Beginning Bikers: Risks for New Motorcycle Owners
For someone who has always loved the idea of cruising the open road on a motorcycle, the feeling of finally riding your own bike for the first time is akin to the thrill of a teenager getting behind the wheel of a first car. It’s a sense of freedom and exhilaration that’s hard to replicate.
Beginning Riders Face Increased Risks
Although riding a motorcycle is risky for anyone, studies have shown the risk is greatest in the first year of owning and riding a motorcycle. Additionally, the Highway Loss Data Institute states that the first 30 days of riding a motorcycle are more dangerous for new riders than their entire second year of riding.
One problem stems from the short courses the law requires new riders to take to get their motorcycle license. Compared to traditional drivers’ education classes – which in Georgia require 40 hours of practiced, supervised driving, even for adult learners – state law only requires new motorcycle riders to pass a test. Courses for beginning riders are available, but the law doesn’t require riders to take them.
Hazards Facing Motorcycle Riders
As a new motorcycle rider, it’s essential to have a keen understanding of the common hazards you’re likely to face on the road. Knowing what to look for and being prepared for what to do when you encounter hazards is a crucial component of staying safe. Some of the most common dangers facing motorcycle riders on Georgia roads include:
- Oncoming and nearby traffic. A distracted driver who drifts – even momentarily – into your lane can be disastrous for a new motorcycle rider. Motorcycles are much more vulnerable than passenger cars and larger vehicles to even minor clips, which can knock a rider off his or her bike, causing serious injury.
- Turns at intersections can be incredibly dangerous for new motorcycle riders. Especially when it comes to cars making left turns, many riders report being cut off by cars whose drivers weren’t watching out for motorcycles – and many riders have been hit by cars in these situations.
- Speeding around turns. When you’re new to enjoying the freedom of the open road on a motorcycle, it’s easy to get overconfident and give into the temptation to zip along at high speeds. But if you take a tight turn too quickly, especially as a beginning rider, you’re running the risk of a crash if you lose control.
- Inclement weather. Rain, sleet, and snow all have a significant impact on road conditions, and new motorcycle riders run an increased risk of crashing in inclement weather. If you’re riding while the weather is less than ideal, it’s even more important to take your time and adjust to the hazards of water or ice on the road.
Tips to Keep New Riders Safe
Fortunately, there are a number of things new motorcycle riders can do to mitigate their risks of a crash and enjoy the open road safely:
- Take a Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program course. Although state law doesn’t require riders to take these courses to get a motorcycle license, enrolling in one is a good idea. The Basic Riders course grants new riders a 90-day waiver that allows them to bypass the required knowledge and skills test (since these exams are incorporated into the course). The course also provides new riders with a motorcycle and helmet to use while they are enrolled.
- Take it easy. Motorcycles have a way of automatically boosting a rider’s confidence. That’s great, but it also encourages risky riding behavior. Obey traffic signs and speed limits just as you would in a car, and practice defensive riding to protect yourself from drivers who may not be looking out for you.
Motorcycle riding comes with a lot of risks as well as lot of enjoyment, and it is especially important for beginning motorcycle riders to understand these risks so they can stay safe on the road. If you have been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to call an experienced Savannah motorcycle accident attorney at Roden + Love for legal help. Our personal injury lawyers have a history of success and charge no upfront fees if we handle your case.