The best things you can do to prevent accidents and injuries are to be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively. Wear the proper gear, take a motorcycle safety class and learn about the most common types of motorcycle accidents. You should fully insure yourself and your bike, including uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance if your bike is not paid for.
If you’re in a crash, keep your motorcycle accident checklist with pen and camera handy so you get all the details you will need to follow up with an expert afterwards.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, there are a few things you should do immediately if you’re able to. If you’re uninjured and your bike has been moved out of traffic, complete the following checklist before to ensure you obtain all the information you need.
The information obtained from the accident checklist will be helpful if you need to file an insurance claim or experience any injuries.
ASSESS THE SITUATION
GET OFF THE ROAD
SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT
GET AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
CALL RUSS BROWN MOTORCYCLE ATTORNEYS® FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
No matter how careful and prepared a rider you may be, there are a lot of drivers on the road now who are not paying attention to their surroundings. They’re texting, eating, navigating and in general, taking their eyes off the road. A resulting collision can mean serious injuries to motorcyclists and damage to your bike. It is very rare that an injured motorcyclist is able to get his bills paid, get reimbursed for lost wages and otherwise be made whole for his injuries when the automobile driver only has $15,000 in liability insurance. When you get minimum coverage you’re taking a huge gamble and putting your ability to recover after an accident in a complete stranger’s hands. A surprising number of drivers have no insurance. We as riders, need to depend on ourselves and protect ourselves accordingly.
Motorcycle Insurance requirements vary from state to state so the best person to give you insurance advice is your insurance broker (we do not sell insurance) but here are some insurance basics:
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)
Additional Collision Coverage
Contrary to popular belief, almost all accidents involving a motorcycle are NOT the result of carelessness by the motorcyclist. Most of the individuals involved in these accidents sustain severe injuries and the cases could take many years to reach a judgment. It can be impossible for someone who had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident to support themselves financially during the lengthy process of the lawsuit. Bottom line is get the best coverage you can afford; your future comfort and livelihood may depend on it.
Aside from the most obvious injuries that can occur without the proper gear, road rash can be extremely painful. Suit up every time. No exceptions.
D.O.T. Helmet– certified by the Department of Transportation
- Novelty helmets don’t do a thing, and brain injuries are life-changing.
- Wearing a non-DOT helmet is a huge risk, not only to your head but it can also reduce your recovery.
- Most importantly, if you wear the right helmet, you are 3 times more likely to survive a head injury
- Keep it securely fastened or it may come off your head before it gets a chance to protect you
Face or Eye Protection
- In most states, eye protection is required unless your motorcycle is equipped with a protective windscreen
- Leather or Kevlar, protective body armor for entire body.
- Motorcycle gloves
- Steel toed boots that come up over your ankle are best.
- Heels should be short so they do not catch on rough surfaces
- Tuck in your laces so they won’t catch on your motorcycle
Tools & Emergency supplies
- Jumper cables, mini battery charger
- BAM card for when you are riding alone
- Accident checklist, pen, & camera
As it is true with most things in life, the key to preventing motorcycle accidents is to be knowledgeable and prepare for emergencies before they occur. We recommend every rider take motorcycle safety classes and stay up-to-date on your state and federal motorcycle laws. Another way to prevent accidents from happening is to be aware of the common types of accidents that occur to bikers across the country. Read our accident scenarios below and watch out for these instances while on the road.
All these tips combine with our accident checklist to help you enjoy fun, stress-free rides.
BEST PRACTICES FOR MOTORCYCLISTS
- Ride to your abilities
- Avoid freeway and canyon riding until you are experienced enough to do so
- Avoid riding in inclement weather
- Be visible with the proper clothing and a working headlight
- See our Gear List
- Communicate your intentions with proper signals, brake light, and lane position
- Maintain an adequate space cushion
- Scan your path of travel
- Identify and avoid hazards such as:
- Erratic drivers
- Potholes and road erosion
- Roads slick from rain or ice
- Wet leaves and other debris
- Be prepared to act
- Don’t drink and ride
- Even if justified don’t provoke someone in a vehicle, report them instead
COMMON ACCIDENT SCENARIOS
- Watch for motorists making sudden left hand turns. This is the most likely scenario for a motorcycle accident to occur.
- Lane Changes
- Coming in and out of driveways
- Excessive speed
- Lane sharing
MOTORCYCLE SAFETY COURSE
Even experienced riders can benefit from taking a professional Motorcycle Safety class. Instructors share a multitude of practical tips to improve your riding skills and the latest bike handling tricks. It’s never a bad idea to have a refresher class and increase your knowledge and awareness on the road. Most courses provide both classroom style instruction as well as hands-on riding courses in off-road, controlled environments.
You learn and refine the following skills:
- Using the clutch friction zone for control
- Progressive brake pressure to stop without skidding
- Counterweight techniques
- Low-speed maneuvering
- Limited space maneuvers
- Techniques for crossing over obstacles
- Proper curve judgement
- Leverage for lifting heavy bike techniques