Gear up for motorcycle safety awareness month

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Motor vehicle accidents |

West Virginia is a motorcyclist’s dream. Curving roads weaving through the mountains, and sweeping views of deep gorges make riding on two wheels an adventure.

As we head into the warmer months, thousands of motorcycles will take to busy highways and rural roads. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, so here are some safety tips for motorcyclists and motorists who are getting ready to share the road.

Shared responsibility for roadway safety

Both novice and expert riders should participate in the Basic Rider Course that West Virginia’s Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers. No matter your experience level, there’s always something new to learn. Motorcycle safety courses can sharpen your riding skills and offer insights into avoiding common road hazards.

A common saying among motorcycle riders is, “Dress for the slide, not the ride.” Therefore, you will want to invest in the proper riding gear, which includes:

  • Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet
  • A high-quality jacket (Leather offers the best protection.)
  • Pants
  • Gloves
  • Boots

In addition, your clothing should be reflective so that you are more visible to others on the road, especially at night.

Keeping your motorcycle well maintained with regular brake, tires, lights and fluid check-ups can prevent breakdowns and accidents. Make it a habit to perform a quick inspection before every ride.

What drivers can do

Motorists must also do their part to be mindful of motorcycles on the road since they have a smaller profile and can easily disappear in a vehicle’s blind spot. Do a double-check of mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or making turns.

Keep a safe following distance when you come upon a motorcycle. The rider may need to quickly adjust their speed to avoid road hazards like potholes, wet pavement or debris.

Signaling your intentions is crucial for safety. Using your turn signal well in advance allows motorcyclists to adjust their speed and position safely.

Motorcyclists don’t have the added protection of car doors and roofs, so they are at increased risk of catastrophic crashes. It’s imperative that everyone safely share the road. If you are injured in an accident, they may be able to receive compensation for medical costs and other expenses and damages.