It’s early March here in Massachusetts and the temperature hit 55˚ yesterday and is supposed to be in the mid-60s today. As I sit in my office, I can hear the sounds of spring…motorcycles cruising down the street.
If you’re thinking of getting a motorcycle license, I cannot emphasize enough taking the Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP) Massachusetts Rider Education Program (MREP) | Mass.gov. There are a number of courses offered from beginner to advanced and once you complete the course you automatically get the motorcycle endorsement to your license. I became a much better rider having taken the course. I’m a big fan.
Motorcycle crashes happen so fast and can result in devastating consequenses. Injuries from motorcycle accidents are often very severe and can be fatal. The Rider Education Program offers many tips and insights on being a better, safer rider and acknowledging the risks on the roadways for motorcycles. The course taught me several things I had been doing wrong from the time I started riding. And talking to other motorcycle riders they were unaware of these basic but essential riding techniques.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Unlike riding a bicycle, the front brake is the main brake. If you’re flying along on a ten-speed bicycle and crunch the front brake, there’s a good chance you’re going right over the handlebars. Not so on a motorcycle. You can squeeze the front brake as hard as you can, and the motorcycle will come to a controlled stop. If you are moving at speed and hit the rear brake too hard, the rear tire may lock up causing you to skid. If you don’t skid in a straight line while braking and then release the brake you could be thrown off your motorcycle. I always use my front brake for all stopping. I use the rear brake to hold the motorcycle on a hill stop.
Travelling at speed, the proper way to turn into curves is through “counter steering”. This is otherwise known as “push left-go left, push right-go right”. If you’re traveling on the highway and entering a left-hand curve, you simply push the left side of the handlebar forward (turning the front wheel to the right) and the bike goes left. You’re not fighting to lean the bike to the left. A gentle push forward on the left handlebar and the bike moves to the left. Same is true for the right side. It’s a different concept for us non-physicists but an example of this working can be seen with dirt track racing. The cars are going around an oval track and as they go into the turns the wheels are turned in the opposite direction. It all comes down to the gyroscopic effect. It’s so much easier to control your ride through turns using counter steering.
Entering onto a highway ramp has its specific techniques as well. Braking should be done before entering turns, counter steering will lean the motorcycle smoothly into the turn and your eyes should be focused on the end of the ramp. Don’t be looking down at the roadway. Keep your chin tucked in, eyes focused ahead to the end of the turn and be smooth on the throttle. You’ll be amazed at how efficient your riding will become.
Be careful about riding in close proximity to other vehicles. Riding next to a car or truck puts you in danger of getting lost in their blind spots. Try to ride in front or behind. And if behind leave room in case you need to swerve to miss debris or other hazards. The Massachusetts RMV Driver’s License Manual speaks of using the “2 second rule” to give adequate reaction time should you need to stop or change lanes. Don’t allow another vehicle to crowd you on the road. If you’re being tailgated by another motor vehicle speeding up will have the opposite effect of avoiding the problem. It’s so much better to relax, move over or safely pull over and let the person go.
Always stay alert and anticipate escape paths when needed. You need to be continually thinking of where to go if something or someone enters your path of travel. And remember that intersections are where most accidents occur between motorcyclists and other vehicles. Even if you have the green light or right of way, approach an intersection carefully, always anticipating that other drivers will be making mistakes.
Contact Our Framingham Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
Motorcycle crashes can happen quickly and can cause catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash that was caused by another vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Likewise, if a loved one is fatally injured in a motorcycle crash caused by a negligent driver, the surviving family members may pursue compensation for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you want to seek compensation after a motorcycle crash, you should consult with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of the motorcycle accident and help protect your rights to financial compensation. Proving the other driver was at fault in motorcycle crashes can sometimes be difficult. This is because many drivers and their insurance companies often blame the motorcycle for causing or contributing to the crash. Having an experienced injury attorney on your side should put you in the best position to get the compensation you and your family deserve.