If you ride a motorcycle in Oregon or anywhere else, it's important to know about motorcycle safety. Being on two wheels leaves you more exposed on the road, especially when you're sharing it with big cars, SUVs, and commercial semi trucks. It's important to know how to ride defensively and protect yourself.
One very good resource for motorcycle safety is the Team Oregon website, which can be found at http://team-oregon.org/. Team Oregon is a cooperative endeavor between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon State University and offers important tips for riders as well as how to find the right course for you. It also has important information about recent motorcycle rider course laws. For example, as of 2011, all new riders under the age of 30 are required to take a motorcycle safety course. If you already have a motorcycle endorsement, even if it's from another state, you are not required to take a course. Motorcycle rider safety course laws are being phased in over the next 5 years, so expect them to change. As of 2012 the age moves up a full decade to age 40, as of 2013 the age moves to 50, and so on. It's important to stay up to date on motorcycle safety laws in Oregon. According to the site, currently "new riders 20 and younger are required to take the Basic Rider Training (BRT) course. Motorcycle riders aged 21-30 may take either the BRT or the Intermediate Rider Training (IRT) course."
The site offers information about 4 levels of motorcycle safety training, so you can find the course that's right for you. The costs range from $99 for Rider Skills Practice to $179 for the 15-hour (3 day) Basic Rider Training Course. Riders who want to take the courses are required to have a valid driver's license but are not required to have a motorcycle instruction permit.
What if I don't have a motorcycle yet? Can I still take the course? Yes! Team Oregon provides motorcycles and helmets to students taking their courses. You can also choose to bring your own motorcycle, but it must pass an inspection and meet certain safe operation requirements.
If you're unsure what kind of motorcycle or helmet to buy, Team Oregon has helpful information about that as well. They'll tell you how to measure your head and make sure your helmet fits properly.
Looking for something a bit more interactive? You might enjoy this motorcycle safety site: http://www.msgroup.org/default.aspx. It offers tips, videos, case studies, and an interactive forum where you can discuss motorcycle safety issues with other riders.
http://www.motorcycle-safety-tips.com/ is a blog that offers some helpful information about motorcycle safety as well. It comes with anecdotal advice that's easy to read. The blogger cautions against being lulled into a false sense of security. Even the most experienced riders can get in an accident. Says the site's author, "Although at the time of each incident I would have been able to demonstrate a greater degree of rider skill, proficiency, and motorcycle control than most of the riders I personally knew, the reality was much more clear: my apparent competence as a rider WAS NOT ENOUGH to keep me from the brink of disaster."
One important safe riding tip is to always be prepared for all types of weather. Riding in rain can be extremely dangerous, especially if you're a new rider. Make sure your motorcycle's tires are in good condition. This is especially important when riding on wet road surfaces.
Undoubtedly, the most important motorcycle riding tip is simply to be alert at all times. This may sound obvious, but many experienced riders become overly confident on the road. They can lull themselves into a false sense of security.
Regardless of how long you've been riding, you're never too experienced to follow these basic motorcycle safety tips. Know the laws; be alert at all times; and always be prepared. Consider reviewing Team Oregon's website, or another motorcycle safety site, for more tips and information that can help you be a better motorcycle rider and hopefully prevent a future motorcycle accident.
Contact our Portland motorcycle accident attorney if you have been injured and we can help you recover compensation.