If you want to drive safely through the city without needing the services of a Houston motorcycle attorney, always practice three principles: drive defensively, maintain passive and active visibility, and read the road conditions. Here’s how:
Assume You’re the Only One Paying Attention
When you’re on city streets, ride while assuming that drivers and bike riders are distracted. How?
- Ride in drivers’ front vision, not on the periphery.
- Anticipate and avoid driver blind spots.
- Don’t dip into the gutter; you’ll have to contend with bicyclists and people on foot
- Stay alert in busy intersections; some drivers run yellow and red lights.
- Follow vehicles at a safe distance.
- Stay aware of what’s going on around you, especially in the zone of seven to twelve seconds’ ride ahead.
- Notice any ‘escape lane’ options that let you avoid an unfolding accident.
- Don’t wander into another lane when turning; you may surprise incoming drivers.
- Be particularly careful when making left hand turns in busy intersections.
Special note: Watch out for pedestrians. Jaywalkers, hyperactive children, and stray cats and dogs are a big hazard in cities.
Maximize Your Visibility
This includes both passive visibility, which is being easy to spot, and active visibility, which is taking action to make yourself known to other drivers.
- Wear bright clothing, especially your jacket and motorcycle helmet.
- If you really love that comfortable yet drab black leather jacket, throw a brightly colored vest over it.
- Bring with you a reflective vest to pull on at night.
- Make sure your motorcycle’s lights are all in working order, for better visibility at night and in poor weather conditions.
- Ride with your lights on during the day if local laws permit it.
- Signal your turns, making sure that the correct light’s blinking.
- Use hand and arm signals to indicate turns if your lights are out.
- Catch the eyes of turning vehicles by making a slight, safe weave in your lane. The swerving movement your headlights makes will attract more attention than a steady, incoming light.
Watch the Road Conditions
A motorcycle is more vulnerable than a car to accidents caused by poor road conditions. Always scan ahead and to each side while riding. Keep a close eye out for:
- roughly patched potholes
- uneven, mounded-up transitions between old and newly repaired roads
- oil slicks and other spills
- speed bumps with worn-off paint
- black ice
- broken glass
- loose gravel
- giant dips lurking at the ends of bridges
Unfortunately, sometimes even the safest motorcycle riders end up in an accident. That’s why you should carry in your wallet the number for a trusted Houston motorcycle attorney next to your driver’s license and insurance.