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Are Motorcycles Safer Than Cars?

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt road

Southern California is lucky enough to have motorcycle-friendly weather through most of the year but in other parts of the country, bikes are starting to come out of winter storage. Before hitting the road, take time to think about sharing the road safely.

Motorcycles and cars – which are safer?

In a head-to-head collision between cars and motorcycles, there is no doubt that occupants of cars fare better than motorcyclists. Drivers and other occupants of cars, SUVs, and other passengers have the benefit of a sturdy metal cage for protection from impacts, as well as the added stability that four tires provides. But does that make them safer than motorcycles?

Once an accident occurs, cars may be safer than motorcycles, but this overlooks the advantages that a bike has in avoiding an accident. Here are some factors to consider.

Maneuverability

The size and stability of a passenger car offers impact protection but hinders maneuverability. In a quick-decision moment, drivers of cars have limited options for evasive maneuvers.

Motorcycles provide greater agility and acceleration ability when it comes time to avoid a hazard or a sudden pile-up on the road.

Field of vision

Drivers of cars, SUVs, and mini-vans must take into account their blind spots when navigating traffic. Not only that, but dirty windows, head rests from the rear row of seats, and even the dry cleaning hanging hanging from the car roof can impede the driver’s ability to see properly.

Bikers, on the other hand, have little to no obstructions to their vision from their bikes. Even with a full helmet, the driver need only to turn his head to see around the road.

Road immersion

It is an epidemic: drivers are distracted. From checking the latest text message to fiddling with the radio to adjusting the coffee cup lid, drivers in cars are overwhelmingly distracted and distraction is a leading cause of accidents.

Motorcycles encourage riders to stay immersed in the experience of the road. Riding close to the ground at high speed, without comfort controls and a latte at hand, leads motorcyclists to be far less distracted on the road.

Sharing the road safely

Sharing the road is the job of those in cars and on motorcycles alike. Drivers of passenger vehicles can do their part by looking for motorcycles and respecting their space, checking blind spots, and never driving distracted. Motorcyclists can help by riding in the center of the lane, wearing bright clothes or reflective material, and wearing ODOT-compliant helmets.

As motorcycle accident lawyers in Los Angeles, we see the effects of motorcycle and vehicle collisions regularly and advocate for the rights of those injured in motorcycle accidents throughout southern California. No matter what you choose to drive, we at Ellis Injury Law encourage you to be safe on the road.

Additional resources on sharing the road with motorcycles:

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility, However We Get Around, https://www.nhtsa.gov/share-road-pedestrians-bicyclists-and-motorcyclists
  2. Transportation.gov, Consumer Advisory: Safely ‘Share the Road’ with Motorcyclists, https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/consumer-advisory-safely-share-road-motorcyclists

Motorcycle Accident Fatalities Drop in 2017

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt roadDeaths from motorcycle accidents in California fell more than 28% during 2017, according to statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Fatalities from motorcycle accidents were also fewer nationwide year over year, although the drop, at 8.6%, was much less dramatic than in the Golden State.

The numbers fell to 406 deaths from motorcycle accidents in California during 2017 versus 566 in 2016. Nationwide, 4,798 people were killed as a result of motorcycle accidents in 2017 versus 5,251 in 2016.

Although the decrease is cause for celebration, motorcycle riding is still dangerous to life and limb. Deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents occur 28 times more frequently than deaths from other vehicle accidents.

Why Fewer Motorcycle Accidents in 2017?

Why were there fewer motorcycle accident-related fatalities last year? The GHSA points to the ability of the state’s riders to split lanes. While many states have debated letting motorcycles split lanes, only California allows it legally.

Opinions on the safety of lane splitting are not uniform. Clearly, state legislators think it enhances safety, building on University of California, Berkeley researchers, who felt it could be safer if done at appropriate speeds. Their 2015 study found fewer head and torso injuries and fewer deaths in lane-splitting motorcyclists versus those who did not split lanes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also noted that other countries have enacted lane-splitting laws and it seems to have worked well where allowed, reducing congestion and promoting safety, partly because bikers are no longer trapped behind cars.

