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New Riders, Follow These Tips to Prevent Accidents

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As a motorcycle rider, your number one goal each time you climb onto your bike should be to prevent accidents. Sadly, a lot of accidents happen not because of something the rider does, but because of other drivers. This does not mean you're not in control of your own fate or that there's nothing you can do to keep yourself safe, however. Here are some ways you can help prevent accidents -- even accidents that may technically be caused by other people.

Tip #1: Make yourself visible.

A common defense for people who hit motorcycle riders is that they never saw the rider. This argument may or may not actually hold up in court. If their attorney is able to show that your gear made you nearly invisible to other drivers, your lawyer may have a hard time arguing otherwise. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to dress in brightly colored clothing that a driver cannot overlook. A bright green jacket, for instance, is a better choice than a brown one. You can also make yourself more visible by putting reflective tape on your fork and adding auxiliary lights to your bike. 

Tip #2: Opt for freeways when possible.

One common type of accident occurs when the motorcyclist is riding straight in their lane and another driver does a U-turn into them. This can't happen on a freeway where there's a divider between the sides of the street headed in each direction. So, when you have a choice between a divided freeway and a standard surface road, opt for the freeway.

Tip #3: When crossing an intersection with cars waiting, get in the furthest lane.

Many accidents occur in intersections. Again, the driver may argue that they did not see you crossing the intersection and did not have time to react and stop their car before hitting you. You can make this scenario less likely if you're careful to watch where the cars are as you approach an intersection, and then move into the lane furthest from those cars. For example, if the cars are waiting to cross the intersection on your right, get into the lefthand lane. This puts more distance between you and the cars so that if someone does not immediately see you and starts heading towards the intersection, there is more time for them to react and stop. 

Tip #4: Scan the road ahead of you.

When you're out riding, get into the habit of always scanning the road ahead of you for possible trouble. For instance, when you spot a car waiting at a stop sign in the distance, you should keep your eye on the car and think how you could stop or move out of the way if they were to pull out in front of you. As you start thinking proactively like this more often, it will eventually become habit -- and you'll be much safer because when a possible accident scenario does appear, you'll know just how to react.

Tip #5: When in doubt, do not pass slowed vehicles.

Another common motorcycle accident occurs when a car is slowed down on a residential street, the rider goes to pass them, and the driver turns into the rider. This type of accident is rarely the fault of the rider since the driver has generally failed to use their turning signal -- but it can be a very serious type of crash. To keep it from happening to you, just be patient. If you get stuck behind a slowed-down car in a residential neighborhood, just know they will probably turn into a driveway soon, and wait for that to happen.

If you follow the tips above, you'll be much less likely to suffer a collision on your motorcycle. If you do get into a crash, reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney right away to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.