Massachusetts Motorcycle Safety Tips

motorcyclist in training area
motorcyclist in training area

Taking a few essential steps now can help motorcyclists reduce their risk of injury this season.

By now, many Massachusetts motorcyclists are ready for warmer days ahead. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys represent motorcyclists who have been injured and we are committed to sharing safety tips to protect from motorcycle accidents and injuries.

Whether you ride in Boston, Cape Cod or Central Massachusetts, here are a few essential steps:

Massachusetts Rider Education Program

This is a great starting point for new motorcyclists. Attendance is worthwhile because you have to opportunity to learn from more experienced motorcyclists and meet others looking to learn. You may also be able to fulfill your licensing requirements here. When you are finished, take your certificate of completion right to your auto insurance agent and ask for an insurance discount.

More experienced motorcyclists will also find something here, whether they seek new skills or want to review fundamentals to avoid motorcycle crash situations.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, the program offers 15 hours of course material, includes five hours in the classroom and 10 hours of hands-on motorcycle instruction. Motorcyclists under age 18 must complete the training before taking the Massachusetts Motorcycle License test.

The best way to begin is by visiting the Massachusetts Ridership Education Program website. You must sign up for an approved motorcycle training program to qualify for the insurance discount. Programs are offered throughout the state, in Ayer, Bedford, Beverly, Brockton, Foxborough, Framingham and other communities.

Massachusetts Auto Insurance for Motorcyclists

No one ever expects to be injured in a motorcycle crash. But it can happen and you want to make sure you and your family are protected. Start by learning about your Massachusetts auto insurance policy.

While auto insurance coverage for motorcyclists and drivers is similar, there is a key difference in Massachusetts. Unlike drivers, motorcyclists do not receive PIP (personal injury protection) benefits. PIP benefits provide the first $8,000 of medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses for a driver who is injured. The loss of these benefits creates another obstacle for motorcyclists after a crash.

Because motorcyclists do not have access to PIP, our attorneys recommend they purchase other coverages to make up for this, including Medical Payments, Uninsured Auto and Underinsured Coverage and Bodily Injury Coverage. To help you get started, our Boston motorcycle accident attorneys have written this article, “Massachusetts Motorcyclists: Buy the Right Types of Auto Insurance to Protect Yourself and Your Finances.”

We encourage you to read the article and show it to your insurance agent. Talk to other motorcyclists about their experiences buying insurance coverage. In addition to providing compensation if you are injured, buying the right types and amounts of coverage can bring you peace of mind now as you get ready to ride this season.

Motorcycle Helmet and Eye Protection

Massachusetts has had a mandatory helmet law since 1967 and is one of 28 states which currently require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Massachusetts has a “universal law,” which requires both motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets. The statute is M.G.L. c. 90, Section 7. Riders can be fined up to $100 for failure to wear a helmet.

Helmets must meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 2018. You will see a label with this number on the inside and outside of the helmet. Along with the helmet, motorcyclists must wear goggles or a protective face shield. This is not a requirement if the motorcycle has a windshield or screen.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston and Worcester Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents motorcyclists who have been injured in Massachusetts. With over 100 years combined experience, our lawyers are recognized for our results for clients across the state, from Boston to Worcester to Cape Cod. If you have been injured, learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. Our attorneys offer a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Time for All Road Users to Think Safety

As Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month draws to a close, we ask both motorcyclists and automobile drivers to take a moment to think safety this summer.

Motorcycling continues to grow in popularity in Massachusetts and around the country, and so do fatal crashes between cars and motorcycles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports in 2008, motorcyclist fatalities increased for the 11th consecutive year. Some 5,290 motorcyclists lost their lives in fatal highway crashes. Almost 50 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes collided with other motor vehicles. Over 90 percent of all fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle occurred on non-interstate roadways. About half of all fatal crashes between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle occurred at intersections. Often the driver of the car or truck involved in the accident simply failed to observe the motorcyclist.

Here are some motorcycle safety tips:

  • Wear a helmet. NHTSA statistics show you have a 29 percent better chance of surviving a crash than without a helmet.
  • If you’re concerned helmets interfere with your ability to see and hear on the road, read this NHTSA study. It found helmets caused no substantial impact: drivers wearing helmets had to turn their necks only slightly farther at times and there was no significant difference in hearing.
  • Remember to turn off your flash signal if it’s not self-canceling.
  • Make sure you’re experienced enough to ride with a passenger. It changes the way the bike handles and requires more skill.
  • Take turns slower than you think is necessary.

Here’s a few tips for passenger vehicle and truck drivers:

  • Never drive while distracted.
  • Remember a motorcycle has the same rights as any other vehicle on the road.
  • Do not attempt to share a lane with a motorcyclists. Allow the motorcyclist a full lane width to maneuver safely to avoid motorcycle crashes.
  • Remember to use your signals to change lanes or merge with traffic. Motorcyclists depend on those signals even more than other drivers.
  • Check your vehicle’s blind spot! Motorcyclists are even easier to miss due to their small size.
  • Don’t rely on a motorcycle’s flashing turn signal. They may not be self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off or can’t do so immediately due to road conditions. Wait to make sure the motorcyclist is really going to turn to avoid motorcycle collisions.
  • Remember motorcyclists often change speed or adjust position within a lane suddenly in response to road and traffic conditions. Allow the motorcyclist extra room – at least three or four seconds.

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