Like bicycles, motorcycles share the road with a variety of vehicles like cars, trucks, and buses. Unlike bicycles, motorcyclists do not have the choice to ride in the road or on the sidewalk, nor do they sometimes have their own specified lanes on city streets. Motorcyclists must share the road with other vehicles much larger and more powerful than their own, putting them at a unique risk of being injured in collisions with these other vehicles.
As a motorcyclist, there are certain safety precautions you need to take that you would not need to take with any other type of vehicle. These include the following:
- Always wear a helmet when you are riding. In Tennessee, all motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear helmets;
- Make yourself visible, especially at night. Do this by adding reflective tape to your clothing and your helmet and having a bright headlight on your motorcycle;
- Do not ride a motorcycle if you have been drinking. It is possible to be charged with a DUI while riding a motorcycle. Alcohol inhibits your abilities to perceive the area around you and maintain a safe speed. If you have been drinking, get a ride home with a sober friend or public transportation;
- Know what to do in a skid. On a motorcycle, the front brake controls the majority of its stopping power. Use this brake in a controlled, progressive manner during a front wheel skid to regain control of the motorcycle. In a back wheel skid, maintaining control of the front wheel is key to preventing fishtailing. These are important skills to use in the event you are involved in an accident; and
- Be aware of the environmental factors around you. Motorcycles are more sensitive to hazards like wet pavement and potholes than larger vehicles because their tires have less surface area. Take turns widely and slowly.
If You are Involved in a Collision
Tennessee is a fault state for seeking damages after a car accident, which means that you will need to file your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance provider. But first, you need to build evidence for your claim to prove that not only do your injury and its expenses exist, but it was directly caused by the other driver’s negligent or reckless behavior. An attorney with experience handling motorcycle accident cases can help you with this.
Pieces of evidence you can use to support your claim may include your medical bills, the official police report for your accident, testimonies from eyewitnesses, and photographs of the accident scene. Do not leave the scene of your accident until you have all of the following in hand:
- A copy of the police report;
- Photographs of the damage to all involved vehicles, any damaged property, your injury, and the skid marks on the roadway showing how the accident occurred, if applicable;
- The attending officer’s badge number and contact information;
- The other driver’s insurance information, policy number, and contact information; and
- Any witnesses’ contact information.
Seek medical attention as soon as you can after leaving the scene of the accident. Once you have received a diagnosis and appropriate treatment, contact an attorney.