Best Driving Practices to Respect Motorcyclists on NYC Roads

Motorcycles are quite common on the roads of New York with people using them either to meet their transportation needs or for recreational purposes. Due to the nature of their vehicle, motorcyclists do not have the same level of protection as those persons who drive cars and therefore, motorcycle accidents often cause serious injuries to those riding the motorcycle. It is estimated that out of around 16,000 motor vehicle accidents that occur every year in NYC, at least 10 percent involve motorcycle riders.

What Precautions can Car Drivers Take to Respect Motorcyclists on NYC Roads?

Motorcycles are small vehicles and car drivers may not always notice them on the road. Here are a few tips for car drivers on respecting motorcyclists on the roads of New York, which can help reduce the incidence of motorcycle accidents.

Pass Cautiously

Passing a motorcycle is not the same as passing any other vehicle on the road. When trying to pass a motorcycle, take your time to signal the motorcyclist well in advance so that they are prepared to deal with your maneuver. If your car is a bigger vehicle and you are driving at high speed, even the gust of wind caused by your vehicle passing can blow the smaller motorcycle off the road, and cause them to move in an unsteady manner.

Avoid Lane Changes

Just as car drivers have a right to their space on the road motorcycle riders also have legal rights on the road. They may appear small and so, you may assume that they do not require a lot of road space. However, despite their smaller size, motorcycles do need a lot of space to maneuver on the road and cannot come to a quick stop. So, make sure that you never encroach on the motorcyclist’s lane and keep well away to avoid a crash.

Watch Your Bind Spots

Many motorcycle accidents arise due to a car driver’s inability to notice the presence of the motorcyclist in their blind spots. The car’s rear view mirrors may not give an entirely accurate picture of its blind spots. So, if the car driver makes a turn or changes lanes or merges into traffic without watching these areas, they are quite likely to cause an entirely avoidable crash.

To prevent these types of accidents, it’s essential for the car driver to physically turn their head to make sure no motorcyclist is occupying road space spanning their blind spots and only then make the turn or change lanes.

Take Extra Care at Intersections and Turnings

Motorcycle accidents in New York are known to be most common at intersections. With all vehicles converging on an intersection, it is quite easy to lose sight of the smaller sized motorcycle. To avoid a painful collision, make sure you carefully scan all spaces around you and particularly pay attention to your car’s blind spots before you proceed through an intersection.

Accidents are also more likely when vehicles make a left turn. Watch out for any motorcycle in the area where you wish to make a left turn. Keep an eye out for any signals being made by the motorcyclist to indicate that they are making a turn.

How Can Motorcyclists Avoid Accidents on the Roads of NY? 

Driving safely is equally the responsibility of motorcycle riders and if they drive carefully, they can certainly avoid getting into a crash on the roads of New York. Here are a few tips for motorcyclists to stay safe when driving.

Use Protective Gear


Motorcycle crashes are quite likely to cause severe injuries to the brain and wearing a helmet is the simplest way to prevent traumatic brain injury. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of a head injury in a motorcycle accident reduces by 69 percent if the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet. Make sure your helmet meets the safety requirements specified by US DOT. Follow the instructions on how to use and care for the helmet.

Use gloves to give your hands a better grip on your motorcycle. Wear clothing made of leather or heavy denim that covers your arms and legs fully. This gives some degree of protection against severe injuries in the event of a collision. Wear shoes or boots that provide protection to your feet and ankles. Dress in bright colors or reflective material when riding so that you are more visible on the road.


Check Your Motorcycle Before Riding


Some motorcycle accidents may be caused due to vehicle malfunctions. To avoid the possibility of such events, always maintain your motorcycle in good condition. Before you begin your drive, check that both tires have the necessary pressure. Make sure that your vehicle’s brakes, signal indicators, fluid levels, and head lights are in proper working condition. If you will be riding with a passenger, make sure the tire pressure and suspension is adjusted to compensate for the extra weight.

Use Anti-Lock Brakes

Even if your motorcycle doesn’t have an antilock brake, check if you can have them installed. Motorcycles with this mechanism are at a lower risk of accidents because the wheels are prevented from locking up and this prevents the rider from being thrown off the motorcycle. Data shows that motorcycles with antilock braking mechanisms are 31 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal collision. It is certainly worth investing a few hundred dollars to ensure better safety.

Be Watchful on the Road

Pay attention to the condition of the road on which you are riding. Be extra alert to the presence of sand or wet leaves on the road which could cause your motorcycle’s tires to skid. Watch out for potholes and bumps in the road that could cause you to lose balance and topple over. Avoid riding your motorcycle in bad weather such as fog and rain which can reduce your visibility and also render you invisible to other vehicles on the road. When it is raining heavily, an oily residue can form on the road’s surface, causing you to slip and skid.

Tips for Responsible Riding on NY Roads

When you share road space with other vehicles on the roads of New York, it is equally your responsibility to drive in a safe manner to avoid a motorcycle accident. Here are a few tips on how to ride your motorcycle in a responsible manner.

  • Understand the traffic regulations and follow them scrupulously.
  • Avoid speeding and changing lanes abruptly.
  • Obey traffic lights.
  • Keep up with the flow of traffic.
  • Keep sufficiently away from other vehicular traffic.
  • Signal clearly before you make a turn or change lanes.
  • Ride defensively and avoid being aggressive in your road maneuvers.
  • If riding with a passenger, make sure they are seated directly behind you, as forward as feasible.

Legal Requirements to Ride a Motorcycle in New York

The following requirements must be met by anyone who wants to start riding a motorcycle on the streets of New York.

  • Riders must possess a Class MJ or a Class M license that they have obtained after passing a written as well as road test.
  • Riders must wear a motorcycle helmet approved by US DOT and also have adequate eye protection.
  • The motorcycle must be registered and the registration must be renewed every year at the State of New York.
  • Riders of motorcycles must possess liability insurance for property damage and bodily injury.
  • Motorcycles must pass an annual inspection by a certified technician.
  • Motorcyclists must use headlights during the day.
  • Motorcycles must be fitted with at least one mirror.
  • The grips and/or handle bars of the motorcycle should not exceed above the height of the motorcyclist’s shoulders.
  • Motorcycles must be fitted with a passenger seat and footrest if they are intended to carry a passenger.

Contact a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorney in New York

Year after year, motorcycle accidents claim thousands of lives and lead to different forms of damage in terms of medical expenditure, damage to property, pain and suffering and loss of productivity and income.

In spite of being the party that is most vulnerable on the road, it is indeed unfortunate that motorcyclists are often branded as reckless and considered to be the party at fault for the crash. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we understand how unfair this is to motorcyclists and our personal injury attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve from the party at fault for the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in New York caused by the negligence of another person, you could be eligible for damages. Get in touch with us at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free case review to explore the legal options available to you.

Whether it is to pay for your medical treatment or rehabilitation from your injuries or for counseling to deal with the emotional trauma of the accident, we will pursue your case aggressively and help you get the maximum possible compensation for the losses you have suffered.


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