Several devastating motorcycle accidents and fatalities that occurred during the Red River Memorial Motorcycle Rally at the end of May left many motorcyclists rattled.
Motorcyclists understand the risk that comes with riding, but that does not prevent them from taking to the open roads. After all, there are still more than 65,000 registered motorcycles in New Mexico.
However, after the accident-filled weekend, it may be helpful for motorcyclists to review some important safety tips before they go out riding this summer.
1. Wearing a helmet can be one of the best safety measures to take
Motorcyclists across the country have very different opinions when it comes to wearing helmets. Regardless of opinion, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that helmet use can help minimize the risk motorcyclists face significantly by:
- Reducing the chance of an injury by 69%
- Reducing the chance of death by 37%
New Mexico law does not require riders over the age of 18 to wear a helmet. However, choosing to wear a helmet can make a substantial difference in the event of an accident.
2. Consider the route before heading out on the road
New Mexico's extensive open roads are some of the best for motorcycle rides. However, a report at the end of May stated that our rural roads are the third worst in the country.
Poor road conditions like this can pose a serious risk to motorcyclists, from:
- Gravel or grass on the road
- Potholes or bumps on the road
- Uneven surfaces in expansion joints
Although riders cannot predict the road conditions, they can plan their route ahead of time to avoid the more dangerous rural roads.
3. Inspect your motorcycle often
According to The Taos News, one of the fatal accidents at the Rally last month may have been caused by a loose or broken bearing in the tire.
It is critical for motorcyclists to inspect their bike often to ensure it is in good working condition. Proper inspections can help motorcyclists maintain control of their vehicle, even when there are other risks on the road.
4. Ride defensively
It is no secret that reckless drivers still pose the highest danger to motorcyclists. They often do not give motorcyclists enough room on the road or even see them when turning or changing lanes.
Distracted drivers who look down at their phones are even more dangerous to motorcyclists.
While it is essential to combat distracted driving and educate drivers about motorcycle safety, motorcyclists can protect themselves by riding defensively and safely by:
- Increasing following distances
- Using signals far in advance
- Obeying all traffic rules
- Making themselves visible
It is critical for motorcyclists to practice safe riding skills so that they can enjoy the ride long into the future.