Know Before You Ride: Motorcycle Safety Tips

42616(2)To many, this is an ideal time of year to live in Phoenix and the surrounding cities. The weather is consistently warm but has not yet hit the brutal heat that comes with summer. Many seasonal activities are popping up across the Valley, kids are in school, and baseball has returned. Some who like this time of year most of all are those who ride motorcycles in Arizona, a sizable and dedicated group of individuals who enjoy the freedom, convenience, and simply joys that come with riding a bike.

If you have spent a decent amount of time in the Valley, you know that traffic can be a big problem, and in some areas, parking can be very difficult. Add to that the ever-fluctuating price of gasoline and you may be able to see some of the practical appeal to riding a motorcycle. If you have been thinking about a bike or if you have ridden previously but it has been a while, keep the following general tips in mind to ensure you remain as safe as possible if and when you do ride and to limit your risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident:

  • Ride Defensively: No matter how you choose to get around, you should do so in a defensive manner. This means anticipating errors by other drivers and being prepared to take evasive action when necessary. However, if you are riding a motorcycle, it is even more important that you ride in a defensive manner as you are less likely to be noticed by other drivers and more likely to be hurt if a collision does occur.
  • Make Regular Inspections: Before you ride, get in the habit of walking around your bike and doing a quick visual inspection. Look at the tires, mirrors, and the chain, belt, or shaft, depending on how your bike runs. If you notice any issues, do not ride but rather have your bike serviced immediately. Failing to keep your bike in optimal condition will present dangers to you and to others who may be riding near you.
  • Look Ahead When Riding: If you are on a motorcycle, you should look ahead and focus on where you want to go. Put simply, if you want to turn right, look to where you want to end up and keep your attention on that spot through your turn. Try to resist the urge to look at the pavement directly in front of your bike and instead focus on a point in the distance, knowing that wherever you fix your gaze is where your bike will drive.
  • Wear Safety Gear: Though it might sound idea to throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt when riding, that choice in attire will do little to protect you if you are involved in an accident. Instead, opt for bike-specific safety gear including a helmet with a face shield, a jacket, and pants. Gloves and sturdy shoes or boots are also advised to give your body as much protection as possible.
  • Familiarize Yourself with Local and State Laws: The legality of your conduct on a motorcycle will be governed in part by local and state laws. It is your duty to know all the applicable laws and to follow them, and failing to do so may lead to legal liability on your part. Be aware that not knowing about a motorcycle law does not give you a right to ignore it so be knowledgeably before you take to the streets.

In Arizona, it is the right of bikers to ride on public roads and no motorist is allowed to threaten that right. If you will be riding, make sure you do everything you can to keep yourself safe. If you do not ride, realize that your conduct will lead to the safety or to the harm of others and make sure you act in a reasonable manner when a motorcycle is near.

Prior Blog Entry:

ATVs Recalled after 160 Reported Fires, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 21, 2016.