before utilizing a signal does not clearly indicate what is about to happen. Use your turn signal before braking, merging, or doing any intended action.
Use Safety Gear
Whether the driver operates a car, truck, or motorcycle, they should use all safety gear available to them. For enclosed vehicles, this includes the seat belt. For motorcycles, this includes approved helmets and appropriate clothing. These are all made to reduce the likelihood of a traffic fatality.
Stay as Visible as Possible
Motorcycles are among the smallest vehicles on the road, and it is the responsibility of those operators to stay as visible as possible. Wear reflective, bright clothing to make other drivers aware of your presence. Actively avoid driving in the blind spots of other vehicles, and leave sufficient space between your motorcycle and the next vehicle.
Commit to Regular Training
Motorcyclists can benefit from continued education on how to safely operate their vehicle. California offers educational programs and training to riders on the best ways to stay safe on the road.
These can also provide resources on the safest types of helmets and other important information that is being changed and adapted consistently. Participation in these programs may allow the driver’s insurance company to decrease rates as an additional benefit.
Get Legal Help for Your California Motorcycle Accident
Riding a motorcycle in California is more dangerous than driving a car or truck, but all motorists have options for decreasing risks. Unfortunately, accidents still happen.
If you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident in California, the legal team at Lehr Law can help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case. Contact Lehr Law to schedule a consultation today.