Ride Safe, Ride Smart


Motorcycle season is here; as summer draws closer, the hum of motorcycle engines fills the air. Ohio’s scenic routes and vibrant culture make it a haven for riding enthusiasts. It’s a call to the open road—a time for freedom, adventure, and the joy of the ride. With events like Blessings of the Bikes, Ohio Bike Week, and poker runs supporting local organizations and charities, May’s designation as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month comes at a crucial time.

This annual initiative implores drivers of all vehicles to increase their awareness of motorcycles, sharing the road with an acute sense of responsibility and vigilance. The necessity of such awareness becomes starkly apparent through a glimpse into recent statistics from Ohio, in which 2023 registered 4,023 motorcycle accidents.

Moving into 2024, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reported 599 motorcycle crashes in Ohio up through the end of April. Among them, 90 of the crashes recorded took place in Northwest Ohio counties, including:

  • Allen County: 7
  • Ashland: 3
  • Crawford: 3
  • Defiance County: 4
  • Erie: 4
  • Fulton County: 5
  • Hancock County: 9
  • Hardin County: 1
  • Henry County: 1
  • Huron: 1
  • Lucas County: 28
  • Ottawa: 2
  • Paulding County: 2
  • Putnam County: 0
  • Richland: 8
  • Sandusky: 1
  • Seneca: 2
  • Van Wert County: 1
  • Williams County: 1
  • Wood County: 6
  • Wyandot: 1


Understanding the Risks


Motorcycle riders face a disproportionately high risk of fatal crashes. With 28 times the likelihood of dying and four times the chance of being injured compared to passengers in cars, the statistics paint a sobering picture of vulnerability on two wheels. A significant factor contributing to these risks is the lack of physical protection in a crash, underscoring the importance of wearing helmets and defensive driving.

Interestingly, more than a third of motorcycle crashes involve unlicensed drivers, emphasizing the need for proper training and licensure. Despite varying state requirements, earning a motorcycle endorsement through both written and practical tests is a critical step toward safer roads.


High-Risk Factors


Unlicensed Riding: Surprisingly, more than a third of motorcycle accidents involve riders without a valid motorcycle license, pointing to a gap in training and awareness.

August Danger: Statistics reveal August as the deadliest month for motorcyclists, with 12% of all fatal crashes occurring then, contrasting sharply with January’s 3%, the safest month.

Alarming Traffic Death Statistics: Motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic fatalities despite only making up 3% of all registered vehicles, highlighting the disproportionate risk they face.

Helmets Save Lives: An alarmingly high number of fatalities, 2,251, involved riders not wearing helmets. Helmets are a crucial defense against lethal head injuries.

Speeding and Alcohol: Over a third of motorcycle fatalities involve speeding, and a significant portion of deadly accidents are alcohol-related, especially during nighttime and weekends.


Mitigating the Dangers


Understanding the risks is just the first step toward safer riding. Here are some strategies to mitigate the dangers:

  • Get Licensed and Trained: A valid motorcycle license and proper training are fundamental to safe riding.
  • Gear Up: Always wear a helmet and appropriate protective gear, no matter how short the ride.
  • Stay Alert: Maintain a high vigilance, especially at intersections and while making left turns, where many accidents occur.
  • Ride Sober: Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Adhere to Speed Limits: Respect speed limits and adjust your speed according to road conditions.

Stay Alert, Stay Alive


License and Training


Data also suggests a correlation between rider training and the likelihood of accidents. Riders who have completed approved safety training courses tend to be involved in fewer accidents. In Ohio, obtaining a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license requires passing a knowledge and skills test, with the option to complete a Motorcycle Ohio Basic Rider Skills course as an alternative to the skills test.


Defensive Riding


It is safe to assume you are invisible to other drivers. Always anticipate potential hazards and have an exit strategy. Keep a safe distance from vehicles, especially at intersections where many motorcycle accidents occur.

Avoid Distractions


The thrill of riding should keep you engaged, but it’s essential to avoid additional distractions. Use Bluetooth headsets judiciously if you need to communicate, and never text or use your phone while riding.


Wearing Proper Safety Gear


Always wear a helmet and protective clothing, such as jackets, gloves, pants, and boots, designed to protect in case of an accident.

Helmet use is one critical factor in reducing fatalities. Statistics reveal that helmets dramatically reduce the risk of head injuries, which are among the leading causes of death in motorcycle accidents. Ohio law requires all riders under 18 and those with less than one year of riding experience to wear helmets. However, safety experts recommend that all riders, regardless of age or experience, always wear DOT-approved helmets.

Know Your Limits


Don’t Overdo It


Long summer days can lead to extended rides, but fatigue can set in, impairing judgment and reaction times. Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated, and know when to call it a day.

Ride Sober


This can’t be stressed enough. Alcohol and drugs impair your ability to ride safely. Enjoy summer gatherings responsibly and keep the motorcycle parked if you indulge.


Listen to Your Gut


Intuition is a powerful tool for a rider. If something feels off, whether it’s the road conditions, your bike’s behavior, or your readiness, it’s okay to slow down, stop, or turn around. Pushing through discomfort can push you into dangerous territory.

Stay Focused


The road demands your full attention. Distractions, fatigue, or letting emotions control you can impair judgment and reaction times. Recognize when you’re not in the right headspace for a ride and be willing to wait for another day.


Preparing for the Unexpected


Motorcycle riding offers an unrivaled sense of freedom, adventure, and excitement. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the open road or the camaraderie among fellow bikers. However, even the most cautious and experienced riders can be in unexpected situations. Accidents happen, and being prepared can make all the difference, not just for your safety but also to protect your rights.


When the Unexpected Happens


No one wants to think about the possibility of an accident, but being prepared can make a significant difference in its aftermath. Here are vital steps to follow if you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation:

  1. Check for Injuries: Your safety and that of any passengers should be your top priority. Move to a safe location and quickly assess any injuries.
  2. Call for Help: Call 911 immediately to report the accident and request necessary medical assistance. Regardless of the accident’s severity, it’s crucial to get law enforcement on the scene to file a report.
  3. Document the Scene: Take photos and videos of the accident scene, your motorcycle, and any other vehicles involved. This visual evidence can be invaluable during insurance claims or legal proceedings.
  4. Exchange Information: Safely exchange contact and insurance details with the other parties involved. Be mindful of what you say; even a simple apology can be misconstrued as an admission of guilt.
  5. Seek Medical Attention: Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, even if you feel fine. Visiting a healthcare provider as soon as possible is essential for your health and for documenting your injuries.
  6. Contact an Attorney: Before making any statements to insurance companies, consider consulting with a motorcycle injury attorney specializing in wrongful death and injury cases related to motorcycle accidents.


Your Toledo Motorcycle Injury Attorneys


In the wake of a motorcycle crash, finding the proper representation can dramatically affect the outcome of your case. Toledo Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault stands out as a firm with deep expertise in defending motorcyclists’ rights. With a comprehensive understanding of Ohio’s motorcycle laws and a compassionate approach to each case, they can guide you through the complexities of insurance claims and legal battles.

Choosing an attorney experienced in motorcycle accidents and wrongful death cases can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and help bring you peace of mind during a tumultuous time. Toledo motorcycle accident attorneys Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault’s proven track record speaks volumes about their commitment to serving the motorcycle community in Ohio.

Call Your Motorcycle Injury lawyers at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.

Remember, the open road offers freedom, but with this freedom comes the responsibility to protect yourself and be prepared. Stay safe, stay informed, and know that dedicated legal support is just a call away should you need it.