Motorcycle riders are some of the most vulnerable motorists on the road. Because of their small size, they are often overlooked by drivers of other vehicles. As a result, they're frequently cut off, sideswiped, and run off the road by careless people. Other motorists may see them, but because of an inherent bias against bikers, refuse to grant them the space and respect they deserve on the road.
Either way, the burden is on a motorcyclist to do all they can to protect themselves in case of an accident. We take a look at the safety gear and training every rider should have.
Don’t Leave Home Without This Safety Gear
Let’s face it—you don’t ride a motorcycle because it’s the safest way to get around. Most bikers enjoy the thrill they get from riding in the open air and cutting loose once in a while. However, smart bikers also understand the risks they're taking and wear appropriate safety gear in case the bike gets away from them, or they cross paths with a negligent driver. At a minimum, bikers should wear the following when riding on Massachusetts backroads and highways:
- Helmet. Massachusetts is in the minority of states that still have universal helmet laws. This means all riders and their passengers are required to wear helmets. The safest helmet you can buy is a DOT-approved, full-face helmet. It also provides eye protection and some amount of neck support. If you're injured in a crash caused by another motorist and were wearing a helmet, you're more likely to get full compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
- Jacket. The stereotype of the leather-clad motorcyclists isn't all hype. Wearing a good-quality leather or protective synthetic motorcycle jacket protects you from road rash and other lacerations, and could potentially prevent broken bones in the arms and torso. Even in warm weather, riding in just a t-shirt is risky and could lead to serious injuries.
- Pants. Your lower body is just as likely to be injured in a crash as your upper body. Wearing Kevlar or sturdy leather pants protects you in the same way a jacket does. For long hauls and racing, you might want to invest in a full-body protective suit.
- Boots. Your feet can be mangled in a bad crash, but wearing the right kind of boots can save you from the most severe injuries. Boots designed specifically for motorcycling are your best bet as their form helps you grip the foot pegs and the road for stability and protects your ankles from debris or in a crash.
- Gloves. A good pair of motorcycle gloves shield your hands and wrists in much the same way as boots do for your feet and ankles. In any kind of crash, you're probably going to put your hands down instinctively. Wearing good-quality gloves that fit well will go a long way in protecting you from the worst injuries.
You might be the most skilled rider out there, but without the appropriate clothing and gear, you're a sitting duck when a drunk, distracted, or careless driver runs you off the road or knocks you over. Bikers can suffer catastrophic injuries when they are thrown from their bikes.
Keep Up With Motorcycle Safety Training
New bikers should always learn to handle their motorcycles by taking approved riding and safety courses. Buying a powerful bike and figuring out how to handle it after the fact isn't the best idea. Even experienced riders should enroll in regular safety refresher courses to keep their skills sharp. Often, what will keep you the safest is being able to maneuver your way out of a dangerous situation with skilled riding. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers comprehensive courses for beginners and master riders across the country.
If You're Involved in a Motorcycle Accident, Call Mahaney & Pappas
Not every accident attorney in Massachusetts is sympathetic to motorcycle riders, but at Mahaney & Pappas, we welcome injured bikers and the family members of individuals killed in catastrophic motorcycle accidents. Fill out our contact form or call us to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We're here to help you get justice.