Tips for Staying Safe as a Motorcyclist on the Road
Every year, over half a million motorcycle enthusiasts descend on Sturgis, SD for the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally. This year is no exception. Given that Iowa shares a border with South Dakota, many people will travel from and through Iowa to get to this year’s rally. With the massive increase of motorcyclists on the road, including an increase of riders from out of state who may not be familiar with Iowa’s traffic and motorcycle laws, accidents are more likely. Consequently, safety should be your top priority.
Motorcycle accidents are commonly caused by:
- Bad weather
- Bad road conditions
- Not wearing helmets
- Driving while impaired
- Other vehicles and motorists
To learn more about the common causes of motorcycle accidents, review our blog post here.
Below, we provide some tips on how to have a good time on your way to Sturgis while also avoiding motorcycle accidents and DUIs. Keep reading to learn more.
Tip #1: Wear a Helmet Even When Not Legally Required
Iowa does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet while riding. However, helmets are crucial when it comes to preventing serious injury and death. It is recommended that riders utilize a full-face helmet that is properly sized and in good condition. On average, a motorcycle helmet will last for around 3-5 years when worn regularly. However, if you are in an accident or the helmet becomes damaged in any way, it should be replaced.
Tip #2: Be Aware of Changing Traffic Laws
Before taking the trip to Sturgis, you should familiarize yourself with the traffic laws of the areas in which you will be traveling. While many states have similar laws, they aren’t always identical. For example, while Iowa and South Dakota both do not require adult riders to wear helmets, South Dakota does require riders under the age of 18 to be helmeted. Knowing what is expected of you as a rider in the different areas you will be traveling can help you avoid traffic citations, accidents, and injury.
Relatedly, it’s important to pay attention to posted speed limits and traffic signs. Speed limits can vary dramatically from state to state, and the last thing you want is to be cited for reckless driving.
Tip #3: Be Careful in Construction Zones
Road construction is omnipresent in the summertime. As road crews work overtime to make repairs before the winter, it’s not uncommon for you to move in and out of construction zones frequently. In these zones, speed limits tend to drop, and there is often heavy machinery traffic entering and exiting highways. This can be dangerous for motorcyclists. Be extra cautious entering areas where road crews are working.
Tip #4: Stay Alert & Don’t Ride Tired
Motorcyclists not only have to watch out for themselves, but they also have to be extra vigilant about road conditions, weather, and other motorists. When riding a motorcycle, you are more exposed to the elements and less visible to other drivers. This can be a dangerous combination. Therefore, you should always stay alert and avoid riding when you are tired. If you are traveling long distances, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to stop and rest when needed, and don’t push yourself to go too far if you are fatigued. Also, look out for wildlife on the road, especially when traveling at dawn and dusk.
Tip #5: Always Ride Sober
Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group of friends, the Sturgis motorcycle rally is a time when many people like to cut loose and have a good time. However, if your only mode of transportation is your bike, you want to make sure you are riding responsibly and not driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The only certain way to avoid a DUI is always to ride sober. If you plan on drinking, make arrangements to get another ride back to where you are staying, or consider staying overnight where you currently are.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident or charged with a motorcycle DUI, reach out to Hope Law Firm for representation. Our attorneys are highly experienced and prepared to help you with your case today.