But opponents believe that lane-splitting increases the chances that motorcyclists can be hit by vehicles changing lanes who overlook them — or are taken unaware by a darting motorcyclist —and that lane-splitting motorcyclists can startle motorists.

The single most important safety measure in driving a motorcycle, of course, is wearing a helmet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that helmets saved more than 1,800 lives in 2016, the last year for which those statistics are available. Helmets cut down on the risk of a fatality by 37%.

Hurt in a Motorcycle Crash? Call for a Free Case Review

The drop in motorcycle accident-related fatalities, both in California and across the U.S., is excellent news. But motorcycle accidents still cause far too many injuries and deaths in southern California and across the nation.

When accidents do happen and tragedy ensues, families have the legal right to compensation for medical bills, hospitalizations, even funerals.

Call an experienced Los Angeles motorcyclist accident attorney at The Ellis Law Firm if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a crash. We have decades of experience winning maximum compensation for injured motorcyclists in southern California. Call us today at 1-800-INJURED for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Bergal, Jenni. “Motorcycle Lane-Splitting: Safe or Scary?” Huffington Post. February 9, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/motorcycle-lane-splitting-safe-or-scary_us_5a7db7efe4b033149e401ce1
  2. Governors Highway Safety Association. Spotlight on Highway Safety. Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State. Preliminary Data, 2017. https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2018-05/ghsa_motorcyclists18.pdf
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motorcycle Safety. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/mc/index.html

11 Motorcycles Every Enthusiast Must Ride

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt road

There’s nothing quite like the first time you fall in love with riding. The thrill of the open road, the freedom of superior maneuvering, and the dynamite acceleration—what’s not to love? The only problem with becoming a motorcycle enthusiast is that there are so many superb motorcycles to ride and so little time. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best motorcycles around, according to your riding preferences.

2 best motorcycles for beginning riders

Beginning riders need to find that middle ground between ridiculously fast sports bikes and ridiculously large cruisers. One excellent compromise is the Kawasaki Ninja 400, which can be yours for just about 5K. It’s a fun, zippy ride perfect for gaining experience.

Or, try the Honda Rebel 500. Honda is known for its reliability, and this newer version of the Rebel 250 is lighter and more stylish.

3 best motorcycles for commuting

Motorcycles are popular among commuters because they aren’t gas hogs, they’re more affordable than newer model cars, and let’s face it—the cool factor is undeniable. Who wouldn’t want to show up at a stodgy office building with a helmet under one arm?

  1. 2017 Ducati Monster 797: Ducati is not a brand known for its affordability or practical, everyday use. The Monster is different. It offers a respectable 75 horsepower twin motor and Brembo brakes, and it can be yours for a hair under 10K.
  2. 2017 Honda CBR500R: Honda makes some fantastic bikes, and this model is no exception. For under $7,000, this bike can be yours, with Honda’s new suspension, intake, and exhaust systems—plus CBR handling.
  3. 2017 Suzuki Vanvan 200: Looking for a snappy-looking retro style for under 5K? You could do far worse than this nostalgically styled Suzuki, which is comfortable enough for daily commutes.

6 best motorcycles for fast riders

Smart motorcyclists always observe the speed limits and the flow of traffic. But even if you aren’t maxing out your bike’s power, it’s thrilling to know what the machinery you’re on is capable of. Here’s a look at some of the fastest motorcycles money can buy.

  1. Dodge Tomahawk: 350 mph (560 km/h). If you’ve ever wanted to ride something that looks similar to the Batcycle used in the newer movies, this is the bike for you.
  2. Suzuki Hayabusa: 248 mph (397 km/h)
  3. MTT Turbine Superbike Y2K: 227 mph (365 km/h)
  4. Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird: 190 mph (310 km/h)
  5. Yamaha YZF R1: 186 mph (297 km/h)
  6. MV Agusta F4 1000 R: 176 mph (299 km/h)

Following the rules of the road and practicing everything you learned in your motorcycle safety courses aren’t always enough to keep you safe. Safety gear helps, of course, but if the driver of a passenger car or big rig fails to see you, you’re probably headed for the hospital.

