Protecting Yourself Before a Motorcycle Accident
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Protecting Yourself Before a Motorcycle Accident

Even the most experienced motorcycle riders need to take extra precautions to protect themselves against serious accidents. California has one of the nation’s largest populations of motorcyclists who face real dangers every time they hit the road. All it takes is just one motorist who is eating, chatting on their cell phone or texting behind the wheel to turn your life upside down. Beyond the hazards of distracted and negligent drivers, there is the problem of zero visibility as many vehicle drivers simply don’t “see” motorcycles in traffic.

Motorcycle rider deaths represent 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in California. Those bikers who do survive a collision frequently suffer crippling injuries that entail hospitalization, massive medical bills and months of lost wages. The repercussions can be even worse in cases where the at-fault driver has minimum liability insurance ($15,000) or, even worse, no insurance at all. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a staggering one in every 8 drivers is uninsured.

If you are an avid motorcycle rider, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and reduce your chances of suffering severe injury.

Buy UM/UIM Coverage

If you are in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you will likely be stuck with costly medical bills, repair bills and other financial losses. No biker should ever ride without purchasing the best uninsured/underinsured coverage they can afford. A UM/UIM policy is your safety net, and will cover everything from property damage to bodily injuries and hospital bills. In addition, UM with bodily injury may also cover lost wages and pain and suffering. A $200,000 or $300,000 UM/UIM policy will improve your chances of achieving a full recovery in the event of a serious motorcycle accident.

Take a motorcycle safety course

Every rider can benefit from a motorcycle refresher course – even the most veteran of bikers. Look for classes offered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) geared to your specific skill level. Classes are tailored for novice and experienced motorcyclists and include motorcycle operation basics, crash avoidance techniques and defensive driving strategies.

Get the right motorcycle gear

Protective riding gear offers a critical buffer between you and your surroundings and can help save your life in the event of a crash. Before your hit the road, be sure you’re properly suited up with:

  • DOT-certified helmet to protect against head trauma and brain injury
  • Full-fingered motorcycle gloves made of leather or abrasive-resistant fabric
  • Ankle-high steel-toed boots with rubber composite soles
  • Long sleeve protective clothing over the body made of leather, denim or Kevlar to help prevent road rash

Check bike condition and/or mechanical issues

Whether you own a sport bike or a Harley, always check for potential mechanical issues before setting out. This includes tire treads, oil and fluid levels, brakes, belts, kickstand condition, turn signals, head and tail lights and battery condition.

Legal guidance for motorcycle riders

The Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys at Ellis Law have spent more than 20 years helping victims throughout Southern California obtain justice and fair compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Motorcycle Safety Resources:

  1. Consumer Reports, 10 Motorcycle safety tips for new riders http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/04/10-motorcycle-safety-tips-for-new-riders/index.htm
  2. 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
  3. Allstate, Motorcycle Riders: Pick the Proper Protective Gear https://blog.allstate.com/riders-protective-gear-is-good/
  4. Insurance.com, Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/coverage/uninsured-underinsured-motorist-coverage.html