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Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben 2023 Spring Motorcycle Safety Guide

May 2023

Motorcycle season is here. Riders from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas are sprucing up their rides and planning summer fun. At Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, we’re asking motorcyclists to take extra safety precautions this year before hitting the open road.

Establishing good safety habits, following expert riding tips, developing a sound riding strategy and taking rider training courses can all improve your overall safety profile and reduce your risk of a collision and subsequent injury.

The Manley family explain how Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben took the legal burden off of their shoulders so they could focus on recovery after a motorcycle accident.

Why Is Motorcycle Safety So Important?

Motorcycle accidents are 28 times more likely to kill you than car accidents, bus accidents and truck accidents. Speeding and inexperience are usually to blame, and inexperience is more dangerous than speeding.

Assess your expertise. If you have deficiencies, take a safe driving course. Avoid riding in areas where conditions are more challenging than your current skill set can handle.

Motorcycle safety is especially important because, unlike with other vehicles, bikes offer zero protection for the rider. Because you are fully exposed, even a small hit can cause serious damage.

Bikes are not equipped with safety features like airbags and seatbelts. You can be hurled from a bike or get hit directly. Catastrophic burns, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and spinal cord injuries can all be part of the aftermath.

You can increase your level of protection on the road when you wear a DOT-approved helmet and bright-colored clothing to increase your visibility.

Of the 29 people who died in motorcycle accidents during the first part of 2020, only nine of them were wearing helmets. Seven riders did not even have a valid motorcycle license.

Rider Training Courses and Determining Your Motorcycle Competence Level

Rider training courses are an excellent investment for anyone who takes motorcycle riding seriously. A safe riding strategy gives beginners confidence. Advanced riders gain greater control over the bike, and that makes the ride more fun. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Motorcycle Safety Center provides Minnesota riders of all skill levels with affordable, high-quality professional training and education.

Listed here are some advanced skills used in motorcycle safety. If you don’t understand a concept, consider expanding your skill set with a motorcycle riding safety course.

  • Do you use a scanning system to identify hazards?
  • Have you mastered the art of cornering?
  • Can you swerve quickly and safely?
  • Do you understand traction management?

Quick Tips for Safe Travels

Stay In Your Comfort Zone
Comfort affects your ability to deal effectively with a wide variety of roadway challenges. When you feel calm and confident, your behavior will reflect it.

Don’t Ride When You’re Upset
If you feel stressed or uncomfortable, it can affect your decision-making and cloud your ability to see situations clearly. Do something else, and give your motorcycle the day off.

Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents: What to Watch Out For

Learn to recognize distracted and inattentive drivers so you can work around them. Because you are always at risk on a motorcycle, you must learn to predict what other drivers might do. Don’t resort to daredevil maneuvers unless you have thoroughly mastered them.

Look twice before making a turn or changing your lane. Curves and corners are where most accidents occur, so be especially vigilant at intersections.

You can increase your confidence and decrease your stress if you master the terrain of one territory before exploring another.

Don’t drink and drive. Don’t speed, either. The faster you move, the more competence you’ll need to negotiate the roadway without incident.

Proven Strategies for a Safe Ride

  1. Pretend That No One Sees You
    Motorcycles can vanish in blind spots and passing lanes. Do not rely on other drivers to spot you, avoid you or look out for you. They have enough trouble looking after themselves.
  2. Steer With Your Eyes
    Using visual directional control, you can focus on where you want to go instead of on what you want to avoid. Looking at a gravel shoulder, a guardrail or a vehicle driving into oncoming traffic is called target fixation, and it increases the odds of crashing into whatever you’re looking at.
  3. Practice Countersteering
    Leaning a motorcycle is not the same as countersteering, and countersteering is not used for turning. Countersteering does not involve body lean. Rather, it delivers a precise series of inputs to the handgrips. Press forward on the right handgrip to make the bike lean right. Press forward on the left handgrip to make the bike lean left.
  4. Use Front and Rear Brakes
    Front brakes provide at least 70 percent of total emergency stopping power. Squeeze the front brake gently and increase the pressure until you’re going slow enough to stop. Many inexperienced riders avoid the front brakes because they fear flipping over. However, the front brake is designed to give you more control over your bike, not less.
  5. Always Maintain Control of the Motorcycle
    Stand by your bike. Many experienced riders will tell you to maintain control of the machine and resist the urge to lay it down, even when you’re afraid of losing control. Decide where you want to go, and use countersteering and maximum braking to avoid a crash. Training classes like SEE (search, evaluate and execute) are available for beginners and advanced riders alike.

An extensive compilation of additional motorcycle riding safety tips and riding strategies are available on the MN DPS Office of Traffic Safety’s Motorcycle Safety Center website.

Contact Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben

At Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, we know firsthand that motorcycle accidents can be deadly and devastating for everyone involved. We can help by taking care of the legal process while you focus on recovery. If you or a loved one have been injured by a negligent driver, contact us to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney free of charge by calling (612) 377-7777 or toll-free at 1 (800) 752-4265.

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