If you’ve sustained injuries and property damage due to someone else’s mistakes, you need legal representation. Call the Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers at Ellis Law in southern California. We’ll do everything possible to secure just compensation on your behalf. Call toll-free at 888-654-7056.

Additional resources for motorcycle enthusiasts

  1. Forbes, Five “Best” Motorcycles Of 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshmax/2017/12/28/five-best-motorcycles-of-2017/#add48a1bbe9b
  2. Jalopnik, Ten Motorcycles Every Car Enthusiast Should Know, https://jalopnik.com/ten-motorcycles-every-car-enthusiast-should-know-about-1661622284

How to Service Your Motorcycle at Home

motorcycle rider in los angeles california

Southern California is blessed with a longer riding season than most of the country, and those who know the thrill of riding a motorcycle at full speed down a California highway can also understand the danger that riding with unresolved maintenance issues presents. Motorcycle maintenance is necessary, but it does not need to be financially painful. These DIY motorcycle maintenance tips will keep you riding safely.

Review the maintenance manual

The importance of reading the owner’s manual for your bike cannot be overstated. Each make and model has its own requirements and recommendations, and not following these requirements can shorten the life of your bike or even lead to accidents.

Following the manufacturer’s specifications is not just a rule for DIY maintenance. Even if you take your bike to a shop for expert repairs, make sure they have experience with your make.

Motorcycle maintenance owners can perform themselves

Here are some important and do-able maintenance tasks owners can perform on their own, along with tips to get going.

Change the oil

Oil is crucial to keep your bike running, but over time it will break down from heat and become contaminated.

  • Replace the oil and filter according to your manual
  • Start by taking your motorcycle for a short ride to warm it up and speed draining
  • Clean the area to prevent contaminating clean oil
  • Be sure the oil is designed for motorcycles
  • Change the filter
  • Recycle the oil

Service the brakes

Brakes are probably the most important safety feature on a motorcycle. Rregular maintenance is necessary for optimal performance.

  • Check your bike and manual to know whether you have disc or drum brakes
  • Purchase brake pads that meet the thickness specified in the manual
  • Have some zip ties on hand to keep the calipers out of the way while you work
  • Use a screwdriver to push the pistons back into place or there may not be enough room to accommodate the new pads
  • When you bed in the new brakes, be sure the rotor is clean
  • Be careful braking during your first ride after the maintenance while you adjust to the changes in pressure

Check tire condition

A motorcycle’s tires provide key contact with the road and they need to be in proper condition to do their job.

  • Visually inspect the tires for noticeable wear and inflation problems before each ride
  • Check the tire pressure regularly, when the tires are cold; under- or over-inflation can interfere with steering, lead to separation from the rim, or cause other handling problems
  • Tire treads are manufactured with wear bars; when the wear bars are exposed, it is time to replace the tires
  • When you clean the sidewalls, only use mild soap and water; chemical cleaners can degrade the rubber
  • When replacing tires, be sure they match the size, type, load range, and speed index specified in the bike’s manual

Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers

Regular motorcycle maintenance is a necessary part of bike ownership because accidents caused by poor maintenance can be deadly.

Poor maintenance is not the only cause of motorcycle accidents. Sometimes other drivers’ negligence, improper servicing by a professional, or manufacturing defects lead to motorcycle accident injuries. If you have been injured in an accident in California, call Ellis Injury Law today at 1-800-INJURED for a free consultation with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer.

