On average, motorcyclists who wear helmets have a 29 percent better chance of surviving a crash than those who do not.
Although riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, knowing the rules of the road and practicing motorcycle safety will help you have a better time, no matter how long you’ve been riding. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) provides tips to ensure that you have safe travels on your motorcycle.
Before You Ride
Preparing to ride your motorcycle properly is crucial to ensure you have a safe journey. Before you rev up your engine, make sure to take the following steps.
- Get Your Motorcycle License — The RMV can help you obtain a motorcycle permit and license. Find the closest RMV branch to take and pass:
- Wear a Helmet — Helmet use is mandatory for motorcycle riders and passengers in Massachusetts. When buying a helmet, make sure it’s been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). A plastic shatter-resistant faceshield (VESC-8) can help protect your whole face in the event of a crash and provides protection against wind, dust, dirt, rain, insects, and pebbles.
- Select Appropriate Clothing and Gear — Your arms and legs should be covered by leather or newer synthetic materials, also called defensive clothing, to protect your skin against dehydration and potential injuries in the event of a crash. Try to buy high-quality rain and winter jackets, along with motorcycle gloves. Wear boots and shoes that cover your ankles and provide sole support.
- Check Equipment — Comply with Massachusetts law safety standards by making sure your horn, rearview mirror, fenders, brakes, and lights are working properly. If something needs to be fixed, get your bike serviced before riding.
While On the Road
As a motorcyclist, you are responsible for your safety as well as the safety of others on the road. After you’ve strapped on your helmet and checked your equipment, make sure to:
- Follow Road Laws — There are special rules for motorcycles that you must follow:
- Avoid riding along pavement lines and between lanes of traffic.
- Do not ride side by side with more than one other motorcycle in the same lane.
- Stay off highways or expressways unless your bike can travel safely at minimum speeds.
- Help Drivers Know You’re There — Because motorcyclists drive alongside other riders and pedestrians, it’s important to follow motorcycle safety advice for sharing the road.
- Use high beam headlights while riding on the highway.
- Don’t ride in a driver’s blind spot.
- Signal before making a move.
- Adhere to posted speed limits.
- Observe all traffic lights and signals.
- Don’t Drink and Drive — As stated in Massachusetts law, driving under the influence is illegal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 43 percent of motorcycle riders who die in single-vehicle crashes were driving drunk.
Next time you get on your motorcycle, make sure to follow these tips and you’ll be ready for a safe and enjoyable ride.
Let us know where your motorcycle takes you. Comment below or tweet us @MassGov.
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