Arizona is one of the most popular states for motorcycling in the country. Unfortunately, it is not always the safest place for riders; in 2020, 160 motorcyclists lost their lives and 1,921 were injured in traffic accidents in Arizona, according to the state’s Department of Transportation. If you are an avid motorcyclist in the Grand Canyon State, use these five tips to improve your safety and reduce the risk of getting into an accident.
Wear the Right Gear
As a motorcyclist, you do not have the same protections as a motor vehicle driver in a traffic accident. There is no tough metal shell, airbag or seat belt to prevent injuries. Instead, all you have to protect you is on your person. Reduce your risk of serious injuries by using the proper gear, including a helmet, eye protection, jacket, pants, boots, gloves and a vest.
Although motorcyclists over the age of 18 in Arizona legally do not have to wear helmets, doing so significantly decreases your risk of head or brain trauma. It is also wise to wear clothing that can increase your visibility to other drivers. Wear bright colors or reflective materials to stand out in traffic – especially when riding between dusk and dawn. Improving your visibility could save your life.
Know Your Ride
You should have complete confidence in your ability to control the motorcycle that you choose to ride. Riding a motorcycle that is not yours or that you are not used to can cause an accident, as you may be unable to safely and properly control the vehicle. Select a motorcycle that is appropriate for your abilities, skill level and experience. A motorcycle with an engine that’s too powerful, for instance, could be beyond your control.
Make sure you have all of the required motorcycle equipment. Under Arizona law, all motorcycles operated on public roads must have a designated seat and footrests for all riders and passengers. Motorcycles must have at least one brake. If you plan on riding after sundown or before sunup, your motorcycle must have a headlamp and rear red light or reflector. Before you take a trip, inspect your motorcycle to make sure it is in proper working order. Check the tires, oil level, brakes, clutch cables and chain/drive.
Check the Weather
Even the most experienced and seasoned motorcyclist could get into an accident because of bad weather. Motorcycles are highly vulnerable to environmental conditions, such as rain, fog, ice and wind. They are lightweight vehicles that are more susceptible to losing control in poor conditions. Always check the weather before you embark on a motorcycle ride. If a storm is predicted, choose to stay home or drive a traditional motor vehicle, instead.
Obey All Traffic Laws
Violated traffic laws are one of the most common causes of vehicle accidents in Arizona. You can significantly reduce your risk of getting into a motorcycle accident by learning and obeying all of Arizona’s traffic laws, including the laws that only apply to motorcyclists. Come to a complete stop at all intersections, yield the right-of-way to others when necessary and obey speed limits. Following traffic laws can keep you out of harm’s way when sharing the road with others. It can also make your movements more predictable to surrounding drivers.
Distracted, dangerous and reckless drivers are all around you as a motorcyclist in Arizona. Always stay vigilant and pay attention to your surroundings. Being aware of the people around you can help you detect traffic violations in time to react and avoid a crash. Ride defensively, meaning to assume that the drivers around you will break the law and encroach on your personal space. Always be prepared to take evasive action. If you do get involved in a motorcycle accident in Arizona, contact an attorney for legal assistance.