Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders in California

March 15, 2024 Motorcycle Accident

California’s scenic coastal highways and iconic routes make it a motorcyclist’s bucket-list destination. The mild climate also means California is ideal for residents who choose the gas-friendly option of riding a motorcycle to work or school regularly. For these reasons, California has a greater number of motorcycles on the road than any other U.S. state.

Although there is little as exhilarating as a motorcycle ride in California, the same open-air, two-wheeled design that makes riding a motorcycle a thrilling experience also leaves the rider vulnerable to grave injuries in a crash. Whether you’re a visitor to California and planning your dream ride, or you are a resident and use your motorcycle daily for transportation to work, school, and activities, it’s important to prioritize your safety by following the most important motorcycle rider safety tips.

motorcycle riding

Wear the Right Gear During a California Motorcycle Ride

California takes motorcycle safety seriously with a DOT-approved helmet required for all motorcyclists and passengers. California’s  CVC §27803 states:

“A driver and any passenger shall wear a safety helmet meeting requirements established pursuant to Section 27802 when riding on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle. It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet as required by subdivision (a).”

Helmets reduce the risk of head injuries in a motorcycle accident by 69% and significantly improve the chances of survival.

For safety, motorcyclists should also wear protective eye gear to safeguard the eyes from flying debris and choose tough, fortified clothing to protect against road in accidents. Sturdy boots prevent burns from hot engine parts and also protect the feet and ankles during a crash.

Wearing bright, reflective clothing helps improve visibility during low lighting, night riding, and during inclement weather conditions.

Choose the Right Motorcycle

It’s important to know your limits and choose a motorcycle that’s an appropriate size and one the rider can easily manage. Riders must be able to sit and stand comfortably and handle the weight of the motorcycle if they need to hold it propped up or lift it from a lying down position. The motorcycle should be suitable for the rider’s skill level and not beyond their ability. It must also be appropriate for the environment and must remain properly maintained and in good condition for riding.

Follow Traffic Laws Like Any Other Vehicle

California and other states consider motorcycles as a motor vehicles subject to the same laws. Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. This means riders must follow all traffic laws including those applying to signal lights, stop signs, intersections, crosswalks, one-way streets, and the speed limit.

Lane-split Appropriately

California is the only state that allows motorcyclists to lane-split legally. Motorcyclists may pass slow or stopped vehicles by sharing the lane or riding the white line dividing lanes. However, it’s important to choose the appropriate time and place to lane-split. It’s only legal and safe when traffic is moving at 40 miles per hour, and motorcyclists may only travel at ten miles per hour faster than the general flow of traffic. Never lane-split on the shoulder of the road, at night, or in inclement weather conditions.

Remain Sober, Alert, and Attentive While Riding a Motorcycle

Motorcycles are fun, but just because a weekend ride is a fun leisure activity doesn’t mean you should combine it with alcohol. As with car drivers, a motorcyclist can get a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances while operating a motorcycle. They also face a greater risk of suffering injuries in a crash compared to motorists.

Riders should avoid operating a motorcycle while drowsy and never text while riding. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s essential to consider reaching out to a skilled Encino motorcycle accident lawyer for expert guidance and representation to navigate the legal complexities and seek appropriate compensation.

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