Written by Keith V. Trantolo
Riders often believe that safety starts once you get on the road. Yet, the vulnerability surrounding a motorcycle – a two-wheeled design with no enclosure – makes an ordinary accident far worse.
Because of this risk, safe driving habits begin in your garage and extend to every time you travel. What should every rider be alert to?
Knowledge and awareness are the first steps to staying safe:
1. Take a Motorcycle Training Course: Inexperienced drivers benefit from these classes geared toward motorcycle riding. Yet, even those who haven’t stepped on a bike in a while could use a refresher.
2. Always Inspect Your Bike: Never take a motorcycle on the road if it’s less than its best. As such, check its tire pressure and its parts for leaks, broken wires, cracks, damage, and loose chains or belts.
3. Have a Helmet: While helmets are optional for adults above the age of 17 in Connecticut, it’s recommended that the driver and any passengers wear a DOT-compliant helmet that fits and fastens correctly.
4. Have Protective Gear: Not covering all of your skin exposes you to road rash if you crash and hit the pavement. To prepare, drivers should be ready with long pants, a vest, chaps, a riding jacket, boots, gloves, face protection, and eye protection, such as safety glasses.
5. Ensure It’s Reflective: You want to remain visible to other motorists, so, regardless of the time of day you head out, make sure your clothing and vehicle have reflective materials added.
6. Evenly Load Your Saddlebags: Always make sure to evenly distribute your supplies between sides and place your heavier items on the right.
7. Always be Sober: Never consume an alcoholic beverage before getting on your bike.
8. Be Prepared With Rain Gear: Whether you have a separate jacket or even a plastic bag, have a backup plan for whenever cold and wet weather hits.
9. Have Proper Motorcycle Insurance: Never go out onto the road uninsured. Along this line, if you have insurance on a custom bike, make sure you have its value established, just in case anything happens. To do so, get an appraisal, take pictures of the bike, and hold onto all documents.
WHEN YOU’RE ON THE ROAD
Riding a motorcycle is much like taking any other vehicle on the road: Always obey all traffic laws.
Yet, its unique nature requires drivers to:
- Drive with caution any time you’re on an unfamiliar road.
- Never hold or carry anything as you ride.
- Always keep a fair amount of distance between yourself and other drivers.
- Never ride in another motorist’s blind spot. So others know you’re there, flash your lights or honk your horn when passing.
- Never ride between lanes, either to get ahead in traffic or to pass another vehicle.
- Drive in poor weather conditions. Should a storm hit or visibility greatly decrease, pull over and wait until it’s safe to ride.
- Keep riding groups small and spaced out. When you ride together, pass other vehicles one at a time, and only turn in single file.
Even drivers who stay safe may end up in an accident, which, beyond the initial collision, could lead to high medical bills, time off from work, and dealing with a difficult insurance company.
At that point, it becomes essential to pursue a claim, and for understanding the intricacies involving motorcycles, Trantolo & Trantolo is here to help. Not only have we represented many motorcyclists over the years, but several members of our staff ride. Should you find yourself in this situation, give any of our Connecticut locations a call today.