Noble McIntyre on June 10, 2014
A long ride on your motorcycle on a summer day or evening can make you feel free as a bird, but don’t let that cause you to forget what’s really important: your safety. According to the CDC, although motor vehicle-related crash deaths are heading towards an all-time low in the United States, motorcycle crash deaths have reached an all-time high. In the early 2000s, there were more than 34,000 motorcyclist fatalities and 1,222,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal motorcycle injuries. Motorcyclists will never be immune from suffering crashes, but there are things that you can do to improve your motorcycle safety while on the road:
Each state creates its own helmet laws; in Oklahoma, the law requires that any rider under 18 wear a helmet. However, for your own safety, it is essential that you wear a helmet, whether the state requires it or not. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in 2008, 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives were saved by helmets. Over 800 more would have been saved if the rider had been wearing one.
Just like you wouldn’t drive a car after drinking, don’t ride a motorcycle after drinking, either. Studies show that fatalities in alcohol-related crashes are increasing, and that includes motorcycle riders. If you’ve been drinking, find another ride home.
When you ride, your attire should include:
Your clothes should be brightly colored, and can include a reflective orange or yellow vest that you could wear over your jacket. Or, use retro-reflective material on your clothes, helmet or motorcycle in order to be more effectively seen by other drivers at night. Many car/motorcycle crashes occur because the driver did not see the motorcycle rider in the dark.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation can provide additional resources for learning to ride a bike safely, and can help you find a rider course near you. Rider courses are the best way to learn how to safely operate a motorcycle and use good judgment when out on the road.