Motorcycle-related fatalities have increased almost 3% between 2006 and 2015 due in large part to the 8% national death peak in 2015 alone. That’s concerning since there are almost ten million motorcyclists registered nationwide, almost 260,000 of which are in Michigan. Spring weather, especially, welcomes riders to hit the pavement in search of freedom and adventure. After a long, cold Midwestern winter you’re probably champing at the bit to ride, but motorcycle safety is paramount. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most of the season without putting your life at risk in the process.
Tune Up Your Ride
After months of snow and below freezing temperatures, any cycle is bound to need some TLC. Just like a car, your bike will need specific checks, tweaks, and fill-ups to be road-ready. Drain, refill, and condition any necessary fluids. Check and change brakes as required. Inflate tires and check for leaks or signs of wear. And be sure to check the battery for corrosion or weak connections. Download Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s inspection checklist to make sure you’re ready to ride.
Update Your Training
Thirty percent of all motorcycle-related fatalities in 2015 involved speeding and 35% of all fatalities were riders over the age of 50. Regardless of how long you’ve ridden, there’s always room for improvement. In fact, many of the most dangerous mistakes are due to common bad habits developed throughout life. The Michigan Rider Education Program caters to all ages and experience levels, so you don’t have to let your pride and ego battle common sense.
SEE and Be Seen
Clear vision is essential for safe riding, but “SEEing” goes above and beyond visual clarity. SEE stands for Search, Evaluate, and Execute. By thinking ahead of time and planning your excursion, SEE becomes an active strategy that reduces risks by helping you save time and gain control. Being seen, on the other hand is a visual act that is essential for all riders. Leather is great, but bright colors and reflective gear work better, especially at night or during inclement weather, to help other drivers see you. That’s not a suggestion to return to the 80s, but consider adding reflective strips to your bike and clothing if you’re riding during those times.
Wear the Right Gear
Not wearing a helmet in Michigan is legal. However, a motorcycle crash is always a violent event. The right helmets are estimated as being 37% more effective in saving the operators’ lives and 41% more effective in saving passengers’ lives. Full coverage helmets provide the most protection, and the DOT sticker guarantees governmental safety requirements are met. Never buy or use a helmet that has been worn in a crash even if no physical damage is apparent. It’s better to pay a bit now than pay a lot later.
Follow the Road Rues and Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Sure, you want to get to your destination quickly, but it’s not worth it to cut corners and end up never getting there at all. Communicate your intentions with other drivers by using the correct lanes, brake lights, and proper signals. If riding in a group, know the leader’s intentions and be ready to accept and exchange hand signals. Winter destroys pavement, so expect potholes, loose gravel, or buckling asphalt. And always be ready to reduce your speed or otherwise adjust during spring showers. If you follow these suggestions, you may never need to call your Michigan motorcycle accident attorney.