The injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents are often serious and even catastrophic. Many times, the degree of injury or harm could have been much less severe if the biker had taken proper safety measures while riding.

As a result, it is important for all riders to understand Michigan motorcycle safety laws and tips before proceeding. By consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., you could have help in understanding these rights.

Requirements for Motorcyclists

Every motorist owes a legal duty of care to those they share the road with. This safety law extends to motorcyclists in Michigan, who must also take additional steps to procure a license. In the state, a prospective motorcyclist must pass a written and vision test, as well as complete a certified motorcycle safety course before they can obtain a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement.

Furthermore, a biker must also have the necessary minimum insurance coverage in order to ride safely and obey the law on Michigan roads. Because of the state’s no-fault insurance, this coverage might allow an injured motorcyclist to receive some form of compensation for a crash, no matter where the liability rests. These claims are filed with the injured biker’s own insurance company and might provide coverage for lost wages, medical bills, and other associated costs.

Essential Motorcycle Laws

Michigan law allows both riders and passengers on motorcycles to decide if they would like to wear a helmet. However, riders and passengers under the age of 21 must wear a helmet at all times. Furthermore, if an operator or a passenger decides not to wear a helmet, they both must carry a minimum of $20,000 in first-party medical insurance before legally being able to do so. Beyond this, riders must have also held a motorcycle endorsement for two years—or have completed the applicable motorcycle safety course.

All motorcycles in the state must also have proper safety equipment. This includes:

  • Front and rear wheel brakes
  • One functional headlight and taillight
  • A muffler
  • Horn
  • Rear-view mirror
  • Permanently attached seat
  • Handlebars that are positioned to only allow a maximum of 15 inches between the lowest point of the seat and the highest point of the grips
  • Shatterproof goggles—for bikers who are traveling at speeds of 35 miles per hour or more

By law, motorcycles are allowed to use one full lane of traffic. If two riders wish to ride side-by-side, they can do so. However, there are never to be more than two motorcycles riding abreast of each other at any time. Lane splitting—which is when a motorcycle rides in between lanes of traffic on the white lane—is not permitted at any time in Michigan.

In fact, when on the road, motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. This means they must use turn signals, obey all traffic signs and lights, and abide by speed limits. This also means that they are not allowed on sidewalks for any reason.  Furthermore, motorcycles with engines smaller than 125 cc are prohibited on freeways or limited access highways.

Ways to Help Prevent a Motorcycle Crash

The Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers of Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. want to ensure that you are safe on the road whether you are traveling alone, with a friend, or a family member. Below are some possible riding tips to help prevent the possibility of a crash. These include:

  • Wear an approved helmet that effectively prevents disabling and fatal head injuries
  • Practice hard braking techniques regularly—front and back break together
  • Always keep your eyes peeled and scan road ahead of you
  • Use turn signals when appropriate
  • Stick to the speed limit
  • Do not tailgate other vehicles
  • Do not ride in blind spots—make sure other drivers can see you
  • Respect other drivers by not weaving in and out of traffic or driving on the shoulder of the road
  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions and be aware of changing conditions
  • Drive defensively—assume the other driver does not see you
  • When riding in a group, ride single file to allow proper distance in case of an emergency
  • Avoid speeding

Similarly, motorists can help to avoid wrecks with motorcycles by leaving a greater following distance between them, as well as being cautious at intersections and practicing other safety measures. However, if a biker is injured while riding despite practicing these safety measures, a Michigan motorcycle crash lawyer might be able to help.

Before Riding

Even before taking a motorcycle out on Michigan roads and highways, a motorcyclist should always make sure that their bike is functioning properly. Below are a few easy steps to help ensure a bike is ready for riding season. These steps include:

  • Check tires for any cracks, bulges, and signs of wear in the treads
  • Check for oil or gas leaks
  • Test headlights, taillights, and signals to make sure they are functioning correctly
  • Hydraulic and coolant fluids should be checked frequently
  • Check clutch and throttle
  • Make sure you are riding boots are waterproof—in case you get stuck riding in the rain
  • Wear bright, solid-colored riding gear to ensure others will see you on the road
  • Clean and adjust all mirrors
  • Wear durable non-slip gloves
  • Keep motorcycle in functioning condition
  • Be sure to test your lights, brakes, and turn signals before riding

These quick preparation steps could help a motorcyclist maneuver better in the event of an accident. In fact, you should not only follow these steps before the first time you take out your bike for the season, but also each time you ride. Checking your bike is functionally properly each time you ride will allow you to have a better and safe ride each time

Group Riding Safety

When riding in a motorcycle group it is important that you follow certain riding standards for safe group riding. Here are some tips recommended by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:

  • Arrive prepared with a full tank of gas
  • Hold a riders meeting—discuss route, rest, fuel stops, hand signals
  • Keep the group to a manageable size—ideally five to seven riders
  • Ride prepared—cell phone, first aid kit, full tool kit
  • Use hand signals
  • Ride information—allow proper space to maneuver and react to hazards
  • Avoid side-by-side formations
  • Periodically check the riders following in your rearview mirror
  • If you get separated from the group, do not panic

Speak with an Attorney About Michigan Motorcycle Safety Tips

If you have been harmed in a motorcycle accident, it is important to protect your rights. It is in your best interest to notify the authorities after a wreck, collect information from the crash site, exchange information with anyone who may have witnessed the crash, and see a doctor right away.

Furthermore, by working with a seasoned lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, .P.C., you could understand your legal rights and have help determining if another motorist’s negligence caused a crash. If so, you may be able to pursue a legal claim for compensation.

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