Spring has arrived and along with it some beautiful sunny days; perfect for a motorcycle ride in the country. Unfortunately, the nicer weather does not increase the visibility of motorcyclists on New Jersey roads.

A 24-year-old man died last month near Newark when a car pulled out in front of the motorcycle he was driving. The driver of the car was parked on the side of the highway and had just pulled back into traffic. The motorcyclist slammed into the back of the car and died at the scene. Another motorcyclist hit the first motorcycle, causing a second motorcycle crash.

New Jersey crash statistics

According to the New Jersey Department of Law and Safety, about 2,500 motorcyclists are involved in motor vehicle accidents in the state each year. Although excessive speed, inexperience and driving under the influence of alcohol accounts for some motorcycle accidents, more than 60 percent of them occur because the drivers of the other vehicles involved do not see the motorcyclists.

Motorcycle driving tips

Experienced motorcyclists know what it takes to be safe on the roads. However, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, 90 percent of motorcycle accidents involve drivers with little to no formal training. New Jersey offers rider safety training courses but it is also important to follow state laws and wear protective gear such as:

  • Department of Transportation approved helmets
  • Goggles or glasses
  • Sturdy and abrasion-resistant pants and jackets
  • Heavy boots and gloves

Given that many motor vehicle crashes are caused by inattentive drivers, motorcyclists should always do what they can to make themselves more visible. To keep yourself safe during a ride, try such tactics as:

  • Allowing yourself plenty of space to react to sudden movements of other drivers
  • Wearing bright colored or reflective clothing
  • Avoiding riding in other motorists’ “blind spots”
  • Driving as if other drivers do not see you
  • Avoiding driving after drinking or when tired, both of which reduce your reaction time
  • Looking twice or three times when proceeding through intersections
  • Anticipating road hazards and slowing for turns and stops, especially on wet or dirt roads

Seek legal assistance

If you are involved in an accident, seek medical attention, notify your insurance company and enlist the assistance of legal counsel. There is no such thing as a minor motorcycle accident. A small action by an inattentive driver can cause extensive damage to you and your bike. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation for such losses as medical expenses, lost wages, damage to your motorcycle and pain and suffering. Surviving family members also may recover losses in the event of a fatal accident.