Law Office of Michael R. De La Paz

Don't believe everything you hear about motorcycle safety

You have your own reasons for riding a motorcycle. You may want to save money by using a more fuel-efficient vehicle, or you may simply enjoy the solitude and freedom. No matter your reasons, you also understand how vulnerable you are on your bike.

Since other drivers are not always looking out for you, you have to look out for yourself. This means knowing what safety advice is helpful and what is myth. When you are in an accident, you want to know the precautions you have taken are going to improve your chances of escaping without injury.

What you wear makes a difference

If you are older than 21, Texas law does not require you to wear a helmet. You may appreciate the flexibility of that law, or you may choose to wear a helmet anyway. If you refuse to wear a full-face helmet because you are afraid it will obstruct your peripheral vision, you can put those worries aside. All safety helmets must have a field of vision of at least 210 degrees, according to the Department of Transportation. Therefore, it is wise to take advantage of this critical safety measure.

Another item of protection you can wear is a leather jacket. Far more than just a symbol of fashion for the motorcycle enthusiast, leather clothing resists abrasion. You may not like to think about road rash, but this injury can be quite serious and extremely painful. Leather jackets, vests, gloves and boots can go a long way in protecting you in the event of a crash.

Safety myths

Trends and theories come and go in the world of motorcycle safety. Some old ideas about safety have no evidence to support them, for example:

Myth: Your first bike should be a big one. In reality, a new rider is not likely able to handle the 700 pounds of a large bike.

Myth: It is safer to ride through town than on the highway. While highways involve faster speeds, streets have many variables, such as crossroads, opposing traffic and opening car doors, all of which account for about 60 percent of motorcycle accidents.

Myth: Laying your bike down to avoid a crash is safer. This Hollywood action is illogical and practically impossible to execute, and it is not likely to prevent serious injuries.

Myth: Louder exhaust pipes makes other drivers aware of you. Since the noise of your pipes is directed out behind you, loud pipes will probably not prevent the most common motorcycle accidents, such as a car driving into your path or changing lanes in front of you.

The most effective safety measure you can take is to drive defensively and be aware that other drivers are not always going to see you. Even your careful efforts may not protect you from an accident, but you have resources available to assist you if you suffer injuries.

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