In 2018, there were roughly 57.52 fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles. Moreover, in the same year, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely to die than passenger car occupants, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). So, if you’ve found this article, we’re going to assume that you’re a newbie to the two-wheel gang. If so, you’re probably wondering what you should know before riding a motorcycle–lest you want to end up a statistic.
Continue reading for some pro-riding tips by our Las Vegas Motorcycle Accident Attorney.
What you should know before riding a motorcycle
As indicated above, operating a motorcycle is an undeniably dangerous activity, which is also the reason why it is so fun. We are not going to sit here and tell you not to ride one, as our lead attorney, Brian Boyer, thoroughly enjoys riding them himself. So, if you’re new to the world of motorcycles, we are going to provide some pointers on what you should know before riding one in the form of “do’s” and “don’ts” to keep you as safe as possible on your rides.
DO set yourself up with Under Insured Motorist Coverage for your motorcycle
You are required to have insurance in order to operate a motorcycle on the roadways in Nevada. It doesn’t cost much more to get Under Insured Motorist Coverage, which can be a life-saver if you are involved in an accident involving your motorcycle. It is a safe bet that a majority of the drivers on the road only have the state minimum policy limits, which in Las Vegas is only $25,000.00 per claimant. If you get under insured motorist coverage, you can cover your medical bills and pain and suffering if the $25,000.00 is not enough (it isn’t).
When shopping for Under Insured Motorist or even Uninsured Motorist policies, the simple rule of thumb is the more the merrier. If you can afford it, get as much coverage as you can because there are very few “minor” motorcycle accidents. It is not uncommon for riders involved in motorcycle accidents to incur six or even seven figure hospital bills.
DON’T underestimate how bad the drivers are in Las Vegas
Unfortunately, it is no mystery that Las Vegas does not have the best drivers in the world. However, the poor driving record of this region is what keeps us in business, so we cannot complain too much. Regardless, you should keep that in mind when you take to the roads on your motorcycle.
Always be on the defense when operating your motorcycle and be aware of the limits of your bike. Obviously, you can get away with a lot more on a Ducati Panigale V4 than you could on a Honda Shadow. Don’t follow too closely to other drivers and cross through every intersection with the assumption that someone is going to blow through the traffic control device. This is call defensive driving and is the simple assumption that everyone else on the road does not know what they are doing.
You should DO regular maintenance on your bike
I am a big fan of getting your hands dirty when it comes to maintaining your motorcycle. That way you know the maintenance is done right. Simple things like changing brakes pads, oil, and the tires can be done with little to no mechanical experience. Keeping all bolts to torque specs is important as well and not difficult to do.
If you don’t want to do your own maintenance, at the very minimum, make sure that you keep a log of when the proper maintenance intervals are and have the work done by a reputable
mechanic. Motorcycles are fairly easy to work on and are usually much cheaper to have overhauled than a car. So keep that in mind if you are ever hesitant to bring it to a professional to be looked at. A poorly maintained motorcycle can be very dangerous.
DON’T ride in bad weather
Riding in bad weather, whether it be wind, rain, snow, or even just extreme cold or heat can be very dangerous. If you are on a light motorcycle, you can feel the wind to a significant degree and it gets more dangerous with the faster you go. It is best to avoid riding in extremely windy situations. Rain can cause slippery surfaces on the road. Extremely hot weather can cause your motorcycle to overheat and malfunction. It can also cause you to overheat and reduce your ability to focus.
Bottom line is that it can be dangerous to ignore potential weather conditions before you ride. This is another reason that having an alternate form of transportation (preferably with four wheels) can help you remain safe if you need to go somewhere in sub optimal weather.
DO wear protective gear
Helmets are extremely important. It is actually illegal to operate a motorcycle without a helmet in Nevada. However, there is not requirement that the helmet be DOT (Department of Transportation) certified, you should still look for helmets that are DOT Certified as they go through rigorous testing for safety. Pay attention to the fit of the helmet as well. Helmets should fit snugly in order to be most effective. Full face helmets (although maybe not as cool looking) are much safer than skull caps. They provide protection of your face in the event of an accident.
The second most important safety item is proper footwear. I have seen even minor motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries when the operator failed to wear the proper footwear. You should wear boots that are designed for motorcycle operation (sorry flip flops don’t cut it here). If you wear proper footwear, your feet will be much safer.
DON’T drink and drive
No matter what you do, do not drink and operate your motorcycle. When you operate a motorcycle, you need to be focused. If you are intoxicated, you will lose your focus and potentially put your life in danger as you will not be able to react to sudden situations as quickly as you could if you were sober. It is also illegal to operate a motorcycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. So stay safe and stay out of jail by staying sober.
DO ride with buddies
Riding with friends helps make you more visible on the road. Having riding buddies can also be useful in situations where your motorcycle malfunctions, as they can help you get to a safe
area. Never go deep off-roading without at least a few riding buddies. In that situation they can make sure that you don’t get yourself stuck in the wilderness in the event of a crash or motorcycle malfunction.
Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to stay safe on your motorcycle. Let us know if you can think of any other useful safety tips.