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5 Motorcycle Safety Tips

May was motorcycle safety month and us here at Bigger & Harman, APC would like to remind you of a few recent changes in California law before you dust off that motorcycle and take it out for a ride. Additionally, there are five safety tips we would like you to take with you whenever you ride this summer, so you will return home safely and without a ticket.

1. Always Wear a Helmet

It’s the law! California Vehicle Code (CVC) 27803 requires all motorcyclists, motorized bicycles, motor-driven cyclists to wear a helmet, rider and passenger, no matter what age. The law even makes it illegal to ride wearing a helmet with a driver who has no helmet. Although it’s not required, it is wise to choose a helmet with a visor that covers as much of your face as possible. A good visor can help deflect road debris and insects that could otherwise get in your eyes while driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Morbidity and Mortality Report on motorcycle safety stated, “Helmet use consistently has been shown to reduce motorcycle crash–related injuries and deaths…” and drivers and passengers killed in motorcycle accidents make up roughly 14 percent of all fatalities, even though motorcycles make up less than one percent of registered vehicles on the nation’s highways.

2. Be Seen

Wearing a helmet can also help you to be seen, as most riding helmets are made from reflective material or have reflective tapes and logos. A helmet gives you a larger footprint and makes you more visible in traffic. In addition, wearing reflective gear or adding reflective tape to your bike or clothing helps you to be seen. Keep your headlights on at all times while riding.

With more and more distracted drivers on the road, i.e., cell phone users and text senders, GPS users, and in-vehicle video watchers, taking the attention of drivers away from the other vehicles on the roads, motorcycle drivers are at more risk.

3. Always Drive Defensively

Driving defensively means keeping your eyes on the other vehicles and considering motorcycle safety measures. Good motorcycle drivers keep the same space between them and other vehicles as a car driver would. They must be aware of motorists attempting to pass or those driving recklessly or in an abnormal manner.

4. Always Ride Cautiously

Lane sharing is now officially legal in California. That means that a motorcycle can use the space between other vehicles to keep moving when possible. With the number of traffic jams on CA highways increasing, the CA Legislature and the Governor thought it prudent to authorize lane sharing to help unsnarl traffic, at least for motorcyclists. However, for this program to work, it requires all of us, motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers to use courtesy and common sense. Additionally, it is illegal to open a vehicle door or use any means of blocking a motorcyclist to keep them from passing you.

5. Take a Safety Course

Not only will the CA Motorcyclist Safety Program (administered by CHP) give you some great insight into staying safe out there on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), I-5 & I-15, or just cruising around town, it could reduce your insurance premiums. An annual refresher course will help you to think motorcycle safety, as well.

Bigger & Harman, APC

When you have been ticketed for an unsafe lane change or another infraction either on a motorcycle or in your car, in LA, Bakersfield, SLO, or another SoCal county, call the expert team of traffic ticket defenders at Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300, or email: attorney@markbigger.com. The initial consultation is free, confidential, and without obligation.

Se habla Español 661.349.9755.