May is Motorcycle Awareness Month here in North Carolina and around the rest of the United States. With that in mind, we want to talk about what riders can do to make themselves just a little bit safer while they're on the road.
Accidents happen, so be prepared
We'd love it if every ride ended safely, but accidents do frequently happen. If you're ever in a serious wreck on your motorcycle, your best protection is your gear. There's really nothing else between you and the pavement!
Wear the right helmet
When you purchase a helmet, you want to search for the DOT symbol on the outside of the helmet in the back. That's a certification from the manufacturer that the helmet meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The helmet should also have a permanent label inside somewhere that identifies its manufacturer and gives instructions for its use and care.
All helmets meeting the right safety requirements will have a thick foam lining, heavy-duty chinstraps and weigh about three pounds. If the helmet has the "ANSI" or "Snell" label, that's an additional indicator of a helmet's quality -- but it isn't required for safety.
Wear a shield or goggles
Some helmets come with face shields so that your eyes are protected from rain, wind, dust, grit, gravel and insects while you're riding. If you buy a helmet without a face shield, wear goggles. Glasses, if you wear them, are not enough protection from the elements on the road and can easily slip off.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, make sure that you find out everything you can about your right to compensation for your injuries. Recovery can be a long, hard road -- and you deserve fair treatment.