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A motorcyclist fastening his helmet strap

Tips for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Alabama

By: Fred Moore | May 22, 2022

There’s nothing like enjoying a gorgeous day out on your motorcycle. However, motorcyclists face unique risks that need to be kept in mind. At Moore Law Firm in Mobile, AL, our motorcycle accident lawyers are dedicated to spreading awareness about how bikers can safeguard their well-being when they’re on the road. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is the perfect time to share some of these helpful tips that may just save your life.

Be Aware of Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

It’s extremely important to understand the specific risks that motorcyclists face. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019 alone, an estimated 84,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents and 5,014 motorcyclists died, accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities. Riding without the surrounding protection that other types of vehicles provide makes bikers much more susceptible to serious injuries and fatalities.

Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Other motorists failing to see motorcycles, especially while making a left turn
  • Attempting to avoid or hitting road debris
  • Slippery substances or gravel on the road
  • Vehicles crashing into motorcycles while making lane changes
  • Speeding (both motorcycles and other vehicles)
  • Sudden stops and rear-end collisions
  • Operating a motorcycle or another vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Being aware of these potential dangers can help you avoid them and stay safer on the road.

Follow Alabama Traffic Laws

It’s vital to follow the rules of the road when riding your motorcycle. Speeding can easily lead to catastrophic or fatal accidents, especially if you’re traveling on windy roads or encounter stopped traffic. In Alabama, two motorcycles are allowed to ride side by side in one lane, but it’s important to be extra cautious if you travel this way. Avoid lane splitting completely, as it is against the law in Alabama. Motorcycle safety laws also require riders to wear a helmet at all times. Even if you’re riding in a state that doesn’t require a helmet, motorcycle accident attorneys recommend that both operators and passengers of motorcycles wear DOT-approved helmets.

Make Yourself Visible

Unfortunately, many motorists fail to pay attention to motorcyclists. Always watch out for vehicles making turns, ride with your headlights on, and use turn signals. Another thing to avoid is riding in the blind spots of other vehicles, especially tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles.

Invest in Proper Motorcycle Gear

In addition to using a helmet that meets Alabama Department of Safety (DOT) standards, wearing clothing that protects your body can help prevent road rash, lacerations, and other injuries. Some items to consider include:

  • Leather jackets and pants that fully cover your arms and legs
  • Boots that extend above the ankle
  • Gloves that protect your hands and help you grip
  • Eye protection such as goggles or a visor connected to your helmet

Wearing reflective protective gear also can help to alert other drivers to your presence.

Practice Active Awareness When You’re on the Road

Being observant and proactive about avoiding potential dangers saves lives. Make sure to look ahead for obstructions or potholes, leave plenty of distance between you and other vehicles, and proceed with caution at intersections – this is where most motorcycle accidents take place. One way to stay on top of your game is to take motorcycle safety classes to hone your skills and learn techniques for safely navigating hazards.

Perform a Safety Check Before You Ride

Checking the weather forecast and doing a quick inspection before you hop on your bike not only helps you stay safe, but it can also help you sidestep the hassle of dealing with a flat tire or breakdown. Make sure to:

  • Check tire pressure and look for any damage to tires
  • Test the horn, headlights, turn signals, and brakes
  • Look for signs of oil or coolant leaks
  • Properly secure and balance saddlebags or cargo

Avoid Riding Under the Influence

If you plan to ride your bike, avoid consuming alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs that could affect your coordination and lead to a DUI accident. Although it’s not illegal to ride your motorcycle as long as your BAC is under the legal limit, it’s best to hitch a ride with someone else if you drink.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Learn More

At Moore Law Firm, we understand that being hurt in a crash can have devastating consequences. For more than 35 years, our motorcycle accident lawyers have helped personal injury victims in Alabama recover the compensation they need to move on with their lives. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online, call 251-445-7602, or use the convenient chat feature on our website to get in touch. We handle numerous areas of practice.