As weather warms, watch out for motorcycles

Seasonal gaps in coverage may leave motorcyclists vulnerable

COLUMBUS — Spring-like temperatures are drawing motorcyclists to Ohio’s roadways. Historically, this also means an increase in motorcycle crashes during February and March. This year, AAA is encouraging motorists and motorcyclists to take steps to prevent crashes and costly out-of-pocket expenses.

During the past two years, about three times more motorcyclists crashed on Ohio’s roads in February than January, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety Crash Statistics. Crash numbers jump again in March as the weather warms. In 2017, 37 motorcycle crashes happened in January, 103 in February and 121 in March.

“Before you take off on a warm winter day, it’s a good idea to give your insurance agent a call and make sure your bike is properly insured,” said Ed Conley, director of Insurance Sales and Financial Services for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “Some policies have a ‘lay-up’ period, which reduces coverage for times of the year where you won’t be using your motorcycle. If that’s the case, you need to make sure you and your pocketbook are protected before you ride.”

In addition, before hitting the road, motorcyclists should remember to:

Gear up: Helmets greatly reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash. In 2017, 68 percent of the motorcyclists killed in crashes on Ohio’s roads were not wearing a helmet, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety Crash Statistics.

Be visible: Position yourself in the lane where drivers can see you. Keep your headlight on, wear bright colors and use reflective tape, even in the daytime.

Be predictable: Use turn signals and avoid lane splitting, which is illegal in all states except California.

Protect your assets: If you’ve done any work to your bike over the winter, or added any accessories, make sure you have enough insurance coverage for those items, as well as your helmet and leather, in case they’re damaged or stolen.

Drivers can help share the road by keeping an eye out for motorcycles. Be aware that they are back on the roads, so check mirrors and blind spots carefully before entering or leaving lanes.

Staff report report
Seasonal gaps in insurance coverage may leave motorcyclists vulnerable