It’s almost that time of year again. We here at Evergreen Motorcycle Attorneys could not be more excited for the riding season ahead. It’s likely that your bike has been sitting in storage for the last few months of winter. It’s important to take proper precautions before hitting the open road. Spending an afternoon preparing your bike helps ensures that it’s in optimal condition for safe riding. For passionate riders, this yearly ritual is not a job but rather a labor of love.
Our skilled Tacoma motorcycle attorneys have compiled our top three tips to help you prep for riding season this spring.
Get Your Bike Ready
According to the Washington Traffic and Safety Commission, motorcycles represent four percent of registered passenger vehicles, but account for 18 percent of serious injuries. To prevent any accidents or mechanical malfunctions, it’s important to perform a thorough inspection of your bike before your first ride of the season.
Here are a few things to look out for:
- Inspect all the fluid levels and consistency of all fluids. If you notice that some fluids are low, be sure to top them off before leaving. Make sure nothing is leaking..
- Top off the tank with fresh gas.
- Check all the controls. Make sure the levers are all functioning smoothly.
- Inspect your tires and check the air pressure. Make sure the tires are at factory recommended pressure.
- Check the headlight and that it’s aimed correctly. Also, inspect the lenses for any cracks and that they are secured properly. Make sure the taillight and signals are working.
- Looks for any loose bolts or fasteners.
- Check the brakes. Visually inspect the pads and discs.
- If possible, put the bike on a stand and spin the wheels. Listen for smooth wheel bearings and make sure the brakes are not dragging.
- Check the chain or drive belt wear and tension.
If you find notice any red flags, be sure to repair the problem immediately. Ignoring a minor issue can result in expensive repairs or even possible accidents down the line.
Update Your Washington Insurance Policy
Accidents do happen, no matter how well you prepare. While Washington State does not require motorcycle insurance, we always recommend investing in an insurance policy. If you decide to cross state lines, be aware that insurance requirements can differ. Our neighbors Idaho, Oregon and Canada require riders to carry motorcycle insurance. It’s better to be fully covered than to travel into a different state and be riding against the law.
It never hurts to raise your liability limits. Carry as much as you can. Along with motorcycle insurance, we recommend having Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your policy. PIP will help cover your own medical costs and some wage loss after an accident. Generally, PIP will also cover your passenger as well. If you are involved in an accident that involves injuries, PIP will likely be the most important coverage to have.
Finally, make sure to carry UIM (underinsured motorist) coverage on your bike. This will protect you if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured rider.
Take Your Bike Out for a Test Run
Before planning your next big excursion around Washington’s scenic routes, take your bike on a short cruise around town first. Let it idle and get the fluids circulating again. Bring it up to operating temperature. On a short ride, you can get a better idea on how your bike is running. This will help point out any issues that you may have missed or didn’t noticed during pre-inspection.
This is also a perfect time to test out your skills. Take the time to re-introduce yourself to the bike again. The Washington Department of Licensing offers an online training video “Training is Everything.” The video targets motorcycle riders and emphasizes the importance of ongoing training to develop and maintain your skills.
Contact Your Washington Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
We know you can’t wait to get back on the road. However, we also want to help make sure that you are safe for that first ride. Taking the time to ensure that you and your bike is properly prepped for your next adventure can make all the difference. If you are involved in an accident, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our trusted motorcycle attorneys. We’re here by your side in the event of an accident or injury. Never ride alone.