As summer begins and temperatures rise, many South Carolinians will bring out their motorcycles and bicycles to ride the roads once more. The attorneys at Elrod Pope Law Firm in Rock Hill, S.C. hope you will stay safe from possible accidents and injuries. If you are one of the more than 7 million motorcycle riders in the United States, enjoy the season, but also keep in mind the following safety tips.
- Remember to always wear your ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time). Every time you ride, no matter how short the trip, make sure to wear a durable jacket, long pants, non-slip gloves, shoes that cover your ankles, and, most important of all, a high-quality, well-fitted helmet that meets government guidelines. In 2008, 59% of all bikers killed in accidents weren’t wearing helmets. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that helmets saved the lives of 1,483 bikers.
- Always apply both the front brake and rear brake at the same time. Some bikers may ignore the front brake, but it may provide up to 70% of your bike’s stopping power. If you need to stop quickly, apply the brakes hard, but try to avoid locking your wheels.
- Check your bike before you take it out, especially if you’re riding it for the first time after a long winter. The tires are the most important part of the bike, so you should check them first, but also look over the cables, brakes, and lights.
- Be cautious in the rain. When it first begins to rain, the water will push oil residue that has lodged in the road’s dimples up to the surface. This makes things very slippery for the first fifteen minutes or so, before the rain has time to wash the oil away.
- Do your best to make sure other motorists can see you. The most common excuse used by motorists who just struck a cyclist is that they couldn’t see him. Take steps to minimize this risk. Wear bright, reflective clothing, turn on your headlight, give signals before turning or changing lanes, and don’t be afraid to use your horn.
- Make sure you’re properly licensed and trained before operating a motorcycle. It may sound like a waste of time, but motorcycles are far more difficult to operate than a car. In 2008, 33% of motorcyclists killed in accidents weren’t properly licensed.
Be safe on the roads and enjoy riding! Keep in mind that you are exposed and vulnerable on a motorcycle, not surrounded by a metal cage like in an automobile. About 80% of motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or death, compared to only 20% of automobile accidents. With statistics like these, it’s always a good idea to check your insurance policy to make sure you have adequate coverage, which includes having underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to help cover your bills.
If the worst should happen and you are injured by a negligent driver, make sure you have a lawyer who understands the seriousness of your injuries. Don’t try to go it alone, or you may get drawn in by an insurance company that only wants to settle your claim as quickly as possible.
The accident attorneys at Elrod Pope Law Firm know how to stand up for your rights and protect your future. You take steps to protect yourself on the open road. Do the same while settling your claims. Call today.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.