Riding a motorcycle is a hobby that many Americans enjoy all across the nation, and Texans are no exception. Our great state has thousands of miles of roads that are great for riding on two wheels, especially if you enjoy great views and wide-open expanses. But whether you ride for pleasure or ride to commute, motorcycling does come with certain extra risks when compared to driving a car. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ride, but it does mean that you should take extra care to educate yourself and practice good riding habits every time you hit the road.
Motorcycle Myths and Misconceptions
There are many misconceptions about riding a motorcycle, and these myths can get a rider into a lot of trouble—both leading to serious physical injury and potentially putting riders at legal risk after an accident. Here’s the truth behind five of the most common riding myths:
Myth 1: You do not need a motorcycle license.
It may sound obvious, but too many people think that you don’t need a license to ride. They couldn’t be more wrong. Riding unlicensed can get you into a lot of trouble, especially if you get in an accident—even if it’s not your fault. Getting a license also means taking an approved motorcycle safety course, which can help educate you about riding from day one.
Myth 2: Faster is better on a motorcycle.
There are some situations when a little extra throttle may get you out of a risky situation, but there are many times when it’s better to slow it down. Obey speed limits and be sure to lower your speed to match the environment you’re riding in, especially when you’re riding at dawn, dusk, at night, in the rain, or other low-visibility situations. By slowing down, you’ll be able to react faster in the event of a sudden hazard, such as an oblivious driver pulling out in front of you.
Myth 3: Just one drink is fine.
Never drink and ride, period. Motorcycling is a highly skilled activity that requires mental concentration, physical coordination, and good reflexes, all skills negatively affected by alcohol. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that over one-quarter of all motorcycle fatalities nationwide involved alcohol at or over the legal limit in 2016, and almost half of all riders killed at night were at or above the legal limit. If you’ll be drinking plan on alternate means of transportation instead, such as a sober friend, a taxi, or a ridesharing service.
Myth 4: You do not need a helmet.
Choose to wear a helmet. While Texas law does not require all riders to wear a helmet, the fact is that helmets save lives: over half (53 percent) of all motorcyclists killed in Texas in 2016 weren’t wearing helmets at all. A full-face helmet that meets Snell or ECE 22.05 standards may offer the best protection, but any DOT-approved headgear can protect you, even if it’s just a half or three-quarters helmet.
Myth 5: Other safety gear is not important.
“All the Gear, All the Time” (ATGATT) is a phrase you should be familiar with by now, even if you are a new rider. Riding only in street clothes such as flip-flops, shorts, or t-shirts ensures that if you hit the pavement you will be leaving skin behind, and likely a lot more. Wearing gear specifically designed for riding such as boots, pants, and a jacket can cushion impacts, protect your feet and ankles, and help prevent or minimize severe road rash injuries.
Other Motorcycle Safety Advice
Motorcycle insurance is an absolute necessity. It is recommended that all riders choose an insurance policy that not only complies with state financial responsibility requirements, but also exceeds the basic required coverage. Consider adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your policy at a minimum, as an uninsured or underinsured driver can make your financial recovery challenging otherwise. Talk to your insurance agent or provider to find the right plan and coverage for your needs.
Finally, no matter how safe and prepared you are as a rider, remember that you can’t always account for the actions of other people. However, by taking responsibility for safety now, not only are you doing your best to protect yourself from injury if an accident does happen, after the crash it will be easier to show a jury that you take riding seriously and that the person who caused the crash is responsible for your injuries.
Get Legal Help After a Crash
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you seek financial compensation from the person responsible for the crash. You could be eligible to receive money for your hospital bills, rehabilitation and physical therapy, future medical costs, lost wages and loss of future income, repair or replacement of your motorcycle, gear, and other property, your pain and suffering, and more.
For more information, contact an attorney at Wayne Wright LLP today by phone, email, or by clicking the live chat box on this page right now. We offer free, no-obligation consultations because we believe that victims have a right to justice in a court of law, and we are here to help you and your family start the recovery process today.