Additional Motorcycle Maintenance Resources:

  1. Motorcycle Cruiser, How To: Keep Your Bike Alive with Routine Motorcycle Maintenance, https://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/how-to-keep-your-bike-alive-with-routine-motorcycle-maintenance
  2. Motorcycle Industry Council, Tire Guide: All you need to know about street motorcycle tires, https://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/MIC_Tire_Guide_2012V1.pdf

How Hard Is It to Learn How to Ride a Motorcycle?

motorcycles on the roadIt takes more than the call of the open road and a leather jacket to ride a motorcycle. Learning to handle yourself on a motorbike can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Here are answers to some common questions posed by budding motorcycle enthusiasts.

Where do you start to learn how to ride a motorcycle?

First, prospective motorcyclists should realize that just because you can drive a car or ride a bicycle does not mean you can ride a motorcycle. Hopping on a motorcycle and practicing by yourself is not a recommended practice for beginners. Motorcycles are complex machines. Some of the maneuvers, such as turning, are quite different than they are on a bicycle or a car!

If you don’t learn to drive properly, it can be dangerous. Motorcycles are huge and heavy. You are not protected by cushions and metal the way you are in a car. One simple move, frankly, if it’s the wrong one, can be enough to kill you, or someone else.

You should learn how to drive a motorcycle from the ground up. Fortunately, there are many great places to learn.

One good place to start is with beginning courses at a reputable organization, such as the U.S. Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). They offer courses that combine learning the rules of the road and getting hands-on practice under the eye of a trained instructor.

What is the process like?

 A good beginning course, such as MSF’s, will start with educational material. You’ll learn the basics of motorcycle organization, plus the rules of the road.

After that, you can generally take the Division of Motor Vehicles exam.

Then, you take practice runs in a safe place, such as a large deserted parking lot, with a trained instructor. It’s done just like many people learn to drive a car. You practice driving straight, braking, turning, and other basic maneuvers.

After that, you practice in traffic, also under a trained instructor’s eye.

Then, it’s necessary to practice on your own. Again, a workable analogy is learning to drive a car. You could drive after you obtained a learner’s permit, but you still needed practice.

How long does it take to learn how to ride a motorcycle?

The basic rider’s course through the MSF takes 20 hours to complete, evenly split between coursework and hands-on driving experience.

You must also read on your own to take the DMV exam, brush up on the material, and so on.

People vary in the amount of practice they need to become fully proficient at maneuvering a motorcycle and riding it. Expect it to take more than 20 hours! Your safety is more important than anything else. You need to practice riding until you know how to do everything well enough to be safe.

How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

If you have learned to ride a bicycle and drive a car, you will be able to learn to ride a motorcycle. Know, though, that it is different than those activities. Turning will be more difficult. You will need to always wear a helmet and practice safety precautions.

But millions of people have learned to ride, and so can you!

If You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

Motorcycling is a great activity. However, motorcycle accidents can severely injure riders and passengers. Motorcycle riders are not cushioned like vehicle riders are, and other vehicles often don’t pay sufficient attention to motorcycles on the roadway.

If you or a loved one needs a motorcycle accident lawyer in southern California, we can help.

Ellis Injury Law has been successfully litigating motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. Let us help you with our expertise.

Contact us today at 1-800-INJURED for a complimentary consultation. We accept no fees unless we win money for you!

Additional Resources on Learning to Ride a Motorcycle:

  1. Learning to Ride Your First Motorcycle. The Art of Manliness. June 2, 2011. https://www.artofmanliness.com/2011/06/02/learning-to-ride-your-first-motorcycle/
  2. Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Basic RiderCourse. http://www.msf-usa.org/brc.aspx

Best Cross-Country Motorcycle Treks

Touring our country’s wide-open roads astride a motorcycle is a dream come true for many. With little to separate biker from the outside environment, there’s perhaps no better way to explore the diverse landscapes and spectacular scenery on offer. After all, today’s motorcycles were designed to navigate the twists and turns and mesmerizing mountain passes that characterize some of the best cross-country trips.

Here are some the most visually rewarding motorcycle journeys in North America.

Best cross-country trips for motorcyclists

From west to east and north to south, the following are some prime routes for high mileage motorcycle adventures in the Unites States.

