There is nothing quite like the open road: the wide horizon splaying open before you, with endless possibilities. The only thing that could possibly make it any better is feeling the wind in your hair and on your skin.
Fortunately, motorcycles allow you to experience just that! The exhilarating freedom that comes with riding a motorcycle is unparalleled, but it’s not all fun and games. Before you invest in your cool new bike, here are 5 things you must consider before signing the check.
Aside from the cool aviator sunglasses and leather jacket you are considering (admit it), you will need to invest in some seriously vital safety accessories. Those leather jackets actually serve a purpose: they are meant to cushion a driver’s back, arms, and chests from scraping against the pavement in the case of an accident.
You also can’t afford to skimp on a helmet. Any helmet you wear must be Department of Transportation (DOT) approved. These certified helmets can be the deciding factor between life and death for a motorcyclist. DOT approved helmets are heavy duty with a thick, inner cushion designed to keep your skull safe and attached to your neck. Nice!
When you buy your motorcycle, you will also need to consider an appropriate motorcycle stand. Some bikes will be heavier or more cumbersome than others, which may require a heftier investment in a stand, so do your research before you take the plunge and make sure it is in your budget.
When you are mulling over the big purchase, be aware that maintaining a motorcycle is more demanding than maintaining a car. While vital repairs in a car may be more expensive upfront, there is no upkeep involved in a motorcycle that is not necessary.
For example, you can get away with driving a car that has the check engine light on, but you can’t even consider taking a motorcycle on the road without a thorough inspection before each ride. You need to check your tires, your breaks, your headlights, etc. The difference your vigilance makes could be life or death!
Fender Benders Become Deadly
Obviously, when you are driving a motorcycle, you are less protected. That is the unfortunate trade-off for the ultimate freedom that motorcycles offer their riders. You are unencumbered by the metal shackles of a standard motor vehicle, but you are also left exposed to the elements and whatever else may fly your way. Bummer!
This means that otherwise benign accidents risk becoming deadly. Being cautious won’t cut it. Riding a motorcycle requires different skills than those involved in driving a car. You essentially need to learn an entirely different set of rules of the road.
Assumption of Risk
When it comes to assigning liability after an accident, adjudicating just who is at fault becomes more difficult when the accident involves a motorcycle. There is a controversial legal concept known as “assumption of risk.” This concept basically argues that motorcyclists assume greater liability for their own injuries in accidents than they would have if they had been driving a standard motor vehicle.
The argument goes a little something like this: if you are severely injured in an accident while riding your motorcycle, the other party might argue that the same accident would not have been as severe if you, the motorcyclist, had chosen to drive a motor vehicle instead. Therefore, they would argue, they are not liable for your injuries, as you were at fault for riding the bike in the first place.
“An insurance company or a jury might find that you ‘assumed the risk’ for injury when riding your motorcycle. This occurs more often than you may think and can happen even if the motorcycle accident was not your fault,” says Lampert & Walsh, Denver area motorcycle accident attorneys. “However, claiming assumption of risk like this does not absolve the insurance company from liability for your injuries and damages.”
Street (also known as sport) bikes are more costly to insure, because they tend to be more expensive to repair. They also have a higher likelihood of being stolen as compared to other types of motorcycles, because street bikes tend to be flashier and more appealing to the eye—and, therefore, more appealing to thieves! So when choosing your bike, take care that you are choosing one that can be insured within your budget. The more safety features your bike has, the better. This will signal to an insurance company that your motorcycle is less likely to experience catastrophic damage in an accident which, of course, means less money coming out of their pockets should the worst-case scenario come to pass. Typically, you can expect to spend less on insurance over time if you pay more for the motorcycle and its features upfront.