Motorcycle accidents kill far too many people in Michigan and Kent County. Many accidents are preventable.

The state recorded 109 motorcycle fatalities and 2,168 injuries in 2018. Kent County saw nine fatalities and 139 injuries. Motorists must share the road, but motorcyclists are most at risk.

Protect yourself before your trip

Having a proper motorcycle license should be obvious for anyone concerned about safety. But 29 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involve people without valid licenses.

Practice, practice, practice. Nothing replaces experience. Every machine has different handling and responsiveness, so get the feel for your bike by riding under controlled conditions. When you are comfortable, ride in traffic.

Check your motorcycle for specific items:

  • Tire pressure and tread depth
  • Hand and foot brakes
  • Headlights and signal indicators
  • Fluid levels
  • Signs of oil and gas leaks
  • Making sure cargo is secure and balanced
  • Briefing your passenger on proper safety

Protect yourself during your trip

Always wear an approved safety helmet. It is your best bet for protecting yourself from crippling brain injuries.

Wear leather or heavy denim to protect your arms and legs. Your boots or shoes should cover your ankles, and gloves provide a better grip and hand protection. Wear bright colors with reflective materials so other motorists can see you.

Avoid risks by obeying all laws and practicing common sense. Keep pace with traffic, and be aware of surrounding vehicles. Most accidents happen because motorists cannot see you.

Do not drink or take drugs and ride. Also, be aware of the side effects of any prescription medication.

Protect yourself after an accident

You can take every safety precaution and still be in an accident. Motorcycles comprise 3% of registered vehicles, but 14% of fatalities. A motorcyclist is 28 times as likely to die in a crash as someone in a passenger car.

If you are in an accident, another motorist will not accept the blame. On the contrary, they may actually blame you, so defend your rights.