Motorcycle rides can allow you to experience the open road and become closer to the elements. However, when riding your bike down East Beach or Sligo Creek, do you notice that you don’t see as much of the water as when you’re in your car? Do you hear the water more or less? Motorcycles have a tendency to make you feel closer to nature, while limiting your senses altogether. This may not seem like a big deal until you realize this means your senses can also be diminished when driving on the Beltway at rush hour.
Limited sight and hearing can cause you to become distracted, misjudge distances, ignore emergency vehicles, or collide with unseen traffic. This is why it is important to know the risks before you get on the road.
Sensory Limitations and Distractions
The two causes of decreased sight and hearing for motorcyclists are helmets and wind shear. Helmets are essential for safety but if used incorrectly or hastily, they can become distractions.
Driving With a Helmet
Helmets (although not necessarily required on all roads) are an easy way to protect yourself from an accidental neck or brain injury. However, full facial helmets—if not accustomed to them—can decrease your peripheral vision and limit your ability to see vehicles around you. In addition to causing visual impairment, full helmets can also muffle your hearing, making it hard to hear horns, sirens and nearby collisions.
Driving Without a Helmet
Choosing not to wear a helmet is equally as dangerous when it comes to predicting and avoiding accidents, but is far more dangerous if you are actually in one. Since motorcycles have no exterior barriers, they cannot protect your body from an impact or from wind resistance. Wind speeds of 25 mph—not to mention 60-75 mph—can be difficult on the eyes and ears. Without sufficient eyewear, wind shear can cause your eyes to blur, tear-up, and involuntarily close—preventing you from adequately seeing the road and traffic around you. The roar of the wind can also diminish potential warning sounds of approaching vehicles, sirens, and horns. However, if you are a victim of a collision and you are not wearing a helmet, you could suffer severe head, neck and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even death.
No matter how you ride, or what safety equipment you use, a motorcycle’s lack of wind barrier and head protection can put you at risk for a serious collision. This is why you must always take proper precautions and wear protective gear. Listen carefully to high pitched or repetitive sounds and make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times to help use what senses you have left to their greatest advantage.
Need more information about motorcycle safety or motorcycle accident rights? Contact us today for a free consultation. We are waiting to help you.