The weather is getting warmer, and that means motorcycle riders are getting their bikes out of storage, strapping on their helmets, and hitting the open road.

Unfortunately, this also means we are in motorcycle accident season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are more than 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and five times more likely to be injured. Of the crashes that involve another vehicle, over half occur at intersections, and more than two-thirds occur when the other vehicle’s driver does not see the motorcycle.

Before heading out on New Jersey’s busy highways and byways, anyone who is not a rider should take a minute to remember basic safety tips for driving around motorcyclists. In that same vein, motorcyclists should all be extra cautious at the start of this season.

Tips for Travelers

Many drivers are not used to sharing the road with motorcyclists. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you head out on the highways this cycling season.

  • Look Twice – Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles so your brain may not register their presence on the road. Make a habit of looking twice and listening for motorcycles. Remember that a motorcycle may also be more difficult to spot in heavy traffic than a larger vehicle.
  • They are Closer than they Appear – We are all used to seeing the warning on mirrors that objects in them may be closer than they appear, but few people are aware that this same optical illusion also applies when you are looking at a motorcycle — in the mirror or otherwise. Because motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, your brain may suggest that they are further away. This happens because your brain judges distance in part by the size of objects. Be careful about pulling out in front of a motorcycle, even if it looks like it is far enough away to do so safely.
  • Do Not Tailgate Motorcycles – Motorcycles require less stopping distance than other vehicles. Don’t follow them too closely, then end up getting into an accident because you should have applied your brakes sooner than the biker did.
  • Anticipate Unusual Hazards – Hitting a pothole while driving in your car is annoying. Hitting a pothole while riding a motorcycle could be dangerous. Look out for poor road conditions — like potholes, manhole covers, railroad tracks, debris, or slick surfaces — that could cause a motorcyclist near you to wreck.

Reminders for Riders

Riders cannot depend on other drivers to protect them from injury. Everyone must do their part to make cycling safer. Bikers should take into consideration the following tips.

  • Wear a Helmet – In New Jersey, motorcyclists are required by law to wear a DOT (FMVSS 218) approved helmet.
  • Make Yourself Visible – Make it easier for other drivers to see you by wearing bright colored and reflective clothing, turning on your lights, and adjusting your position so you are not spending time in another driver’s blind spot.
  • Drive Defensively – Always drive like the drivers around you do not see you.
  • Consider Taking a Safety Course – The State of New Jersey has approved various safety and skill courses for riders new and old.

We’ve Got Your Back

Although we hope everyone has a safe riding season, if you happen to be in a motorcycle accident this summer, don’t wait! Contact Levin & Malkin PC, experienced motorcycle accident attorneys. Your mode of transportation does not limit the amount you can recover if you have been injured and need help.

Posted in: Car Accidents