How to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

March 28, 2024
Auto Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80% of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. It's important to do everything you can to keep yourself and other motorcycle riders safe. These tips will help you stay safe on the road and prevent motorcycle accidents:

Be Aware of Traffic and Road Conditions

Never assume a driver sees you.  From phone calls and texting to radios and passengers, there are more opportunities for motorists to be distracted on the road than ever. These drivers can be a real danger, so be alert for sudden and unexpected lane changes, swerves, or other unpredictable behavior. 

Imagine you're riding alongside cars in traffic when a car next to you suddenly swerves into the space you're riding in.  It's easy for you as a motorcycle rider to get lost in a blind spot, and many drivers simply aren't used to looking for motorcycles on the road. Be wary when riding in a blind spot and spend as little time in them as you can. Be sure you can see the driver's eyes in their mirrors.  If you can see them, they can see you, but remember that doesn't guarantee that they will!

Watch common types of road hazards such as a pothole, patch of sand, railroad tracks, as well as fellow motorcyclists.  It's all too easy to round a corner with speed and find yourself riding through any number of different materials you don't want in the middle of the road.  And it's just as easy for riding into gravel or wet leaves unexpectedly to result in you wiping out.

Your best bet is to avoid these common hazards to begin with.  Slow down to a safe pace and don't ride faster than your reaction time allows. "Slow in, Fast out" needs to be your mantra when cornering. Take the entrance of a corner wider than you think might be necessary, and at a low pace.  This will give you time to react and a wider field of vision to spot anything that could pose a risk to you. Once you have a clear view of the road and know things are clear ahead, you can get back up to a safe speed and enjoy the ride.


Be especially alert of changing road conditions.  Whether that's rain starting to fall, a fire hydrant pouring water onto the road, or a gas can spilling out of the bed of the truck in front of you, it's up to you as a motorcycle rider to be aware of these hazards.  Keep your head on a swivel and expect the unexpected.

Be Prepared Whenever You Get on the Road

While sometimes there is nothing you could have done to prevent a motorcycle accident there are measures you should take that can increase your chances of doing so, or lessen the severity of it:

Take a Class

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers classes online and in-person that aren't just educational; some of them can save you money through insurance discounts so they're well worth looking into. These safety courses are open to anyone. They typically run 1-3 days with time split between classroom work and practical riding under instructor supervision. The prices can vary depending on who is offering the class, but you can usually expect them to run between $150-$250.  These classes are a good idea for any new motorcyclist to take a motorcycle safety course.  Of course, they aren't exclusively for new riders, it never hurts for more experienced riders to take a refresher course to brush up on anything they may have forgotten.  

Get the Right Gear

That means long pants and sleeves made of leather or specialized synthetic material, in addition to gloves, eye protection, and tough boots that cover your ankles. They make protective gear for all types of weather, so you can stay safe and keep riding whether it's hot or cold out.  Motorcycle safety gear isn't just for injury prevention in the event of a crash,  it can also make you more visible to other drivers with bright colors and reflective material, and make riding more comfortable, giving you better control over your bike. 

Bright colors on your helmet and the rest of your kit make you easier to spot on the road, helping other motorists steer clear of you and keeping you out of danger.  When you're shopping for a helmet look for something that's full-face and Department of Transportation-approved.  As with the rest of your gear, brighter colors are preferred to maximize your visibility. Riders without a proper helmet are twice as likely to suffer from a traumatic brain injury in a crash.  Motorcycle helmets should be replaced regularly (about every 5 years is a good window) or after a crash to keep them as effective as possible.

Related: How Effective Are Motorcycle Helmets In An Accident?

Never Drink and Drive

This isn't exclusive to motorcycles, but it bears repeating: never drink or speed. Nearly half of motorcycle riders in single-vehicle fatalities are under the influence of alcohol, with excessive speed being involved in a third of fatal crashes.  Stay sober.  Stay within the speed limit.  These two alone will cut down on the likelihood of an accident dramatically.

Avoid Inclement Weather When Possible

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and have a plan for if things start to look ugly.  Learn how to safely ride in the wind, rain, or whatever else you may see in your area so you aren't caught off guard if the weather takes a turn. If bad weather is in the forecast and you have to ride in it, make sure you have rain gear.  Staying dry and comfortable can help you stay focused on the road.

Keep Your Bike in Top Working Order

Having everything running the way it's supposed to through regular maintenance can go a long way in preventing a motorcycle crash. Make sure your lights, signals, and horn all work properly before riding, and if the brakes, belt, chain, or tires aren't working properly or have heavy wear avoid riding until you can have a motorcycle mechanic deal with them.


Be Cautious at Intersections

Pay particular attention at intersections. They are the sites of half of all motorcycle crashes. Be especially alert for a motor vehicle turning left in front of you, as this is an incredibly common type of accident.

Keep your head up when you come to a stop at a light or stop sign (or if you stop to avoid something crossing the road).  If the car coming up behind you doesn't realize you're there they could run into you with speed.  The most common type of car accident is a fender bender. A fender bender can easily be a fatal motorcycle accident.  If you can, put a car between yourself and the vehicle approaching from behind.  Give a friendly wave as you pull in front and it will give you a solid barrier behind you in case the next car back doesn't stop. 

In multilane traffic at a stop pulling between lines of cars can achieve the same effect.  If there isn't another vehicle at the intersection position yourself near the side of the lane, flash your brake light a few times to draw attention, and keep your bike in gear for a quick move away in case they still don't see you.

What to do After an Accident

No matter how safe you are you may find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident. It is always in your best interest to consult a lawyer when you sustain injuries in a motorcycle accident. Our Decatur injury attorneys will review your accident, determine liability, and put together the necessary evidence to support your case.

Our law firm is able to negotiate with insurance companies and fight for fair compensation for your injuries. You shouldn't have to worry about finances because of someone else's actions. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Decatur are here to handle the details of your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries.