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Safe motorcycle riding techniques

May 15, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Remember to “SEE” – Search, evaluate and execute to prevent motorcycle accidents

I am certainly not a motorcycle safety instructor. But I am a lawyer, and I have represented a number of people who were seriously hurt riding motorcycles over the years. In some of these cases I hired motorcycle safety instructors as experts, and I’ve deposed and cross-examined more than my share of the ones hired by the defense.

So I do believe I am qualified to at least share some of the things I’ve learned over the years as a motorcycle accident lawyer as part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month this May. Today we’re reviewing tried and true safe riding techniques for motorcyclists.

I found this list from the folks at Michigan-motorcycle-awareness.org. They have a lot of great information dedicated to Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Michigan, so big hat-tip to the people at Michigan Motorcycle Awareness.

The list also stresses that motorcyclists should not just ride on autopilot. You must think hard before you get on the bike and during every mile you travel. Driving defensively doesn’t just apply to cars. Constantly searching for potential dangers, evaluating your surroundings and knowing how to handle yourself on your motorcycle are all key factors in avoiding motorcycle accidents.

As most of you know, Michigan has recently repealed its motorcycle helmet law. I cannot stress enough that wearing your helmet is the very first step you can and should take in riding safely to help protect yourself if a motorcycle crash occurs.

Here’s the “SIPDE” method for riding motorcycles in Michigan.

S – Scan: Search for potential hazards.

I – Identify: Locate hazards and potential conflicts with cars, trucks and other vehicles; pedestrians and animals and stationary objects.

P – Predict
: How will this hazard affect me?

D – Decide
: How to reduce or eliminate the hazard with methods including communicating your presence, adjusting your speed or lane position.

E – Execute: Carry out your decision.

Here are more safe riding tips from the motorcycle safety foundation: You and Your Motorcycle: Riding Tips booklet.

The Michigan Motorcycle Safety Program

Motorcyclists in Michigan must get their motorcycle endorsements to ride legally on public streets and highways. Here’s information about the Michigan Motorcycle Safety Program by the Secretary of State. The program uses safety standards established by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. All motorcycle operators and bikers must take a basic motorcycle knowledge test and successfully complete a motorcycle safety class or pass a rider skills test.

One tip I can give you from my years helping injured motorcycle operators is this: you can be the safest rider possible (and the vast majority of the people I’ve helped in motorcycle crashes were). But it isn’t you who runs the red light or who doesn’t look before changing lanes – it’s the other driver. You can’t always assume the rules of the road will be obeyed, and you have to always be vigilant.

Steven M. Gursten is a motorcycle accident lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law. Steve has received the highest motorcycle injury settlement in the state, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He frequently appears in the media on motorcycle safety and the proposed helmet repeal, and is available for comment.

Related information to protect yourself:

Motorcycle pre-ride checklist

What motorcycle insurance is required with the new Michigan helmet law repeal?

15 motorcycle driving tips

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers.

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