I think it is finally safe to say that the spring weather is here in Massachusetts. That means, for many Massachusetts residents, it’s motorcycle season. Here are a few tips to get ready to ride your bike and protect yourself in case you are involved in a motorcycle accident.
First off, get your motorcycle out of the garage or storage. Dust it off and perform your routine spring maintenance.
Is There Old Gas in the Tank?
Check the gas tank. If there is old gas in the tank from the prior summer or fall, you should replace it. Gasoline can become stale and stale gas can cause problems with your motorcycle’s fuel system. If your motorcycle has been stored for months over the winter, the chemicals in gasoline can deteriorate if it has been sitting in the tank. This can cause your bike to run irregularly. This is especially so in sport motorcycles with high compression engines.
Make Sure You Check the Battery
If your bike has been stored for the winter, you must check the battery before venturing out on the open road. As I’m sure all of us have had an issue or two with batteries after a long, cold winter. If you didn’t have your battery on a trickler, it may be dead, or die quickly after your first ride or two. This is because the life span of the battery is decreased significantly if the battery is allowed to die. So, make sure you check that battery so you don’t end up stranded.
How Are the Tires?
It goes without saying that the motorcycle tires are extremely important. They shouldn’t be checked only in the spring before your first ride, but before each ride throughout motorcycle season. Make sure your tires are in good condition with proper tire pressure. Tires that are in bad shape and poorly maintained can affect the handling of the bike and lead to losing control of the bike or, even worse, an accident.
Inspect Your Helmet and Riding Gear
Take a look at your helmet and riding gear. Massachusetts law makes wearing motorcycle helmets mandatory. Your helmet protects the most important part of your body, your brain. It is recommended to replace your helmet if it is more than five years old. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that in 2015 more than 4,600 motorcyclists died in motorcycle crashes, which accounted for 13% of all motor vehicle accident deaths that year. With statistics like these, make sure you check your helmet. A helmet might just save your life if you are involved in a motorcycle accident.
Also, take a good look at your riding gear. If your boots, jacket or gloves are torn, scratched or damaged, it’s time to replace them. Your gear offers protection and may minimize injuries in the event of an accident.
Make Sure You Have Enough Insurance Coverage
Of course, the above maintenance checks are very important. But, what many motorcyclists forget to review is their motorcycle insurance. We recommend and encourage you to review your insurance policy to be sure you have enough coverage in case you are hurt in a motorcycle accident.
A very important part of your motorcycle insurance policy is the uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UM coverage in Massachusetts is mandatory, but the minimum limits are $20,000/$40,000. UIM is optional. I recommend increasing your UM coverage and purchasing enough UIM coverage before getting out of the open road.
This is so if you are ever injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another driver and that other vehicle doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, you can look to your own insurance policy for compensation of medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering you sustain from the accident.
So, check your insurance policy for the uninsured and underinsured coverage. If you want to increase your UM coverage and purchase UIM coverage, call your insurance agent. The additional cost to your insurance premium is typically minimal and well worth every penny.
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Massachusetts or have questions about your motorcycle insurance coverage, give us a call at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. We are happy to answer your questions.