When it comes to riding motorcycles, the old adage “better safe than sorry” is particularly apt. Since bikes provide no protection against impact in the event of a collision, it's absolutely imperative that motorcyclists do everything they can to prevent these devastating accidents from happening in the first place.
Completing a motorcycle operation and safety training course is one of the most important things riders can do to reduce their risk of being involved in
a serious crash. These courses can help motorcyclists gain
the skills they need to keep themselves safer on the road.
If you're a novice motorcyclist who recently acquired a new or "new to you" motorcycle, here's what you need to know about safety training courses.
Lack of Training and Experience a Leading Cause of Motorcycle Crashes
In 1981, motorcycle safety expert Hugh Hurt—who would go on to run the nonprofit Head Protection Research Laboratory of Southern California—published a comprehensive study on motorcycle accidents and their causes, “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures,” also known as the Hurt Report.
Though nearly four decades old, the Hurt Report still offers crucial insight on common motorcycle accident causes, as well as advice for helping bikers ride safer and increase their chances of survivability if they're involved in a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsored the study. Results included investigations of 900 motorcycle accident scenes in the Los Angeles area and analyses of 3,600 motorcycle traffic accident reports. The data identified lack of training and riding experience as a leading cause of serious bike crashes. The vast majority of riders whose accidents were analyzed for the Hurt Report—a whopping 92 percent—had no formal motorcycle operation or safety training, having learned to ride on their own or with the help of a family member or friend.
Inexperience with the machine involved in the crash also plays a major role in motorcycle accidents. According to the results of the Hurt Report, more than 50 percent of the bikers involved in the accidents studied had less than five months of experience on the machine they were riding at the time of the crash.
Motorcycle Operator Training Courses
In Texas, motorcyclists must complete and pass a basic or intermediate motorcycle operator training course in order to obtain a first-time motorcycle license, or add a motorcycle license to an existing car permit or license.
Motorcyclists who hold an unrestricted class M license can also take advantage of advanced courses from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Harley-Davidson, as well as a variety of specialized courses and programs. These courses are available at more than 200 locations throughout the state of Texas. Cost and requirements vary by course.
The Benefits of Motorcycle Safety Training
Research suggests that motorcycle operator training safety courses may be able to help enthusiasts cultivate better collision avoidance skills, including counter-steering, swerving, and proper braking practices. However, these aren't the only benefits that can be gained by completing a motorcycle safety training course. Formal training can also help riders:
- Banish biases. Injured motorcyclists can face bias from insurance adjusters, juries, and even judges who assume that all riders are reckless and, therefore, responsible for their injuries. Completing a motorcycle operation and safety course may help people see bikers as responsible and respectable motorists.
- Save on insurance. Some motor vehicle insurance providers offer discounted rates for motorcyclists who've completed formal training programs.
Consult an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
As beneficial as safety training courses can be, they can't prevent all motorcycle accidents, in part because many such crashes are caused by negligent motorists rather than motorcyclists.
If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. Contact McGartland Law Firm today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your motorcycle accident case.