If you’re planning a long ride on your motorcycle, whether just a few days or several weeks long, across the state or across the country, it’s important to make sure you’re staying safe. Below, we discuss two of the major things you can do to ensure that your ride is a safe one.
Wear a Helmet
At the risk of sounding like your mother, wear a helmet. Not only do helmets reduce risk of death and injury in the event of a crash (they reduce the risk of death by 37% and risk of head injury by 69%, according to the CDC)–which should be incentive enough to wear a helmet– some states still have laws that do not require helmet use by motorcycle riders. (See IIHS map of motorcycle helmet laws here).
Michigan law allows motorcycle operators to legally not wear a helmet if he or she is at least 21 years old, has had a motorcycle endorsement for two years or has passed an approved motorcycle safety course, and has at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits. A motorcycle passenger in Michigan must also be at least 21 years old and have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits to legally not wear a helmet.
Nineteen states (and D.C.) have universal helmet laws, requiring all operators and passengers to wear helmets, and 28 states have partial laws, like Michigan. To be on the safe side, in terms of personal safety and legal compliance, wear your helmet when on a ride, particularly if traveling long distances and out of your home state, where you may not be familiar with helmet laws.
Make Sure You’re Covered in Other States
If you’ll be traveling outside your home state on a ride, make sure that your insurance policy will cover you wherever you plan to go. First of all, ensure that you meet your state’s minimum requirements; in Michigan you’re required to have $20,000 of coverage for bodily injuries or death involving one person in a single accident, $40,000 of coverage for bodily injuries or deaths involving more than one person in a single accident, and $10,000 of coverage for property damage in a single accident,. Then find out what states your insurance covers you and where you’re not. If your insurance policy doesn’t cover you in Iowa, and you’re riding through Iowa, work with your insurance agent to change your policy and ensure you’re covered.
And just as a side note: be sure to carry your proof of insurance with you at all times. No one ever expects to get pulled over or get in an accident, and having your proof of insurance on hand is a) the law, b) necessary to avoid fines and citations, and c) crucial in the event of an accident.
We shouldn’t have to say this either, but have insurance. Just like with a car, you have to have insurance, and unless you’ve set up a policy with your insurance agent under which your motorcycle is covered under your auto policy, it’s not covered by your car insurance.
Being safe when riding your motorcycle is critical, and it’s even more so when you’re on a trip, especially one out of state. It’s important to maintain basic safe riding practices and to make sure you’re covered on the insurance and legal sides, as well.
Planning a long motorcycle trip? Call Doyle and Ogden to review your current coverage and ensure that your coverage needs are met, wherever you go.