Cruise the Open Road
As summer continues to make its presence felt, motorcyclists are
taking full advantage of warm temperatures and riding the open road. Although these fast toys can
be exhilarating and economical, riders are 30 times more likely to be killed in
a crash than people in a car, according to Consumer Reports.
year, Wake Forest Baptist Medical
Center admitted for inpatient treatment a total of 247
motorcyclists involved in a crash and has admitted 54 so far this year—making
up, on average, seven percent of all admitted trauma cases at Wake Forest
motorcycle accidents happen on rides less than five miles long in daylight
shortly after someone has started out on a trip at speeds slower than 30 mph,
according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).
“The key to optimizing your safety odds on a motorcycle is to
be prepared, evade avoidable risks and drive smart,” said Shawn Griffin, R.N.,
B.S.N, Trauma/Burn Outreach Coordinator, at Wake Forest Baptist. “We live in this
age of widespread phone use and texting behind the wheel, which really puts
motorcyclists at an even more elevated risk. It’s critical for riders to anticipate
what can happen next with vehicles and be smart with their own actions.”
Griffin and the NCDOT offer the below tips on how to minimize
the risks of a motorcycle accident:
- Always burn the headlight—use high beam
during the day and low beam at night and in cloudy weather.
- Maintain an adequate safe distance when
following, being followed, lane sharing, passing and being passed by other vehicles.
- Scan a path of travel that is 12 seconds
ahead of your direction of travel.
- Know proper crash-avoidance skills and be
prepared to act on them.
- Use proper turn and brake signals and ride in
the best lane position to be seen and to see other traffic.
Wear Protective Gear
- Always wear a compliant safety helmet that
has the symbol "DOT" on the back. Helmets should fit snugly all the
way around and have no obvious defects such as cracks, loose padding or frayed
- A plastic shatter-resistant face shield can protect
against debris and help protect the entire face in a crash.
- Wear bright-colored clothing to increase
chances of being seen.
- Jackets and pants provide the best protection
for the body and should snugly cover arms and legs completely. Certain jackets are
designed to protect without overheating.
- Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover
ankles and sturdy enough to offer support with laces tucked in so they won’t
catch on the motorcycle.
- Gloves allow a better grip and help protect
hands in a crash—and should be made of leather or similar durable material.
“I also like to stress that motorcyclists
should never rely on making ‘eye contact’ with a driver as a sign they will
yield,” said Griffin. “Drivers often look right at a motorcyclist and still
fail to ‘see’ them. Motorcyclists must rely on their own eyes and always
anticipate that a car may not see them.”