Motorcycles are a great way to commute around urban centers like San Francisco and Los Angeles. They’re lightweight, easily maneuverable, a cinch to find parking for. They’re also much more affordable than buying and operating a car. Plus, riding to work and back can be really fun—it’s sort of a stress-reliever.
But, take it from me as a San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyer, commuting by motorcycle can pose several problems that can suck the fun right out of it if you aren’t prepared for what the city throws at you. That’s why you (and your bike) should be kitted out with some of the best motorcycle gear for commuters before you leave home.
- Saddlebags (or a Tail-bag)
Every bike should have at least a little storage space into which you can cram a few necessities like flashlights, tire repair kits, and maybe a change of clothes (or your raingear.) If you’re using your bike to commute everyday you’re going to need some place to hold even more than that. Invest in a quality set of saddlebags or a tail-bag that’s big enough to fit everything you think you might need. Ideally hard bags are the best. They can be locked and provide security for your stuff while you’re at work. Don’t want to ruin the look of your bike or worried about security of your stuff when your bike is parked all day? Get a backpack that’s vertically oriented (so it sits along your spine rather than across your shoulders) for better balance. While you’re at it think high-visibility colors and reflective stripes for safety.
- Rain Gear
You never know when the sky is going to open up. It can be bright and sunny when you leave for work and pouring buckets when it’s quitting time. That’s why you should always have rain gear (a jacket at minimum – but a full rain suit is best—boot covers included) tucked away in your saddle bags. Again, bright colors increase visibility which can decrease your chance of being involved in a motorcycle accident in Oakland.
- The Right Footwear
You ride a bike, you should be wearing boots. End of story. Sneakers on a motorcycle just aren’t safe and let’s not even mention sandals! But unless you feel like carrying around a change of shoes, you’re probably going to be wearing those boots all day. Put some serious thought into your purchase before pulling the trigger. Look for something that’s comfortable, water-resistant, and possibly styled so that it doesn’t look out of place with a number of different outfits. (Check out Bike Bandit’s Boot Buyers Guide for inspiration.)
Yes, plural. If you wear a full-face helmet any number of objects can really make a mess of your visor. Rocks and other road debris, insects, rain—the last thing you want to do is ride home with limited visibility. Keep a spare visor (or at least a pair of impact-resistant riding glasses) in your bag for emergencies. Also, consider carrying multiple visors (a clear one for low-light or night riding and a tinted one for riding into the sun). Remember, automobile drivers are responsible for the majority of car/motorcycle accidents in San Francisco and Oakland. Drivers don’t always look out for you, so you need to look out for them.
- Ties (Bungie Cords or Rope)
You never know when you’re going to find yourself in need of strapping something down to your bike —especially if you don’t have much room in your tank-bag or backpack. Keep a few bungie cords or a length of rope handy in case you need to strap a shipping tube full of paperwork or box of donuts for the conference room (YUM!) to the back of your bike.
Ride Smart and Ride Safe
Urban environments like San Francisco and Oakland can be dangerous for motorcycle riders. Congested streets put riders in close contact with cars, oversized trucks and buses, and pedestrians—all of which can cause a motorcycle accident in the blink of an eye.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, San Jose or San Francisco because of another person’s negligence or reckless behavior, you may be entitled to compensation. At fault parties are often held liable for lost wages, medical expenses, and more. But getting that money can be difficult. You need an experienced Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer like Sally Morin on your side. To learn how we can help you get your life back on track, submit your case online or call (510) 858-2231 right now.