Stay safe on your Motorbike!
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As with everything in life, there is good mixed with bad. Motorcycling can be extremely dangerous. That sense of freedom and being open to the elements also means you are not afforded the same protection as a driver of a car since you are not enclosed is a "metal box". An accident on a motorbike often results in serious injury or death.
In the UK it is a legal requirement to wear a safety helmet that meets British standard BS 6658:1985 and carries the BSI Kitemark. Its primary purpose is to protect the rider's head from impact and to reduce the risk of head injury or death. However, there is no law in the UK or USA about wearing protective clothing, unlike other countries where they specify that certain jackets, gloves, boots and trousers should be worn. These specified clothing have extra padding in areas such as the spine, and shoulders.
I am sure we have all seen people on a bike with just shorts and a T-shirt on. Obviously if the rider was to fall off there would be no protection and the rider would almost certainly receive friction injuries to the skin and bones. It is thus, suggested that wearing the correct specialised motorcycle gear is as important as making sure your bike is well serviced as it could save your life or reduce your injuries.
When considering safety equipment for riding a motorcycle you need to make sure that you try on the items first to make sure they fit and that they will keep you warm and dry. That way you can enjoy the ride and not become distracted because of a need to adjust your clothing. Don't, cut corners and buy cheap as you are dealing with your safety and your life and a bad choice now could affect your future if you are involved in an accident.
When on your bike, make sure you can be seen. A lot of motorbike accident are caused as people say they don't see the rider until the last minute. Many leathers and other gear contain reflective panelling. If the clothing you are wearing doesn't have reflective panelling wear a reflective top. It could make all the difference and could make you seen. As stated above sadly many drivers say they don't see bikes despite the ongoing campaign "Think Bike". We have all seen the posters and signs, haven't we? My colleague Karen Thompson has blogged on this topic.
A recent survey found that 55% of motorcycle accidents occur at junctions and that the main reason for that is drivers simply not seeing the motorbike's approach. In 2011 there were 33 deaths and 1178 injured bikers, an increase of 3% on the previous year. Driving on the roads generally is very dangerous and 8 people die every day and for every death ten times as many people suffer serious injuries. Out of the deaths on the roads 1 in 5 is a motorcyclist. This goes to show how dangerous being on a bike is considering less miles are travelled by motorcyclists generally than cars, vans and lorries.
When riding your motorbike make sure that you can be seen. Slow down as you approach junctions and stay vigilant. Wear the right clothing and don't skimp on safety. Being safe and wearing the correct clothing could save your life.
If you have had the misfortune of being injured in a bike accident or know someone who has, we at Blake Lapthorn would be very happy to advise you on making a claim for compensation.
Associate of the Institute of Legal Executives - Personal Injury team
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