  • Pacific Coast Highway: This route should be on any biker’s bucket list who wants to experience some amazing scenery from the saddle. This 17,000-mile journey carries you from Washington’s Olympic National Park to the sun-parched city of San Diego, along picturesque coastal roads, dramatic cliffs, beaches and red wood forests.
  • Route 66: Get your kicks on iconic Route 66, brimming with historic landmarks. This classic American trek covers 2,400 miles between Chicago and Santa Monica, taking most bikers about 15 days.
  • The Great River Road (Hwy 61): Created in 1938, Highway 61 traverses ten states bordering the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota all the way to Jackson, Louisiana. At 2,552 miles, The Great River Road is a bit of a legend among local bikers who make the trek every year.
  • TransAmerica Trail (TAT): The epic 5,000-mile TAT is the most famous cross-country trek, often traveled by sport motorcyclists, long-distance cyclists and off-road vehicles. The rugged trail originates in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and terminates in southwestern Oregon – and is characterized by beautiful country roads and a lot of off-pavement riding. Most bikers opt to camp along the way and rely on dual-sport motorcycles that are designed for more technical rides.

As with most long-distance motorcycle rides, success often hinges on solid planning, quality protective gear and being prepared for unexpected challenges.

Advocates for CA motorcycle accident victims

Last year, motorcycle fatalities accounted for 17 percent of all traffic deaths in California, underscoring the risky nature of this form of transportation. Despite public safety campaigns to “Look Twice” and “Share the Road,” vehicle collisions cause catastrophic harm to thousands of motorcyclists every year.

Ellis Law is an award-winning personal injury law firm serving clients across Southern California. Leveraging an in-depth understanding of negligence laws, our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers help clients achieve rightful compensation in the wake of a serious or fatal crash. Our talented attorneys have recovered over $350 million in settlement monies on behalf of clients.

If you or someone you love was injured on the road, get seasoned advice on your options for legal recourse. Call our Los Angeles headquarters at 1-800-INJURED to arrange a case evaluation at no cost to you.

Additional Resources:

  1. com, Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North America http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/north-america/top-10/motorcycle-rides/
  2. Orbitz, Bikers’ picks: 6 great all season motorcycle trips https://www.orbitz.com/blog/2015/11/great-all-season-motorcycle-trips/
  3. TheLostAdventure, 50 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle Across America https://www.thelostadventure.com/50-tips-for-riding-a-motorcycle-across-america

5 Dangerous Things Motorcycle Passengers Should Never Do

couple holding motorcycle helmetsBeing a motorcycle passenger can be a thrilling experience for the uninitiated, but it’s much more challenging than it looks. As a back-seat rider, you have significant influence on the dynamics of the motorcycle, affecting how it handles, turns and stops. The enjoyment and safety of the experience will hinge largely upon how well prepared you, the passenger, are before getting onto the bike.

Of primary importance is ensuring the motorcycle operator is experienced and has driven with passengers before. Equally crucial is wearing appropriate gear, which can ultimately save your life in the event of a crash. This includes durable clothing and gloves (preferably leather), boots that protect your ankles, protective eyewear and a properly fitted helmet with face shield. Every year in California, dozens of motorcyclists and their passengers are fatally injured in accidents. A large number of these deaths could be prevented with safety helmet use.

Make sure that the motorcycle foot pegs are folded down before mounting the bike, and be careful of exhaust pipes which heat up and can cause serious burns. Once mounted, keep your feet securely on the foot pegs the entire time.

How to be a good motorcycle passenger

Follow these rules when riding passenger:

  • Hold tightly onto the operator’s waist or passenger handle bars if available
  • Keep feet on passenger foot pegs at all times
  • Keep feet, legs and hands away from moving parts
  • Keep your body loose and neutral when taking corners and turns
  • When taking a corner, look over the driver’s inside shoulder in the same direction
  • When riding over a road obstacle, lift your body slightly off the seat
  • Pay attention to the road and be prepared for acceleration, stops and turns
  • Communicate – set up a system of hand signals or taps that let the driver know if you need to stop

Things to avoid while riding passenger

You can also be a good and safe passenger by avoiding the following actions, which can place both you and the operator at risk for a tip over or crash.

