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When you’re traveling, the last thing you want to worry about is getting into a motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, the risk of getting into a collision is always present, even for the safest of riders. Bad weather, dangerous road conditions, the actions of other motorists, and other factors outside of a biker’s control can quickly lead to an unexpected accident. According to MoneyGeek, the vast majority of motorcycle accidents (97%) actually occur in clear or sunny weather, which means that perfect vacation weather may actually increase one’s risk of a crash.

Motorcycle accidents can be incredibly traumatizing and stressful, even for an experienced biker. A crash that occurs during a vacation can be especially difficult for the victim and their loved ones to handle. This article discusses safe riding tips, common causes of motorcycle crashes, and what to do if you or a loved one are involved in a motorcycle wreck while on vacation.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes?

Motorcycle accidents unfortunately occur with regularity across the United States and frequently cause serious or even life-threatening injuries. Although some crashes are caused by a biker making a mistake or driving dangerously, many wrecks occur due to the reckless actions of other motorists. The accident lawyers at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC put together a list of the most common causes of motorcycle collisions and found that crashes occur due to:

  • Distracted drivers
  • Failure to yield
  • Speeding or dangerous speed for conditions
  • Impaired driving
  • Tailgating or reckless driving
  • Improper turns or lane changes

Although this list does not cover every possible way that a crash could occur, these are some of the primary collision factors in motorcycle wrecks. Other environmental factors, such as reduced visibility due to fog or a poorly maintained road, may also play a role in a crash.

How Can Bikers Reduce Their Chances of Being in a Collision?

For motorcyclists, practicing defensive driving and wearing proper protective gear can literally mean the difference between life and death. Some of the ways in which bikers can reduce their chances of getting into a crash include:

  • Riding defensively: Defensive driving refers to a series of safe and measured responses to potential roadway hazards. Driving defensively requires a biker to keep their attention focused on the road, limit distractions, take note of potential dangers, pass other vehicles with care, and respond proactively to potentially dangerous situations. By practicing defensive driving, you reduce the chances of getting into a crash caused by another driver’s actions or an avoidable hazard on the road.
  • Obeying traffic laws: It may seem obvious, but obeying traffic laws at all times substantially reduces a motorcyclist’s risk of getting into a crash. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your travel destination’s motorcycle-specific laws, such as whether or not the state(s) you will be in allow lane splitting on the highway. By following traffic laws to the letter, you make your actions more predictable to the drivers around you.
  • Being visible: Increasing your visibility can reduce your chances of getting into a motorcycle crash. Some ways that you can increase your visibility to other motorists include: checking your headlights and taillights for functionality before riding, avoiding the blind spots of other drivers when possible, and wearing a high-visibility vest or jacket.
  • Wearing proper protective gear: Wearing motorcycle gear may not reduce your risk of a collision, but donning protective equipment can help prevent life-threatening injuries if a crash does occur. Be sure to wear full riding gear anytime you get on your motorcycle, including a helmet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that motorcycle helmets are 37% effective at preventing fatalities for riders and 41% effective at preventing fatalities for passengers.

Steps to Follow After a Motorcycle Crash on Vacation

We hope that you do not experience a motorcycle accident, particularly while trying to enjoy some much-deserved vacation time. In the event that a collision does occur while you’re traveling, do your best to stay calm and follow these steps:

  • Check for injuries: In the aftermath of a motorcycle wreck, the first thing you should do is check yourself for any obvious injuries. If you feel pain or discomfort, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Call 911: If you are able to move without risk of further injury, get to a safe location away from traffic or crash-related hazards. Call 911 as soon as you are at a safe location. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the crash, there may be a response by local law enforcement, paramedics, or firefighters. If law enforcement officers come to the scene of the crash, be sure to request a copy of their incident report.
  • Document the scene: If you are able to, take photos of the crash scene. Focus on any vehicles involved in the collision, visible injuries to yourself or other victims, and anything in or near the roadway that contributed to the crash.
  • Exchange contact information: It is very rare that a motorcycle crash causes no damage to the bike or other vehicles involved in the collision. As such, you will likely end up filing an insurance claim in the aftermath of the wreck. You should be sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the crash before leaving the scene.
  • See a doctor: Even if you feel as though you escaped serious harm in the crash, you should see a doctor after any type of motor vehicle accident. Collisions frequently cause serious internal injuries that may take hours or even days to develop noticeable symptoms. By visiting a doctor promptly after a wreck, you can receive treatment for any hidden injuries you may have suffered.
  • Call your insurance company: Most insurance companies require you to report a crash within a relatively short amount of time following the wreck. You do not need to go into detail about the causes or aftermath of the collision and should not accept responsibility for the incident. At this point, you need simply inform your insurance provider that you were involved in an accident.
  • Contact a lawyer: A motorcycle accident attorney can help guide you through the legal process following your collision. They will be able to assist you as you file your claim and can fight for fair compensation for any injuries you suffered. You should seek an attorney that is local to the area the crash occurred in, as they will have a better understanding of local laws than an out-of-state lawyer.

Always Ride Safely, Even on Vacation

We hope that this article helps you enjoy safe, relaxing vacations in the future. Wherever your travels take you, remember to always practice defensive driving, obey the rules of the road, and wear a helmet.