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How to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Washington State

Always Ride Safe

Every motorcyclist dreads the thought of being involved in an accident. Riding safe involves the correct mixture of gear and driving techniques while improving your visibility.

Motorcycle Safety Gear

One of the best ways to increase your odds of surviving an accident (and decreasing the severity of your injuries) is to wear a Department of Transportation approved or SNELL tested motorcycle helmet at all times. The vast majority of collisions occur on short trips near home, the very times when riders are most likely to not be wearing a helmet.

Harley Davidson provides riders with an online Helmet Guide to select the right balance of style, safety, and personal taste. Styles include half, three quarter, full-face helmets, and modular helmets, with each providing different levels of protection.

Choose a helmet that has been tested according to the SNELL safety standards or that meets DOT safety standards. Regardless, proper fit is imperative. Go to a physical retail location and try on helmets to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Other safety gear includes armored textile jackets, leathers, gloves, and boots. These items protect the rider from “road rash” injuries sustained from being thrown onto the pavement. A full-face helmet can be useful in protecting a rider’s chin and cheeks from this type of injury. Additionally, goggles or sunglasses, earplugs, and hand guards for handlebars are also useful protective items.

Safe Motorcycle Driving Tips

Safe driving techniques can be used by all motorists to help avoid accidents. For the motorcyclist, defensive driving is essential. Safety instructors teach drivers to avoid riding in blind spots and to be prepared for unexpected lane changes at all times.

Try to avoid speeding, and practice banking, turning, and braking with a new bike in a familiar practice area before hitting the open road. Never ride if you’ve been drinking or using drugs, and keep in mind that some prescription drugs can also impair your abilities.

Improving Your Visibility on a Motorcycle

The majority of accidents occur because another driver “didn’t see the motorcycle.” Major publicity campaigns nationwide have helped to increase the awareness of the problem, but riders are encouraged to take actions to improve their visibility.

Wear light, bright colors and use reflective tape on your clothing, and on the bike itself. Avoid all black motorcycles, and use clear hand signals when riding. Additions to the bike, like running lamps and headlight modulators, can also help increase your visibility on the road.

According to research reported in Proficient Motorcycling, riding a louder motorcycle does not increase your visibility. Some enthusiasts still prefer loud pipes, but it’s not necessary to purchase a bike with a loud exhaust purely for safety reasons.


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