For every mile traveled in 2006, a motorcyclist was 37 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger vehicle. That number continues to rise as more people ride motorcycles, but fewer people are educated about properly sharing the road with them. Motorcycle injuries number in the thousands every year. Motorcycle riders must take their safety into their own hands.
As of June 2010, Colorado’s helmet law states that motorcycle riders and passengers who are 17 years of age or younger must wear helmets. While this means you’re not legally required to wear a helmet if you’re a motorcyclist over 17, it’s still a good idea to do so. In the event of an accident, a helmet can prevent serious head trauma, brain injury, and even death. Easy to acquire and easy to use, a helmet is the most basic piece of motorcycle safety equipment. But it’s not the only way to protect yourself.
If you ride a motorcycle, whether you’re the driver or a passenger, it’s essential to wear the proper protective clothing. It’s not enough to put on denim pants and a jacket, with just any type of gloves and shoes. Any store that sells motorcycles or motorcycle accessories and equipment should also have safety gear available. This includes jackets made of abrasion-resistant materials that also feature padding in vulnerable areas, gloves that fasten and help a rider maintain control of the motorcycle, and boots that protect ankles and feet while not interfering with any part of the motorcycle.
Any protective gear you wear should have a minimal number of reflective stripes on it, but the color of the gear itself is also important. If the motorcycle is your primary method of transportation, or you plan to ride at night, it’s better to choose gear in bright colors such as yellow or orange rather than black or dark blue. The more visible you make yourself to other drivers on the road, the less chance there will be of being hit by a car because the driver didn’t see you.
This also goes for the color of the motorcycle. When buying your motorcycle, even though a black one might look great, it’s going to be less visible in low light conditions, even with a bright headlight and taillight. Choose a brighter, more visible color like yellow, or a lighter color of blue or gray. This isn’t always possible, depending on the type of motorcycle. Sportbikes offer more color choices than traditional motorcycles. If you’re unable to increase visibility with the color of the motorcycle, it’s doubly important to do so with your safety gear.
Other than safety gear, the best way to stay safe when riding your motorcycle is to obey all traffic rules. Avoid speeding, ride in marked lanes and not on the shoulder, and stay out of vehicles’ blind spots. Motorcyclists are often hit by vehicles changing lanes because the driver is unable to see the motorcycle when it’s not directly behind or to the side of the car. Ensure that all lights on the motorcycle are functioning properly, and replace them immediately if they burn out or are broken. Finally, never ride while intoxicated. Every year, thousands of motorcyclists are involved in accidents involving alcohol.
Even when you’ve taken every precaution you can take, the possibility of an accident still exists. Poor weather conditions can impede visibility, and some conditions simply can’t be foreseen. If you’re involved in an accident because of faulty equipment, or due to another driver’s negligence, contact a Colorado motorcycle attorney. They will help you understand your rights, and assist you in getting back on the road quickly and safely.