Spring is the most dangerous season for motorcyclists.
I work with a lot of motorcycle injuries victims. It’s become a bit of a niche for my business and I’m glad – I love motorcycles myself and I support these guys.
I find that spring is particularly dangerous for bikers. Motorists forget to watch for motorcyclists who can be hard to spot at the best of times, let alone in early spring when nobody is expecting them.
Motorcyclists have to be that much more vigilant because, as any biker will tell you, you can’t assume that cars will stop for you.
The reality for bikers is that it doesn’t matter who is at fault when an accident occurs. A car will always do more damage to a motorcycle than the other way around. Knowing you were in the right is cold comfort when you’re nursing a serious injury.
Let’s be straight: Motorcyclists have a bad rep in the insurance world. Is this reputation earned? Absolutely not. Without exception, my motorcyclist clients have been a bit older, had good jobs, and were law abiding citizens and smart drivers who were on the wrong end of careless motor vehicle drivers.
But the insurance company’s job is to devalue your claim and they will work whatever angle they can to poke holes in your case. It may not be fair, but it’s a reality. If something happens, I will do my best to protect you and your case, but my preference is that you’re smart from the get-go so that you never need to hire me!
I’ve come up with a list of safety tips that go beyond the many “Motorcycle Safety Tips for Spring” articles you’re likely reading online…
- Before you so much as sit on the seat of your bike, make sure your insurance is up to date. It is SO common for people to work on their bike all winter and it’s only natural that that first semi-warm day in late March, they take it out for a spin – just around the block – to see how she runs.What are the chances something will happen? You may think it’s rare but I have met with a few people who were injured in that situation and there was nothing I could do to help them. So it’s common enough that you should never get on a bike for any reason without insurance.
- Further to the insurance point, if you’re riding as a passenger, you must make sure your driver is insured. If you fall off that bike, the first thing the insurance company will look at is whether the driver was allowed to have you on that bike. If he wasn’t, the insurance company will try to reduce the policy limits of the operator.
- Wear protective gear. Of the many motorcycle accident cases I’ve handled, many of the victims had head injuries and fractures. On a bike, you are so unprotected that even smaller accidents can result in significant injuries. Equipment is everything. The insurance company defense lawyer is going to ask ‘were you wearing the right helmet? Pads, jacket, pants?’I know that it seems onerous to dawn your leathers when it’s 30 degrees outside and you’re riding down the QEW on your way to the CNE, but it doesn’t matter. When you’re a biker, you must be properly protected. If you get in an accident and you’re wearing shorts, the insurance company will use that against you.
- Provide solid protective equipment to your passengers. You wouldn’t let a passenger in your car go without their seatbelt, so why would you only provide them with bobble-head helmet if they’re on the back of your bike? Make sure you have a solid helmet and, if the helmet doesn’t fit them, wait until you have a helmet that does fit them.
- Make sure your bike is properly tuned before taking it out (just make sure you already have insurance if you have to ride it to the garage)
And a few more interesting safety tips for once you’re on the road:
- When entering an intersection, make sure there is a vehicle to your right. Don’t enter the intersection alone if you can help it
- Stay out of the shadows! The longer your shadow is in front of you, the harder it is for the car driver to see you
- Be careful about riding in cross winds that can potentially blow you off course. If the weather outside includes short strong gusts, perhaps it’s best to say home
- If you’re a beginner, avoid unpaved roads all together. If you find yourself on a dirt road, try to ride in the right hand tire mark (the farthest away from on-coming traffic)
- Always assume the worst will happen (even if you’re dealing with a situation you’ve handled many times before) and drive defensively
These tips come from http://www.msgroup.org/ – it’s not a pretty website but it’s incredibly useful if you’re a motorcyclists and is definitely worth a visit.
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