5 safety tips for Washington, D.C. motorcyclists

Motorcycle accidents may result in serious injuries or death, but there are a number of things people can do to improve their safety while riding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 4,668 motorcycle riders killed in collisions in 2013. During that same year, many more suffered serious injuries. Although some motorcycle crashes are unavoidable, there are things that motorcycle riders can do to help improve their safety while riding in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

Complete a training course

In addition to obtaining their motorcycle licenses, people should also complete a formal education program before riding for the first time. They may learn how to check their vehicles and operate them safely. From time to time, motorcyclists should also take training courses, even if they are experienced riders. This may help them refresh and hone their skills.

Wear the appropriate gear

When riding a motorcycle, it is important for people to wear the correct gear to help protect their skin in the event of a wreck. It is recommended for motorcyclists and their passengers to wear long sleeves and pants, close-toed shoes, and goggles or sunglasses. Additionally, they should wear helmets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a helmet may reduce their risk of suffering a head injury by 69 percent and their risk of death by 37 percent.

Check bike before every ride

Before hitting the road, it is advisable for motorcyclists to ensure their vehicles are fit to ride. This includes examining the tires for bulges, cracks or other signs of wear. They should also check for oil or gas leaks, and make certain that all of the lights are operational. Once they have gotten on their bikes, people should check if the brakes feel firm and are functioning. They should also confirm that the throttle and the clutch are working properly.

Ride defensively

A number of motorcycle accidents occur because drivers fail to see these smaller vehicles and their riders. Always using their headlights and signaling well before they change direction may help motorcyclists improve their visibility, and thus, their safety. Additionally, they should keep their eye on other vehicles and do their best to stay out of their blind spots. Motorcycle riders should never assume that other drivers see them.

Do not drink and ride

Alcohol consumption may have a range of effects. This includes blurred vision, impaired judgment and slowed reflexes. As a result of these and other effects, motorcyclists' ability to safely operate their vehicles may be impaired. Therefore, refraining from drinking and riding may help reduce their chances of being involved in a collision.

Seeking legal counsel

Without a vehicle exterior to protect them, motorcyclists in the District of Columbia may suffer serious injuries when they are involved in accidents. This may lead to undue medical expenses and lost earnings. In some situations, however, the driver responsible for causing such wrecks may be held liable for the resulting damages Thus, those injured in motorcycle accidents may benefit from discussing their situation with an attorney. A legal representative may help them to understand their options for pursuing financial justice.