  1. Never hang on to the motorcycle operator’s arms, which can affect driving abilities.
  2. Do not make sudden, lurching movements that shift weight on the bike and can result in loss of balance
  3. Never lean out of a corner or turn, which can cause an accident. Remember to keep your body neutral (akin to a sack of potatoes).
  4. Do not slide forward during braking, as this moves weight distribution and can affect handling. Try and anticipate stops and maintain a stable position in the seat.
  5. When stopped, never try to help the rider hold the bike upright; keep your feet planted on the foot rests and away from the motor 

The ideal passenger becomes an extension of the bike, having little effect on the weight, stability or handling. With experience, passengers will become more intuitive of what is needed, and more comfortable riding back seat.

California motorcycle accident lawyers

Of course, there will always be hazards like inclement weather, potholes, gravel and negligent drivers. In order to file a claim for damages following a crash, it’s important to work with a qualified attorney who is a veteran negotiator and has ample trial experience.

For more than two decades, Ellis Law has advocated for injured motorcyclists and their families, helping them recover fair compensation for their losses, pain and suffering. Schedule a free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer Los Angeles trusts by calling 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Resources on “Motorcycle Passenger Safety”:

  1. Cruiser, How to Be a Motorcycle Passenger http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/how-to-be-motorcycle-passenger
  2. OppositeLock, How to be a good motorcycle passenger http://oppositelock.kinja.com/how-to-be-a-good-motorcycle-passenger-1649514524
  3. HighPoint, Quick Tips for Motorcycle Passengers

Top Five Motorcycle Apps

motorcycles on the roadThere’s an app for everything, so why not for your motorcycle? There are apps that let you track and share ride destinations, monitor conditions, even apps that will rescue you or your friends in case of a crash. These apps aren’t distractions; they’re ways to enhance the fun of motorcycle riding and increase the safety.

What are the top motorcycle apps? There are lots of great apps, in many different categories: ride planning, awesome trips, traffic and weather conditions, and safety. Here are the top 5 you’re likely to use in these primary categories.

Eat Sleep Ride

This app’s name says it all. You can plan a route, share a great riding route, and figure out the best biker locations to eat and sleep not only throughout southern California, but throughout the U.S. and the world.

You can also save and share awesome rides. You can replay rides varying the speed and elevation too, so there are ways to plan customized rides to infinity, almost.

Waze

Waze has the distinction of being the biggest community-based navigation and traffic app. Check the traffic and road conditions using Waze and you’ll never get caught in construction or clogged traffic again. It’s updated in real time.

Waze was first developed to help folks who commute to work. But it grew so popular, and so able to cover large areas with comprehensive and fast data, that it will now work for motorcycles too, and really well.

Best Biking Roads

Cool as Waze is for avoiding annoyances and inconveniences on the road, it won’t help you plan the best biking trip ever. For that, turn to Best Biking Roads. Best Biking Roads is an app that lets motorcyclists themselves chooses the most awesome routes. It contains more than 8,000 individual rides, with images including pictures and videos. Check out the reviews as well, for on-the-ground experiences.

NOAA Weather Radar

As fun as biking can be, doing it in rain will reduce the fun quotient a lot. Inclement weather is also more unsafe for vehicles than clear weather, because it increases the slipperiness of roads and decreases visibility.

The safest thing to do is to check the weather on your route. The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) app makes that super-easy. NOAA is primarily a weather tracker, despite the fancy name. It has satellites, which the app allows you to track. You can tell if storm clouds are moving fast or whether they headed out to sea or in your direction.

