By Michael H. Rosenzweig, Esq.
Plenty of Boomers are bikers. Memorial Day weekend may be one of your favorite times of the year, because it’s when thousands take to the road to kick off another riding season.
In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, it’s time for a crash course – pun intended – on motorcycle safety and injury prevention. Heed the following information to help you avoid a collision and enjoy being a Boomer biker for years to come.
As a Boomer, chances are you’ve ridden your motorcycle for years. But whether it’s your first year on a bike or you’re a seasoned biker, safety should always be your number one priority. Here are just a few important safety tips to keep in mind:
- Wear a helmet every time. While it’s not a law in Pennsylvania, statistics show that wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet significantly increases your chance of survival in a motorcycle crash.
- Take a safety course through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program. These courses will help you avoid being injured or killed in a crash, and there are options for riders of all skill levels. For more information, visit www.pamsp.com .
- Always ride sober. Motorcyclists made up the largest percentage of drinking motorists when compared to all other types of vehicles. Of the 4,099 riders in Pennsylvania crashes in 2010, nearly 11 percent were under the influence of alcohol.
- Follow the proper staggered formation for group rides. The leader rides in the left-third of the lane, while the next rider stays at least one second behind the rider in the right-third of the lane. The rest of the group should follow the same pattern.
- Dress in appropriate riding attire. Always wear protective eyewear, gloves, thick pants, shirt with long sleeves or jacket, and over-the-ankle boots.
- Perform regular safety checks on your motorcycle. Test your brakes, lights, and controls every time before you ride. Regularly check your fluids, tires, etc.
- Be smart – ride defensively. Watch for hazards on the road and drivers who don’t see you. Follow all traffic laws, and take extra caution to stay out of motorists’ blind spots.
- Carry a ‘Just in Case’ card. Store a laminated or water-resistant card that lists your name, emergency contacts, insurance information, and any details about your medical condition that emergency personnel should know in the event of an accident. Seconds count after a collision, and being prepared will help you receive treatment quickly and efficiently.
Protect Your Legal Rights – Insurance, Insurance, Insurance
You can make changes at any time to your insurance policy, so review it now. Make sure you have medical coverage on your motorcycle policy or regular health insurance coverage because the medical coverage on your automobile policy will not apply if you are hurt while on a motorcycle. Also, if possible, keep your motorcycle on the same policy as the other vehicles in your household. Learn more about Pennsylvania motorcycle insurance coverage, including the amounts we recommend for Bodily Injury Liability and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
If You’re in an Accident…
Despite your best efforts, you still may be involved in a motorcycle crash. Call 911 and get medical treatment for anyone injured in the accident. File an accident report with the police. Don’t speculate who’s to blame, and stay as calm as possible. Take photos of the scene of the accident, your injuries, and any other details that may be important – such as a dangerous road condition. Get information from the other parties involved (name, address, birth date, license number, phone number, insurance information, etc.), and contact information for any witnesses.
Finally, call your insurance company and tell them you were in an accident, but don’t give a recorded statement to them or the other person’s insurance company until you’ve spoken with an attorney.
Keep That Thunder Rolling, Boomers
There’s nothing like hearing the thunder of a motorcycle on the road. By keeping safety in mind, having the right insurance, and being prepared if an accident happens, you will help ensure that riding remains a part of your life for years to come. Visit these links for more information on motorcycle safety and motorcycle insurance.
Attorney Michael H. Rosenzweig has over 25 years of experience helping bikers injured in motorcycle accidents. He is a partner and litigation manager at Edgar Snyder & Associates. The Edgar Snyder & Associates’ Harley-Davidson makes appearances at bike nights and rallies throughout the riding season. For more information, visit www.EdgarSnyder.com .