Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney James A. Welcome discusses Motorcycle Safety in Connecticut.

Posted on 12/20/13

If you have successfully attained your Connecticut motorcycle license, congratulations! You took the course, you passed the test, and you are ready to hop on your bike and hit the road, right? Not quite! Before you go, make sure that you took the necessary precautions to have a safe and enjoyable ride. Some of them are not as obvious as others, but are just as important to avoid a serious accident on the roads and highways in Connecticut.

Motorcycles are a unique and exciting experience. However, if you take risks when you drive a car, such as speeding, following closely, driving aggressively, or getting distracted, you should reconsider your driving habits before taking off on a motorcycle. Riders lack the protection of a car, so the consequences of a crash are far more serious and more likely to be fatal. A successful motorcyclist is a safety-minded person, especially in the high traffic areas of Waterbury, Danbury, Stamford and New Haven.

Picking the right motorcycle is a fun, but important step, especially if you are new to motorcycles. If you are wobbly when riding a bicycle, you may need to improve your balance and coordination before attempting to maneuver a motorcycle. Beginning riders should pick a bike that is forgiving and easy to maneuver. A common mistake for new riders is to pick a bike that has more power and performance than the rider can handle. While a large Harley or a fast sport bike may look cool, they can also spell disaster for someone with little experience. Keep your skills and experience in mind, and pick a bike that suits your lifestyle.

Remember, a motorcycle is not necessarily a one-cost purchase. A motorcycle is a machine with risk that will need maintenance, adjustments and care. You do not need to be a mechanic to own one, but you should be taking it for routine mechanical care and be familiar with your bike’s manual. The manual contains almost everything the owner needs to know about the bike, so it is definitely not something you can toss aside and never open.

Before driving a car in Connecticut, most people need to learn some motorcycle safety. However, most car drivers have probably never been on a motorcycle and do not know how to accurately estimate the speed or stopping distance. Give yourself plenty of space on the road and remember that cars might not see you. You and the bike should be as visible as possible, so all of the lights and signals need to work properly and reflectors should be used on your bike and clothing. Experienced riders use the safety strategy of driving as if no one can see you. Avoid weaving in and out of traffic, forgetting to signal, and switching lanes or turning too quickly. If you would not take that risk in a car, you should not take it on a motorcycle.

As always, wear your protective gear. Your gear is the only thing cushioning you if you were to fall or be hit. Wear your helmet, boots, long pants, long sleeves, and leather or other thick, heavy materials. Most importantly, do your research about helmets. It needs to be a full-faced helmet that fits snuggly. Buy a new helmet and always replace a damaged helmet or a helmet that has been in an accident. Even if there are no visible cracks in a helmet after a fall, the inner impact-absorbing liner compresses to keep you safe and suffers small internal cracks. Therefore, it will not offer the same protection in the event of another fall.

Once you have read your manual, gained a good understanding of your motorcycle, bought the proper protective gear, and taken all of the necessary precautions, you are ready to enjoy a fun and invigorating ride on your bike. Be aware of your surroundings and follow road laws, and if you ever do find yourself in an accident, seek medical attention immediately.

If you or someone you know is one of the hundreds of thousands of unfortunate people involved in a serious accident where you received significant injuries, you deserve compensation. I am here to answer any questions you have and give legal advice concerning personal injury cases.