Man driving motorcycle on a highway

How Can You Make Riding a Motorcycle Safer?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The thrill of riding a motorcycle is unparalleled, offering an intimate connection with the road and an exhilarating sense of freedom. Yet, this freedom comes with a responsibility to prioritize safety. As personal injury attorneys at J&Y Law, a prominent Los Angeles-based law firm committed to serving the people of California, we recognize the importance of motorcycle safety. Our personal injury attorneys will explore how you can make riding a motorcycle safer while navigating the dynamic roads of California.

Understanding the Risk Landscape:

Riding a motorcycle presents unique risks due to the absence of protective barriers that cars offer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data indicates that motorcyclists are around 28 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of passenger vehicles per mile traveled. In California alone, motorcycle fatalities accounted for 15% of all traffic fatalities in recent years.

At J&Y Law, our dedication extends to supporting motorcycle riders who’ve been involved in accidents. Our skilled personal injury attorneys understand the complexities of these cases and work diligently to secure compensation for victims. We’re not just legal experts; we’re also passionate about promoting road safety and protecting the rights of riders who have been affected by accidents.

The Importance of Protective Gear

Wearing appropriate protective gear is fundamental to motorcycle safety. A helmet, certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT), is a non-negotiable item that significantly reduces the risk of head injuries. Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveal that helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives in 2017 alone. Here’s a list of protective gear to wear when riding a motorcycle:

  • Helmet: A DOT-approved full-face helmet is essential to protect your head from impacts and reduce the risk of head injuries.
  • Jacket: A sturdy motorcycle jacket made of abrasion-resistant materials like leather or textile with reinforced armor on the shoulders, elbows, and back offers protection against abrasion and impacts.
  • Gloves: Full-finger gloves with protective padding help safeguard your hands in case of a fall and provide a better grip on the handlebars.
  • Pants: Wear pants specifically designed for motorcycling with reinforced areas around the knees and hips. Leather or textile pants offer abrasion resistance and impact protection.
  • Boots: Sturdy, over-the-ankle motorcycle boots with reinforced toe and heel protection provide stability, ankle support, and protection against debris and impacts.
  • Eye Protection: Even if your helmet has a visor, it’s a good idea to wear shatterproof sunglasses or a clear visor to shield your eyes from wind, dust, and insects.
  • Body Armor: Some riders choose to wear additional body armor under their jacket for extra impact protection on the chest, back, and shoulders.
  • Rain Gear: Depending on weather conditions, waterproof and windproof rain gear can help you stay dry and comfortable during wet rides.
  • Ear Protection: Long exposure to wind noise at high speeds can damage your hearing. Consider wearing earplugs designed for motorcycling to reduce noise levels.
  • Reflective Gear: Wearing reflective clothing or accessories increases your visibility, especially when riding at night or in low-light conditions.

Remember that the quality and fit of your protective gear are crucial. Invest in gear from reputable brands that meet safety standards and ensure that it fits snugly without restricting movement. Always prioritize your safety while riding a motorcycle.

Safe Riding Techniques

Adopting safe riding techniques can substantially enhance your safety on the road. Defensive riding, which involves anticipating potential hazards, can make a world of difference. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), approximately 40% of multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents involve a car turning left while the motorcycle is going straight, indicating the importance of remaining vigilant and cautious.

Proper Maintenance

Regular motorcycle maintenance is more than just keeping your bike in good shape; it’s a matter of safety. Faulty brakes, worn-out tires, and other mechanical issues can lead to accidents. The IIHS found that motorcycles with anti-lock brakes (ABS) are 31% less likely to be involved in fatal crashes.


Being visible to other road users is crucial. Opt for bright and reflective clothing, especially when riding during low-light conditions. A study by Hurt, et al. found that the failure of other road users to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the primary cause of motorcycle accidents.


Investing in ongoing rider training and education can significantly enhance your skills and safety. The California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) offers comprehensive training courses aimed at improving rider competence and confidence.

Riding Under the Influence:

Riding a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only illegal but also significantly impairs your ability to operate your bike safely. NHTSA data shows that in 2019, 26% of fatally injured motorcycle riders had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

The Role of J&Y Law

At J&Y Law, we understand that even the most cautious riders can fall victim to accidents caused by negligent drivers. Our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys is dedicated to assisting motorcycle accident victims and their families in California. We offer a compassionate and expert approach to legal proceedings, ensuring that victims receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries and damages.

Staying Informed: Legislation and Regulations

Staying informed about state-specific motorcycle laws is essential for every rider. As an example, in California, riders are required by law to:

  • Wear a helmet at all times while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
  • Use daytime headlights for increased visibility.
  • Avoid lane-splitting (riding between lanes of traffic) at speeds exceeding 10 mph.
  • Possess a valid Class M1 license, indicating they have passed the required motorcycle skills test or taken an approved motorcycle training course.

Understanding these laws not only ensures compliance but also contributes to safer riding practices.

Utilizing Advanced Safety Technology

Advancements in technology have led to the development of safety features tailored to motorcycles, such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), traction control, and electronic stability control. Embracing these technologies can enhance your ability to navigate challenging road conditions.

J&Y Law Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Riding a motorcycle can be a source of exhilaration and adventure, but safety should always be paramount. By wearing proper protective gear, adopting safe riding techniques, practicing proper maintenance, and being vigilant on the road, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with motorcycle riding. In the event of an accident, remember that J&Y Law stands ready to provide unwavering support. Our expertise in personal injury law and commitment to justice can be your shield against the aftermath of unfortunate accidents, ensuring that your rights are protected and your voice is heard. Contact us today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.