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Maritime / 7.02.2020

Summer Safety 101: Boats and Bikes

When people think of summer, most picture having fun in the sun and participating in outdoor activities. Mississippians in particular enjoy boating, biking, hiking, ATV riding, and more.

While summer is usually a safe and successful season for all, there are always inherent risks when participating in many of the season’s activities.

Below, our Jackson personal injury attorneys provide safety tips for boating, biking, and motorcycling in order to stay safe this summer.

Boating Safety Tips

Many Mississippians hit the waterways in the warm summer months and participate in a wide variety of water sports, including boating, water skiing, jet skiing, and more.

While no one doubts the fun that these activities can provide, everyone who engages in these activities must understand that there are inherent risks present in all of them.

Boating, in particular, claimed 658 lives and caused 2,629 injuries in 2017.

In order to stay safe on the waterways this summer, all boat operators and passengers should abide by the following safety measures before heading underway:

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Any smart and safe boater knows to plan accordingly for any trip on the water. Before setting out, it’s important for you to:

  • Check the local forecast and do not head out before or during bad weather.
  • Check that your equipment is in good working condition.
  • Review a pre-departure checklist to make sure you have everything you need on your boat in case of an emergency. The U.S. Coast Guard has a helpful checklist if you are unsure what to put on your own.
  • Dress properly and bring an extra set of clothes in case the clothes you’re wearing get wet.
  • Let someone on land know where you will be traveling on the water and when you expect to return to shore.

Wear a Life Jacket

The number one rule of boating is to wear a life jacket. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, approximately 76% of boating deaths in 2017 were due to drowning, and 84% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Life jackets aren’t just for children. Even good swimmers may become disoriented after falling into the water or may get trapped in a strong current. When choosing a life jacket to wear, make sure:

  • The life jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight.
  • The life jacket has functioning clasps.
  • The life jacket does not ride up over your face when you lift up your arms.

Smart Boaters Are Safe Boaters

Being smart on the water means avoiding these deadly mistakes:

  • Drinking and boating
  • Boating over the waterway’s speed limit
  • Boating without a life jacket
  • Violating the rules of the waterway

Biking Safety Tips

Whether you’re a casual bike rider or a cycling enthusiast, it’s important for you to respect the machine you’re operating and its potential for danger.

Bicycle accidents claimed over 1,000 lives and caused nearly 467,000 injuries in 2015. As such, anyone riding a bicycle should abide by the following safety measures:

  • Wear a helmet.
  • Ride in designated bike lanes.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Use hand signals when turning.
  • Install light devices on your bike if you plan to ride at night.

Motorcycling Safety Tips

While motorcycles are dangerous vehicles when operated recklessly, they can be ridden safely when motorcyclists follow all required safety precautions and rules of the road.

These safety precautions include, but are not limited to, the following:

Wear the Right Helmet

It’s vital that all motorcyclists select a helmet that fits them properly. There are several different types of motorcycle helmets, but a full-coverage helmet provides the most protection. Additionally, a U.S. Department of Transportation sticker on the helmet guarantees the helmet meets federal safety standards.

Ride the Right Bike

The type of motorcycle you ride affects your chances of getting into a catastrophic or fatal accident. When selecting a motorcycle, choose one that fits your frame. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), supersport bikes have driver death rates about four times higher than cruisers or standard bikes.

Obey the Rules of the Road

Motorcycles must obey the same rules of the road that cars and trucks do. Additionally, motorcyclists must take additional precautions including:

  • Be aware that riding with a passenger requires more skill.
  • Never drink and ride.
  • Assume you are invisible to other motorists and position yourself to be seen.
  • Use headlights day and night.
  • Don’t wave in and out of lanes or ride on the shoulder.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing and boots that cover the ankles.
  • Wear goggles or a face shield that is ventilated to prevent fogging.

Protect Yourself This Summer

When you’re participating in these activities, it’s important to remember that, even if you follow all of the necessary safety precautions, others may not. Therefore, it’s important for you to always be alert and operate your vehicles defensively.

If you do get into an accident, keep in mind that you have rights as a boater, bicyclist, or motorcyclist. While many may assume that it is a bicyclist or motorcyclist’s fault if an accident occurs, this is not usually the case. As such, it’s important for you to realize this and know that you can contact an experienced personal injury attorney in order to protect your rights.

At Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers, P.A., we’re passionate about protecting plaintiffs’ rights, including those injured in boating, biking, or motor vehicle accidents. As the largest personal injury law firm in the state, we are able to utilize resources to ensure our clients’ cases receive the attention and support needed to win.

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