Due to its beautiful weather, Florida is an excellent state for motorcycle riding all year round. As you ride, you’ll gain experience and learn how to navigate tricky situations on the road. However, even experienced riders can make common mistakes that can lead to accidents.
The number of motor cycle accidents each year in the US is huge. According to insurance statistics there were over 5500 fatalities in the 2020 year. And in the same year there were over 80,000 motorcycle injuries.
The US, however, was not the highest in terms of global motorcycle injuries with Thailand have one out of every three fatalities involving motorcycles.
What are the specific causes of motorcycle injuries?
We asked the Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers at AutoJusticeAttorney.com to point out the top mistakes to watch out for. As attorneys involved in motorcycle crashes they have seen and been involved in personal injury and other litigation that has examined and dissected the causes of such crashes. While these mistakes applies to all motorcycle riders, inexperienced riders are more likely to commit these generally basic riding errors.
If you’re new to your bike, be cautious and ensure you’re following all the road rules.
- Slamming the Front Brake
Many new riders slam the front brake when they need to make a quick stop. Unfortunately, that can lock up the front wheel and lead to a skid. Get used to squeezing the front brake as if you’re squeezing an orange.
Try braking in advance when approaching intersections. Apply gentle pressure when you get close, even if you have a green light. That way, you can stop quickly if you need to without jamming the front brake.
Many new riders only use the back brake, as they are afraid of locking up the front wheel. However, your front brake has 70 percent of your braking power, so it’s essential to use both to get your full braking ability.
According to a study by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, there is less tendency to use both brakes than there should be.
In addition, you can use your clutch and gears to control speed. Gently pulling in the clutch can help you slow down. At low speeds, clutch control and a bit of pressure on the back brake are often enough to stop.
2. Not Downshifting Before Stopping
It’s essential to shift to neutral when stopping, especially for longer stops. For short stops, you can shift down to first gear and keep your clutch in, revving your engine if your bike’s engine will die otherwise. For longer stops, it would be a waste of gas, so downshift to neutral.
Starting from a high gear is difficult, which many new riders learn the hard way. You should generally shift down into lower gears while using your brakes to slow down. That’s especially important for planned stops, such as stopping in front of a red light or a pedestrian crosswalk.
3. Not Turning Correctly
Many beginners miscalculate the correct lean, angle, and speed for turns, resulting in serious motorcycle accidents.
For turns from a stop, turn your handlebars before you get going and start from a low speed. Lean your body in the opposite direction to prevent your bike from falling while turning; do the same for sharp turns at low speed.
For sharp curves, lean together with your bike as you lean into the turn. It’s best to start slow and accelerate as the turn becomes clear; never speed into a blind turn. While approaching a turn, decrease your speed by braking and shifting into lower gears. Release your brake before you make the turn.
4. Not Watching Out for Traffic
Always expect cars to come out of random places, whether behind a truck or from a driveway. Decrease your speed as you pass by intersections, and keep a distance from the vehicle in front of you. Always watch for what other motorists are doing; if someone is tailgating you, let them pass.
5. Not Using Your Turn Signals
Always use your turn signals when you’re planning to turn. That way, the motorist behind you knows you’re going to slow down. Applying gentle pressure to the back brake will also activate your brake light, signaling the driver behind you to slow down.
Remember to turn off your turn signals after the turn. Most motorcycles, unlike cars, don’t have turn signals that turn off automatically after a turn. Keeping them on can confuse people behind you.
Check Yourself Before You Ride
Take a refresher course if it’s been a while since you’ve taken your introductory motorcycle course. You should also consider taking an advanced course to learn new skills, especially if riding a heavy cruiser or fast sport bike.
Avoiding a motorcycle injury, where you are clearly more exposed to injury in the event of a crash, is one thing you should and could do.