Motorcyclists must follow high standards. Each state punishes reckless driving, particularly if the offender has previous citations on their record. Though you might feel tempted to burn rubber, prepare to face the consequences if you do.
If you receive charges while on your motorcycle, those will show up driving record. The more rules you break, the worse your record will look. However, with a little commitment, you can become a safer biker.
The Negative Effects of a Tarnished Driving Record
Think about your driving record like a school transcript. It will follow you wherever you go. Though some driving charges can disappear over time, many remain on your record permanently. If you rack up lots of violations, your record will grow lengthier. And the more charges you receive, the more poorly it reflects on you.
States view motorcyclists with a lot of driving charges as risky operators. These bikers could see an increase in penalties, based on the number of moving violations they commit. After the first offense, they might have to pay a fine and receive points on their driver’s license. The second offense will likely lead to higher penalties and more points. The most severe offenses could lead to even harsher penalties – such as license suspensions or jail time.
Not only will poor records lead to trouble with state regulators, but they will also cause problems with insurers. A driving record is a good indicator of how much risk a driver has for accidents. Insurers will likely look at a record to determine if the driver has a higher chance of filing a claim. Bikers with higher risks will likely pay more for their insurance. A tarnished driving record might even increase the chances of a denial of coverage.
Your Obligation to Improve Your Driving Record
Safe bikers do both themselves and others a favor. They can make the road safer and keep their insurance costs down.
Here are some safe driving practices that bikers should follow:
1. Get Adequate Motorcycle Insurance
Most states not require bikers to carry motorcycle insurance. Missouri, for example, requires liability insurance valued at:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
- $10,000 property damage per accident
- $25,000 uninsured/underinsured coverage per person
- $50,000 uninsured/underinsured coverage per accident
Drivers who don’t carry these minimum levels of coverage will not be driving legally. Keep in mind, your individual needs will likely vary from the minimum requirements. Work with your agent to set up the appropriate levels of coverage for you, your bike and your liabilities. The right coverage can help reduce out-of-pocket costs if you do end up in a wreck.
2. Use Safety Gear At All Times
Motorcycles expose their riders to the open road in ways that standard cars do not. Therefore, bikers will need to use safety gear for the best protection. Many states require motorcycle riders to wear safety gear when biking. Failure to do so might result in a traffic ticket.
Regardless of your state’s laws, you should wear safety gear. These might include:
- Strong shoes
- Face shields
- Insulated clothing
Use your discretion when selecting gear. Always keep in mind how environmental conditions might change as you ride. For example, during winter, you might need more insulation than you would during the summer.
3. Obtain the Right Licensing
Motorcycles operate differently from standard cars. Indeed, most of them require operators to have a great deal of precision and expertise. As such, many states have introduced additional licensing requirements for bikers. This might include endorsements or extra driver testing. Check your state’s licensing requirements before you hit the road.
4. Obey the Law
One of the easiest ways to avoid driving charges is to stay on the right side of traffic laws. It’s as simple as slowing down and paying extra attention to the road around you. Also avoid taking uninformed risks that might compromise your driving ability.
Avoid alcohol consumption while you ride, and put the smartphone away. Also, use extreme caution when driving in congested or high-traffic areas. Leave plenty of space between yourself and other cars on the road.
If you don’t break the law, you won’t have to worry about getting traffic tickets. And you’ll make the road safer.
As always, taking care of your bike can help you become a better rider. Bring your motorcycle to a mechanic promptly when you need maintenance performed on it. Also make sure you have proper registration and insurance on file before you mount the bike.
Attention to detail can help you remain safer on the road. This can save you money and hassle, and let you enjoy the open road unburdened.