Cradar

While no one likes to think of motorcycle crashes or motorcycle injuries when planning a trip, being prepared is one of the smartest things you can do on a ride. Cradar employs smartphone accelerometers to find out if a crash has occurred. Best of all, it will automatically send a text to an emergency number and provide a route to reach the crash. This can be really helpful all the time, but especially on less traveled roads.

If you need an attorney

The Ellis Law Firm has more than two decades of experience investigating and litigating accidents and collisions involving motorcycles in California. If you need a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney, we can help. Please call 1-800-INJURED today for a free appointment to get our advice on your situation.

More on motorcycle apps:

  1. Waze, https://www.waze.com/
  2. Eat Sleep Ride, https://eatsleepride.com/

Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet: Guide for Safety

couple holding motorcycle helmetsThe modern reality is that when it comes to the road, bigger is safer and motorcycles are usually on the losing end of a collision. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has reported that in 2015, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in an accident than those riding in automobiles. In that year alone, nearly 5,000 people died in motorcycle accidents.

The Los Angeles motorcycle injury attorneys at Ellis Injury Law Firm see the harrowing effects of motorcycle crashes each day while representing accident victims in California and therefore have a first-hand understanding of just how important it is to choose the right motorcycle helmet. These guidelines will help keep you riding safely.

Match your motorcycle helmet to your riding style

There are a lot of motorcycle designs and just as many choices in helmets. Safety dictates that your choice in helmet is suitable for the way you intend to ride. For example, if you plan on racing or riding for sport, you will need fuller coverage. These helmets may also be safer for the daily commute, but the hassle of getting them on and off is likely to deter most people from wearing it regularly. A standard road-ready helmet is a better choice for daily use.

Helmet fit is key

By far, the most important factor is a proper fit. It is more important to have a less expensive motorcycle helmet that fits well than to have top-of-the-line head wear that does not provide snug protection. To ensure fit:

  • Shop in a location where you can try the helmet on.
  • If there is no local helmet shop, consider shopping at an online retailer with a generous return policy. Order several sizes and styles to increase the likelihood of achieving a good fit and return the rest.

A helmet needs to fit your specific head shape so a mere measurement of circumference is not enough. When properly fitting, the helmet should offer full protection while not obstructing movement or vision. While wearing the helmet, make sure you can fully rotate your head and that you cannot roll the helmet off.

Pay attention to helmet construction

Not all motorcycle helmets are created equal. In order to do their job, motorcycle helmets need to have solid construction. Federal safety standards call for a thick inner liner, sturdy chin straps, a solid weight, and no protrusions other than a visor. Helmets that meet the federal standards feature a sticker reading “DOT” on the outside back.

Improved helmet safety standards and rigorous enforcement of California helmet laws both work to improve the safety of the road for motorcyclists. Unfortunately that does not change the physics involved when a massive SUV strikes a relatively unprotected motorcycle. Accidents happen and they can change the course of a rider’s life. For those cases, the dedicated personal injury lawyers at the Ellis Law Firm are here to help. We have an established track record of winning compensation on behalf of motorcycle accident victims in Los Angeles and throughout California. Call today for a free consultation – you never pay a legal fee unless we win money for you.

Additional Motorcycle Helmet Resources:

  1. NHTSA.gov, How to Identify Unsafe Motorcycle Helmets, https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/unsafehelmetid/pages/page2.htm
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Motorcycle Crashes, http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes

3 Great Scenic Motorcycle Routes Near Los Angeles

motorcycles on the roadRoute 66 was an historic “biker” highway connecting Los Angeles to Chicago that, sadly, is no more. The aging highway was decommissioned in the 1980s, but the number of pop culture references have made Route 66 forever a symbol of freedom, western migration, and the loneliness of the American heartland. One could try to ride the remnants, but California is blessed with a number of scenic motorcycle routes near Los Angeles, so why not hop on one of these?

