Motorcycle riding can be dangerous, especially if the rider fails to take precautions. Per vehicle miles traveled in 2020, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash. To avoid the inconvenience and potential heartbreak associated with a motorcycle accident, here are some safety tips while riding a motorcycle both drivers and passengers should consider.
Take a Safety Course and Obtain a Motorcycle Endorsement
To operate a motorcycle in Mississippi, you must hold a valid Mississippi driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. To obtain a motorcycle endorsement, you must pass a knowledge (written) test and a skills (road) test.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a nationwide organization offering safety riding courses throughout Mississippi. Generally, a course lasts a few days or over a weekend. After completing the course, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety waives the skills portion of the motorcycle endorsement test. A rider is required to take only the written test. Most courses cover the knowledge necessary for the written test, so taking a motorcycle riding course is the easiest and safest way to obtain an endorsement.
Wear a Helmet
In States without universal helmet laws, 57% of motorcyclists killed in 2020 were not wearing helmets. In light of statistics like this, motorcycle laws in Mississippi require drivers and passengers to wear a helmet and require the helmet to meet the minimum guidelines of the NHTSA.
Choosing a Helmet
Choosing a proper helmet might be overwhelming. There are different categories of helmets, and the size and shape of one helmet that fits your friend might not fit you. Choosing the proper helmet can save your life, so take the buying process seriously.
Measuring your head before trying on a helmet is a good place to start. When measuring, use a cloth measuring tape that molds to the shape of your head. Start above your eyebrows and move the tape measure around your head to the thickest point at the back. This measurement will give you an idea of what size helmet to try on.
When trying on a helmet, wear the helmet for 30-45 minutes to be sure it’s comfortable. The helmet should be tight, with even pressure around your head, without uncomfortable pressure points. If a helmet is too loose, it will move when your head moves.
Check Safety Ratings
Regardless of the size and style of helmet you buy, you should always ensure the helmet has a thick, polystyrene-foam inner liner with a sturdy chin strap to hold the helmet to your head. The rivets of the helmet should also be solid, not flimsy.
Additionally, it is essential to make sure your helmet has a proper safety rating. If a helmet has a “DOT” symbol on the back, then it meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218 and also complies with Mississippi law. You may even see “FMVSS No. 218 Certified” on the back of the helmet.
Regularly Inspect Your Motorcycle
A driver should inspect their motorcycle before every ride. Constantly checking your motorcycle may seem excessive, but it could be the difference between life and death. The following checklist is a good starting point for ensuring your motorcycle is ready to ride:
- Check tire pressure and tread depth,
- Ensure both the hand and foot brakes work correctly,
- Check for signs of an oil or gas leak, and
- Ensure cargo is secure and the weight of the cargo is balanced.
If you are riding with a passenger, also check the stability of the rear seat, footrests, and handlebars (if provided).
Additional Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips
Having a license, wearing a helmet, and inspecting your motorcycle are only starting points. To be fully prepared for the unexpected, the following guidelines are imperative:
- Drive defensively,
- Watch for damaged roads or obstacles,
- Never ride under the influence,
- Adjust for inclement weather conditions,
- Dress for protection and visibility,
- Never take an unfamiliar bike into traffic, and
- Educate all passengers on proper riding etiquette.
If You’re in a Motorcycle Accident, Contact the Harris Law Firm!
Hopefully, these motorcycle riding tips for a Mississippi motorcycle owner remind even an experienced rider that accidents happen and to be safe. However, if you are in an accident, you can rely on the Harris Law Firm to help. We have over three decades of experience handling personal injury claims, like motorcycle accidents. When you choose one of our attorneys, you can be confident your case is in the right hands. For a free case review, call 662-262-6336.