Top tips for motorcycle safety

If motorcyclists get in an accident, they are more likely to get hurt than those in a car, which is why safety is so important.

Seeing motorcyclists on Illinois roads is not uncommon during the warmer months. However, being on a bike can be dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in a year's time there were 27 times more deaths per mile traveled for those who drove motorbikes than those in a four-wheeled vehicle. Everyone on the road can play a part in decreasing motorcycle-related deaths, including the riders themselves.

Drive defensively

There are a lot of hazards that bikers face, but other drivers represent one of the biggest dangers. In accidents that involve a car and a motorcycle, the car driver is at fault 60 percent of the time states Consumer Reports. For this reason, motorcyclists need to remain alert. Riders should avoid tailgating, watch for cars switching lanes and stay out of blind spots.

Be aware of the conditions

Bikers need to know when sand is on the road, where potholes are and when bad weather is approaching. These obstacles, which are minimal for those in a covered vehicle, can be life threatening when on a two-wheeled vehicle. Drivers should always check the weather forecast before going out, and keep their eyes on the road ahead to better prepare for potential hazards.

Find the right bike

Some riders may want to buy a big, fast bike. However, it is important that everyone find a ride that fits them well. This could mean starting out with a model that has a 250- to 300-cc engine rather than something larger. While a big motor is not always a bad thing, it can make a motorcycle harder to handle.

Bikers should also take the time to make sure their new mode of transportation fits them well. Getting a bike that is too heavy, tall or long can make driving a lot harder. As people shop for a new Harley or Ducati, a few tests should be done before making a purchase, including the following:

  • Sit on the bike, and keep both feet flat on the ground.
  • Move the motorbike off of the kickstand.
  • Reach for the handlebars and all of the important controls.

If any of these tasks cannot be completed with ease by the rider, the motorcycle might not be right.

Wear protective gear

Finally, motorcyclists can increase their own safety by wearing the proper protective gear. Most people realize that wearing a helmet is a good way to keep their heads safe in case of a collision, but wearing gloves, boots, long-sleeved shirts and pants can be just as important. For example, if a bike tips over onto someone's foot, a boot might guard against broken bones and excessive cuts.

Driving on a motorcycle in Illinois, or anywhere, can be dangerous. If an accident does take place, it may be beneficial to talk with a knowledgeable attorney.