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Burien Personal Injury Attorney W. Tracy Codd: Safety Tips to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident

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From Advertiser Attorney W. Tracy Codd:

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Improving Weather Brings Alarming Increase in Motorcycle Accidents

Safety Tips to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident

The Washington State Patrol recently announced an alarming increase in motorcycle accidents in King County. The announcement came from Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson:

“#Alarming as @wastatepatrol in King County has investigated three motorcycle collisions in the past couple days. Two of which resulted in fatalities and the most recent one in critical injuries. These were rider causing. #RideSafely #HaveYourEndorsement.”

According to a Seattle Times article, it is well documented that motorcycle fatalities are substantially more frequent than auto fatalities. In 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they were 28 times more frequent. In 2017, the most recent year data is available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes, more than twice as many as in 1997.

The accidents jump dramatically as the weather improves, said Johnson, a public information officer for the agency, who is responsible for sending out the news about such incidents.

“We’re not a year-round riding area,” he said. And so you get motorcyclists who haven’t ridden one of the machines for a while.

One of the most recent accidents took place around 8:30 a.m. on June 8, as nine bikes were on Interstate 5, and one lost control at the Southcenter exit, Johnson said. The driver was thrown from the motorcycle and taken to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries. The patrol later reported the cause of the accident was an unsafe lane change.

How to avoid these accidents? Read on.

10 Safety Tips to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident:

  1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
    A common reason for motorcycle accidents involves moments when riders aren’t paying full attention. It’s the same with motor vehicle operators and is due to one primary thing: habitual behavior. Regardless of how long you have been riding a motorcycle, it is important to remember that you are operating a heavy piece of machinery and will be around other people doing the same. Be aware of everything around you including other drivers, road conditions, lighting, hazards in the road, and other factors that could negatively affect your driving experience.
  2. Wear a Helmet
    It is important to wear a helmet every time that you get on your motorcycle to go somewhere. Whether you are taking a ride down the street or across the city, wearing a helmet could be the one object standing between life and death should you get into an accident. Furthermore, it is important to have an additional helmet with your motorcycle at all times for passengers. You should always purchase new motorcycle safety gear. Never buy a used helmet. Used helmets have the potential of being damaged and may not meet the latest safety standards.
  3. Don’t Drink Alcohol or Smoke Marijuana and Ride
    According to the NHTSA, around 50% of all fatal motorcycle accidents that occur across the United States involve alcohol. That number is more than double the number of motor vehicle accidents that result in a fatality from alcohol. The legalization of marijuana will undoubtedly increase the rate of fatal motorcycle accidents as well. There is only one way to prevent drinking, smoking marijuana and riding: Abstain from drinking or smoking marijuana when you plan on riding your motorcycle.
  4. Follow Set Speed Limits and Other Rules of the Road
    Most fatal motorcycle accidents involve speeding. This is especially true when increased speed is applied to motorcyclists trying to take sharp turns and losing control of their bikes. Follow the speed limits and other rules of the road that apply on highways, back roads, and residential areas. This will help to keep you safe and prevent you from being unable to properly turn, running into a pedestrian or vehicle, and hydroplaning. Following the set speed limits on the roads you’re driving will also help you avoid getting in trouble with law enforcement.
  5. Avoid Common Mistakes – Motorcycles and Smaller and Harder to See Than a Car or Truck
    Being aware of and avoiding common mistakes made by motorcycle riders is one way to remain safe on the road. The most common mistake made on the road that involves a motorcycle occurs when a car turns left in front of a motorcycle rider. Other common mistakes include hitting gravel around a corner, entering a corner at too high of a speed, another motor vehicle changes lanes on top of you, getting rear ended by another motor vehicle, and getting hit by an opening car door. The best way to avoid common mistakes is to be aware of them. As a motorcycle rider, it is up to you to develop a sort of sixth sense to motor vehicle operators. Use that sixth sense to remain aware of situations that could negatively affect you and that other drivers may not even consider.
  6. Resist Sharing Lanes with Other Motorcycles
    It is pertinent to your safety and survival to treat your motorcycle as if it were a motor vehicle. You would never see two full-sized cars driving side-by-side on the interstate or in a residential area. Do not think it is acceptable to do so on a motorcycle. Understandably, your bike is much more compact than most motor vehicles. However, that does not excuse you to share lanes and dangerously maneuver through traffic.
  7. Keep Your Motorcycle Properly Maintained
    Motorcycle maintenance is as important as motor vehicle maintenance and should be taken seriously. Make sure you are ready to roll, safely, before hitting the road. Do a quick walk-around the motorcycle and ensure your horn, signals, and other lights are all working correctly. Be sure to also check the chain, belt, brakes, and the tires. Contact a motorcycle mechanic and avoid riding the bike until it is repaired if any of these components aren’t working.
  8. Practice Your Riding Skills
    Honda Motorcycle’s Press Manager, John Seidel, is quoted stressing the importance of keeping your riding skills in impeccable shape. As he says: “There is nothing we could say or advice more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation riding course in your area. That’s critical, absolutely critical.” During a Motorcycle Safety Foundation sponsored class, you learn the basics (or go over them if you are familiar) and also learn advanced techniques including how to use evasive maneuvers to get out of an emergency.
  9. Wear Safe Riding Gear
    Besides a helmet, it is important to wear the right riding gear when getting on your motorcycle. If you get on your bike wearing baggy jeans, sandals, and a loose t-shirt then you’re more likely to get in an accident than if you wear proper gear. There are plenty of factors to consider that you will need protection from including: bugs and other debris on the road, the wind and other weather, and road rash should you get into an accident. There are specifically designed pieces of clothing, such as pants, shirts, eye wear, and shoes, meant for motorcycle riders available in various motorcycle retail stores and online.
  10. Avoid Bad Weather Conditions When Possible
    One thing that is not a friend of motorcycle rides is a wet, slick road. This is especially true if there is a heavy rain after a long period of dry weather. Oils and other debris can accumulate on the roadway and become slippery. A motorcycle’s two tires have much less traction on wet pavement than they do on dry. Moreover, rain or snow can significantly affect a motorcycle rider’s ability to see in front of them. Without windshield wipers, a motorcycle rider’s vision can quickly become obscured by heavy rain, sleet, or snow. If it is absolutely necessary to ride in the rain, take turns slowly and be sensitive with the controls.

If you have a question regarding a motorcycle accident, please feel free to contact us to help you determine the best way to proceed.

Burien attorney W. Tracy Codd is a personal injury lawyer who has been representing persons involved in serious motor vehicle accidents since 1987. Call for a free consultation.


Phone: 206-248-6152

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.TracyCodd.com

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