Four safety tips for Pennsylvania motorcyclists

When riding in Pennsylvania, taking some precautions may help motorcyclists protect themselves from wrecks and the potential for serious injuries or death.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports there were 3,454 motorcycle accidents across the state in 2016 alone. Often, such collisions result in serious injuries or death for the riders, as they may be easily knocked off or thrown from their vehicles. Sometimes, motorcycle-involved crashes are caused by other motorists and factors outside motorcyclists' control. However, there are several things they may do to help protect themselves.

Dress for safety

One of the most important things motorcyclists can do to help protect themselves is to wear the appropriate gear whenever they hit the road. They should wear long-sleeved shirts and, long pants, preferably heavy denim or leather, as well as gloves and shoes that cover their ankles. Further, wearing brightly colored clothing or a safety vest when they ride may help improve their visibility, potentially reducing the risk of them being struck by another vehicle.

Always wear a helmet

In addition to wearing protective clothing, motorcyclists should wear helmets and eye protection. Having a helmet on at the time of a motorcycle collision may reduce people's risk of suffering a head injury by 69 percent and their risk of death by 37 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unless they are at least 21-years-old and have either completed an approved safety course or have at least two years of riding experience, motorcyclists in Pennsylvania are required to wear helmets.

Obey the traffic laws

When it comes to sharing the road with larger passenger and commercial automobiles, it is best if motorcyclists do not take any chances. They should follow the traffic signs, lights, speed limits and lane markings. Due to their smaller size, it may be difficult for other drivers to see people on their motorcycles. Since drivers generally expect the other motorists on the road to obey the local traffic laws, riding responsibly and defensively may help motorcyclists improve their safety.

Do not ride while impaired

Substances such as alcohol, illegal drugs and certain prescription medications may have a range of effects on the body. These may affect people's coordination, as well as their ability to balance, shift gears and control the throttle on their vehicles. Additionally, consuming alcohol or using drugs may impair motorcyclists' judgment, reaction time and alertness. Thus, it is essential that people refrain from riding if they are impaired, no matter how slight they may feel it to be.

Working with a lawyer

Motorcycle accidents may have devastating consequences for people in Pennsylvania, and their families. Should they suffer injuries that require medical treatment, they may be subject to unexpected costs for their care and lose wages while they are off work recovering. In some circumstances, though, the drivers responsible for causing these types of serious collisions may be held liable. Therefore, motorcyclists who have been injured in a wreck may benefit from discussing their rights and options for seeking compensation with an attorney.