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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

10 Potentially Life-Saving Defensive Riding Tips for Motorcycle Riders

Thousands of motorcyclists are injured or killed on US roads every year. While some incidents are out of the rider's control, many more are not. Defensive motorcycle riding is not just the smart way to operate this type of vehicle- it can (and does) save lives.

An integral part of motorcycle safety, defensive driving is all about making smarter decisions before and during a journey. Committing to these techniques is the best way for a motorcycle rider to avoid a potential collision that could lead to severe injuries or worse.

Our Indianapolis motorcycle accident attorneys want to share 10 defensive riding tips for motorcycle riders that everyone should adopt.

10 Defensive Riding Techniques and Tips for Motorcyclists

10 Defensive Riding Techniques and Tips for Motorcyclists

1: Always Check the Motorcycle Before Riding

Defensive riding safety tips kick in before you switch the ignition. Before starting a journey, motorcyclists should check their machinery.

Human error is a major factor in motor vehicle accidents, but sometimes a faulty bike is to blame. Using the T-CLOCS inspection checklist created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, riders can reduce the chances of mechanical failure.

The checklist is as follows:

  • Tires and wheels

  • Controls

  • Lights

  • Oil and other fluids

  • Chassis

  • Stands

2: Be Visible to Other Vehicles and Road Users

A motorcyclist needs to stay visible. Reflective clothing, bright colors, or a colorful bike can all make motorcycles and their riders stand out on the road.

Other defensive driving tips that help improve visibility include:

  • Staying out on blind spots and no zones

  • Keeping the lights on

  • Using horns and blinkers to get other drivers' attention

3: Make Situational Awareness a Priority

Being aware of the surrounding situation is one of the most important parts of defensive motorcycle riding. Riding with a distant mind and not paying attention to the road can lead to accidents that could have been easily avoided.

A situationally aware driver should be checking their mirrors at least every 10 seconds, watching out for roadside debris or other hazards ahead, pre-empting other vehicles' movements, and being constantly aware of what everyone around them is doing.

Staying present and engaged while riding a motorcycle can help a person stay alive.

4: Don't Drive Tired

Nobody should take the road while tired. Driving any vehicle without enough rest is very dangerous for the driver and other drivers around them.

Before riding a motorcycle, drivers should ensure they have sufficient rest and feel focused and clear-headed enough to drive safely and defensively without creating a risk to themselves or others.

5: Always Have a Contingency Plan

Another essential element of defensive riding is to have an escape route planned for potential hazards. That means avoiding getting boxed in with nowhere to go. Having a way out of a driving situation is vital for motorcycle riding safety.

Whenever possible, motorcyclists should avoid trying to pass another vehicle in the right lane. If lane sharing, don't try to overtake a truck or large vehicles unless there is plenty of space in the left lane if they try to pull out.

Leaving space between the cars ahead also helps- and it is best not to leave anything to the last minute.

6: Wear Protective Gear

Wearing a helmet can be the difference between life and death in many motorcycle collisions. Protective gear is the first line of defense if something does go wrong. Without it, riders are completely exposed.

Eye protection, heavy boots, body armor, thick gloves, leather clothing, and knee and elbow braces are all vital pieces of equipment that nobody should ride without. Even a safe rider can end up in an accident. Riding without the right protective gear puts lives in danger.

7: Avoid Sudden Movements

It is dangerous to assume that other drivers are paying attention. Sudden movements often put safety in the hands of someone else and their reaction times- especially when driving in the same lane as passenger vehicles. The point of driving defensively is to be in control of one's own road safety- not relying solely on others.

8: Use Hand Signals

Using blinkers to indicate turn signals is fine, but it is often more noticeable and effective to use hand signals as well. That way, drivers can clearly see what the motorcycle rider is about to do.

It helps avoid accidents caused by another driver not paying close enough attention. A blinker in the middle of the day is not hugely noticeable, but clear hand signals are usually quite difficult to miss.

9: Don't Get Too Close to the Driver Ahead

Driving too closely to another vehicle is never a good idea. Rear-end collisions are almost always considered the fault of the driver or rider behind. If a motorcyclist drives too closely to respond in time to a sudden stop, they may be badly hurt and be liable for damages.

A rider's view of the road ahead can also be blocked or partially blocked if they are too close to a large vehicle, such as a truck or bus.

Follow Traffic Rules

10: Follow Traffic Rules

It doesn't matter what vehicle a person drives- they must obey the traffic laws in their state. Respecting speed limits, waiting for a green light, stopping at stop signs, and practicing lane discipline are not optional.

Pay attention to specific laws regarding lane splitting and sharing. Illegal or dangerous maneuvers are not recommended as part of a defensive riding strategy. They could not just get someone injured- they could also leave them exposed to damage liability. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like is lane splitting legal in Indiana?

Final Thought

Defensive driving can help motorcyclists stay safe and stay alive. Most roads do not have special lanes for motorcycles, and riders need to be prepared for the hazards that come with sharing the road. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also give insight on a no zone motorcycle.

Some accidents are unavoidable, even when driving defensively. Anyone injured in a motorcycle accident in Indiana should contact the team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorney.

These elite personal injury lawyers go to war for Indy road accident victims- helping motorcycle riders claim the compensation they are owed for property damage and injuries sustained.


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