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How to Avoid Common Motorcycle Accidents in Milwaukee


The Milwaukee motorcycle accident lawyers of Gruber Law Offices are passionate about protecting the rights of crash victims and their families and seeking the compensation they deserve. We are equally passionate about doing everything we can to prevent accidents in the first place. We strongly support legislation, law enforcement efforts and awareness campaigns in Wisconsin that aim to make our roads safer for motorcycle riders.

The Milwaukee motorcycle accident lawyers of Gruber Law Offices are passionate about protecting the rights of crash victims and their families and seeking the compensation they deserve. We are equally passionate about doing everything we can to prevent accidents in the first place. We strongly support legislation, law enforcement efforts and awareness campaigns in Wisconsin that aim to make our roads safer for motorcycle riders.

Our attorneys know that most motorcycle wrecks are the products of car and truck driver negligence. Accidents commonly occur when those drivers:

  • Fail to notice motorcycles before making left turns in front of them
  • Neglect to check their mirrors or blind spots for motorcycles
  • Refuse to yield the right of way to motorcycle riders
  • Follow motorcycles too closely, or “tailgate” them
  • Try to share a lane with a motorcycle or “squeeze” past the bike
  • Turn at intersections or change lanes without using signals.

As a motorcycle rider, we know that you cannot prevent drivers from engaging in those careless and reckless actions. However, you can control your own actions. We urge you to take the following steps of your own to reduce your risk of getting into a collision:

1. Take a motorcycle safety class.

If you are beginning rider in Wisconsin, you must take a basic motorcycle rider course before you can get a instruction permit and/or a Class M motorcycle license. However, even if you are a fully licensed motorcycle rider, you should consider taking a refresher course or specialized course and honing your overall riding and crash-avoidance skills.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) provides a list of different types of courses that are available to experienced riders. As you can see, these courses offer a combination of classroom sessions and controlled rides that teach a variety of techniques and strategies that riders can use. Go here to see a list of motorcycle riding course sponsors and locations in Milwaukee and surrounding areas.

2. Choose a motorcycle that’s the right for you.

When people buy a motorcycle, they may focus on how it looks and the speed and performance the bike offers. However, you also need to think about other factors. Whether you are looking to buy a classic Harley-Davidson or another model, you should consider your height and weight, your strength and agility and the purpose of the bike.

For instance, do you need a street bike or a dirt bike? Do you need a big, powerful bike to take on cruises through the hills? Or do you need a smaller, simpler, more gas-efficient bike to just get to work each day?

Basically, you should choose a motorcycle that feels comfortable and meets your needs. If you pick a motorcycle that is bigger and has more power than you can handle, it could make riding hazardous. Additionally, you should make sure that you can get on and off the bike without problems, rest both feet on the ground when you are sitting on it and be able to easily reach the handlebars and controls.

 

3. Inspect your bike before your ride.

If you experience a mechanical failure while riding, the consequences could be disastrous. Never take your motorcycle’s condition for granted. Before you hit the road, you should conduct a T-CLOCK inspection. In other words, you should check your:

  • Tires and wheels (tread, air pressure, rims, bearings and seals)
  • Controls (throttle, hoses, cables and levers)
  • Lights (battery levels and wiring, headlamp, brake lights and turn signals)
  • Oil (engine oil, coolant, hydraulic fluid and gas)
  • Chassis (chain, belts, frame and fasteners)
  • Kickstand (side stand and center stand).

If anything seems wrong, take it seriously. Make all repairs before you ride.

4. Wear visible colors and/or clothes with reflective material.

The easier you can make it for car and truck drivers to see you on the road, the safer you will be on your motorcycle. You can try many different ways to increase your visibility, including:

  • Wearing a brightly colored shirt or jacket (red, yellow or orange)
  • Riding a brightly colored motorcycle or one that has bright sections
  • Using reflective tape or other material on your clothes or bike
  • Riding with your lights on (even during the day)
  • Staying out of a motor vehicle’s blind spots.

Additionally, if you don’t think a motor vehicle driver sees you, or if the driver approaches you too closely, never hesitate to blast your horn.

5. Pay close attention to the road and everything around you.

When you ride a motorcycle, you need to be on heightened alert. It starts with focusing on the road. You need to look for potholes, gravel, sand, oil patches and other items that could cause you to wipe out. You also don’t want to enter corners or hit dips or bumps in the road at a high speed.

Above all, you need to keep your eyes on other drivers and be ready to react to their actions. You cannot assume that they see you or that they know how to share the road with your motorcycle.

6. Watch your speed: Don’t speed or go faster than conditions allow.

Speed is the second-leading cause of motorcycle accidents in Wisconsin, according to WisDOT. When you break the speed limit or go too fast for traffic, weather and road conditions, you can easily crash. For instance, if you go too fast into a corner or bend in the road, you can lose control of your bike. Also, if you are speeding, you lack the time and distance you need to avoid slick spots, objects and other vehicles that get in your way. Try leaving for your destination a few minutes early so you don’t feel rushed when you are on the road.

7. Never share a lane.

As a motorcyclist in Wisconsin, you have the right to be treated just like any other motor vehicle on the road. This means that you have the right to use a full lane. At the same time, you need to respect other drivers’ right to a full lane. Trying to share a lane with another vehicle can be dangerous.

As the American Motorcyclist Association points out, a topic that has generated a lot of debate is whether states should allow “lane-splitting,” or riding between lanes of traffic. Some see it as dangerous, while others believe that it cuts down on traffic congestion and actually provides safety benefits. Regardless, the practice is illegal in Wisconsin, so don’t do it.

8. If you feel tired, take a break.

You need to be at the top of your game physically and mentally when you operate a motorcycle in areas like Milwaukee – and you won’t be if you hit the road while drowsy. As a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found, drowsy (or fatigued) drivers account for roughly 21 percent of fatal accidents in the U.S. If you are tired, you won’t be alert, and you will be much less able to control your motorcycle.

Simply put: Never ride drowsy. Stay off your bike if you have not had enough sleep. If you get physically tired during a long ride, just take a break and rest in a safe area. Don’t rely on energy drinks or coffee to “wake you up.”

9. Never drink and ride.

Everyone should know that drinking and driving is dangerous, especially when you are trying to maneuver a motorcycle through Milwaukee traffic. However, a surprisingly high number of motorcycle riders still drink and drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, during one recent year, 28 percent of the motorcycle riders who died in crashes in the U.S. were alcohol-impaired (BAC of 0.08 or higher).

You should never operate a motorcycle in Wisconsin after you have consumed any amount of alcohol. Even a single drink can affect your judgment and your ability to control your motorcycle.

Get Help from an Experienced Milwaukee Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident in Milwaukee, or if you lose a loved one in a crash, make Gruber Law Offices your first call. Our team of experienced, friendly and compassionate attorneys, paralegals, investigators and support staff can start work on your case right away. We will aggressively pursue all compensation you are due. Contact us today, and we can provide a free, no-obligation consultation.