Pacific Coast Highway: The View of a Lifetime

California’s Highway 1 runs along the Pacific Coast and is one of the most breathtaking roadways in America. With turns, climbs, and drops, the terrain will keep you alert and energized the entire way. This 127-mile stretch takes riders from Monterey to Morro Bay. Every curve offers a different view of waterfalls, redwood forests, flowered meadows, rocky outcrops, towering mountains, sheep pastures, or verdant valleys. Whales, sharks, sea lions, elephant seals, and pelicans are clearly visible down in the sea below. Monterey’s Cannery Row District is a worthwhile stop, with its restaurants, museums, and world-famous aquarium. Neptune’s Nest in Malibu is another popular stop for bikers, offering a great view of the sea, famous clam chowder, and a homey atmosphere.

Note: A 2017 landslide closed part of the iconic highway near Big Sur, so you’ll need to take a detour.

Mulholland Highway: When You’ve Got An Hour Or Less To Kill

LA Weekly calls the rolling hills of the Mulholland Highway, between Malibu Canyon and Kanan Dume Road, the “best twisty motorcycle ride.” You’ll pass California Live Oaks and cacti, through Malibu Creek State Park, on a smooth stretch of asphalt that offers exhilarating curves and sweeping vista views. Since the trip only takes 20 minutes, some riders will continue on down to the sea, while others stop for brunch in Cornell. Old Place Grill is a historic stagecoach-turned-restaurant, beloved by local bikers, celebrities, and tourists for its fantastic brunch and BBQ sandwiches.

Angeles Crest Highway: Pure Alpine Scenery, Mountains, and Blue Skies For Miles

This scenic 120-mile motorcycle route starts just minutes from downtown LA in La Canada, travels east along Highway 2, and ends in Wrightwood, California. The well-maintained road climbs up to approximately 7,000 feet, with twisty two-lanes offering spectacular mountain views, sweeping curves, switchbacks, and plenty of fresh pine air. On the weekends, you’re likely to only see a few bikes on this quiet highway. Riders may continue on past Wrightwood, through the Angeles National Forest for an extra 55 forested miles. The park makes an excellent stop for horseback riding, water sports, hiking, or nature watching. Be sure to stop at Newcomb’s Ranch, which offers plenty of classic bikes in the lot, weekend BBQ, and a friendly atmosphere.

While motorcycle riding is safer in California than much of the country due to helmet law enforcement and the popularity of bikes with anti-lock brake systems, bikers and their families may need the services of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to collect the compensation they deserve. The Ellis Injury Law Firm has a proven track record of successful motorcycle accident settlements and jury awards. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review and pay us nothing unless we win money on your behalf!

Additional “scenic L.A. motorcycle routes” resources:

  1. WikiTravel – Route 66, http://wikitravel.org/en/Route_66
  2. LA Weekly – People and Places, http://www.laweekly.com/best-of/2010/people-and-places/best-twisty-motorcycle-ride-2202371
  3. California Motorcycle Adventures – Pacific Coast Highway, https://californiamotorcycleadventures.com/testimonial/harley-road-king-pacific-coast-highway/
  4. Motorcycle Roads – Pacific Coast Highway, http://www.motorcycleroads.com/75/97/California/Pacific-Coast-Cruise;-Hwy-1.html#sthash.KRy5rq9f.dpbs
  5. Motorcycle Roads – Angeles Crest Highway, http://www.motorcycleroads.com/75/1221/California/Angeles-Crest-Highway.html#sthash.kVPmtVgX.dpbs
  6. CBS Local – Top Motorcycle Rides in Los Angeles, http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-motorcycle-rides-in-los-angeles/
  7. Motorcycle Central – 5 Great Motorcycle Roads in Los Angeles, http://motorcycle-central.com/5-great-motorcycle-roads-in-california
  8. Vacations Made Easy – 9 Scenic Motorcycle Routes You Should Be Riding In California, https://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/TheBLT/CaliforniaCruising9ScenicMotorcycleRoutesYouShouldBeRiding.html
  9. LA Times – Motorcycle deaths jump nationwide but fall in California. Why? http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-motorcycle-fatalities-20160517-snap-story.html