Rules of the Road: Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Tips
Each spring, summer, and fall, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts take to the pavement of Wisconsin roadways with friends old and new to enjoy all of the scenic landscapes our state has to offer. However, with this influx of two-wheeled motorists comes the increased risk of accidents. The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported that 1,914 motorcyclists were injured on Wisconsin roadways in 2014. The most frequent contributing factors to these accidents include inattentive driving, exceeding speed limits, and operating while intoxicated. Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious personal injury and death, and are the subject of vast amounts of personal injury litigation throughout the Wisconsin Court System.
Here are some safety tips for your next ride to help prevent accident and injury:
-Always wear a top safety-rated helmet that fits snugly with a faceshield or goggles. 1 in every 5 motorcycle accidents result in head/neck injuries.
-Do a brief systems-check of your motorcycle prior to and following each ride for anything that looks or sounds out of the ordinary.
-Always avoid lane-sharing with cars and other motorcycles. Try to maintain a center position in the lane while riding and preparing to turn to avoid other vehicles creeping into your lane.
-Stay to the left of your lane when passing parked cars. Be prepared for a driver-side door to open or a pedestrian to appear suddenly between parked cars.
-Decrease your speed and increase your cushion space between cars when riding at night.
-Pay particular attention to scanning the roadside in front of you for deer while riding in rural areas.
-Wear conspicuous clothing both day and night to maximize your visibility to other motorists.
-Remain centered in your lane when crossing railroad tracks and bridge grates.
-When carrying passengers, encourage them to lean with turns as you lean, sit as far back on the seat as possible, and keep their hands on the motorcycle seat at all times.
-Never lend your motorcycle to a new or inexperienced motorcyclist unless they have taken the requisite safety courses and are licensed to operate it. Always acquaint yourself with the controls and handling of a new motorcycle prior to entering roadway traffic.’
-Do not operate a motorcycle after consuming alcohol or using prescription or other drugs. Motorcycles demand a great deal of skill and concentration, and studies have shown that even a single alcoholic beverage can dramatically slow reaction time and impair attentiveness.
For additional information regarding the safe operation of motorcycles, view the Wisconsin Motorcyclists’ Handbook circulated by the DMV. While motorcycling in Wisconsin can bring a lot of enjoyment, it is important that motorcyclists exercise a great deal of care to minimize the risks associated with owning and operating a motorcycle.
If you are injured while operating or riding on a motorcycle due to the negligence or recklessness of another motorist, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to guide you through the process of recovering damages as a result of the accident. John M. Kelly, Attorney at Law, LLC is a seasoned legal practitioner with 42 years of experience handling personal injury claims. Call today to learn more about the laws governing personal injury in Wisconsin.