Man about to ride a motorcycle on dirt road.

How to Ride a Motorcycle Defensively to Prevent Accidents

  • Feb 20 2020

Motorcycles are popular in California. Many individuals prefer motorcycles to cars, especially in areas with heavy traffic because lane-splitting is not illegal in California. Riders can move through traffic jams when other motorists are stopped. Unfortunately, thousands of people are injured and killed in motorcycle accidents each year. As experienced California motorcycle accident attorneys, we understand that riders cannot control weather conditions, road conditions, or other motorists. However, driving defensively can help prevent motorcycle accidents. 

Five Defensive Driving Tips for California Motorcyclists

1. Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes. When you are riding your motorcycle, avoid all distractions, including cell phones. Keep your attention focused on the road in front of you, including other vehicles. You never know when a motorist might turn left in front of a motorcycle, merge into your lane, or pull out in front of you.

2. Use Caution When Lane-Splitting

When lane-splitting, use extra caution and pay close attention to the vehicles in both lanes. As you pass vehicles, you enter the driver’s blind spot. A driver may not see your motorcycle when changing lanes. Watch for signs that a vehicle might be merging into the other lane. Also, be familiar with the rules and laws for merging.

3. Wear Motorcycle Helmets and Protective Gear

Wearing a motorcycle helmet and protective gear may not prevent an accident, but it can reduce your risk of death or serious injury because of a motorcycle accident. It is estimated that wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of a head injury by 69 percent. Wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of death by 37 percent. California requires all motorcyclists and passengers to wear a U.S. DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet when riding a motorcycle. 

4. Maintain Your Motorcycle

A well-maintained motorcycle can help prevent a crash. Make sure that your brakes and lights are in good working order. Check your tire pressure, especially before and after long rides. Low tire pressure is a common cause of tire failure and wobbling. It also impacts how the bike handles, which can be a contributing factor in a motorcycle crash.

5. Make Sure People See You

Motorcycles are much smaller than passenger vehicles. Therefore, many motorists “overlook” motorcycles. They claim they did not “see” the motorcycle. You can help make sure that people see you by using your lights during the day and at night. Wear brightly colored clothing and motorcycle helmets. Choosing a motorcycle with bright colors can also increase your visibility. If someone is following too closely, tap your brakes several times. Adding auxiliary lights can also increase your visibility to other drivers. 

Contact Our California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys After an Accident

Motorcycle accident claims can be difficult. Insurance companies aggressively defend claims involving motorcycles. Contact us today for a free consultation with a California motorcycle accident attorney. Our California motorcycle accident attorneys can help you build a strong case for liability against the driver or the party responsible for causing your motorcycle accident. 

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