Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riding in Washington DC

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If you’re a motorcycle rider, then you know that there’s nothing quite like the feeling of the wind in your hair and the sun on your face while riding. However, it’s important to remember that motorcycling can be dangerous, especially if you’re not following safety precautions.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 8.6 million registered motorcycles are in the United States. There are over 3,000 bikes registered in DC. alone. With so many motorcycle riders on the road, safety is critical. Here are some safety tips if you plan to ride in Washington,  D.C.

Take a Motorcycle Safety Course

Driving a motorcycle requires skill and good judgment. Before you even think about getting on a motorcycle, it’s important that you take a safety course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers various courses for beginner and experienced riders. These courses will teach you the basics of motorcycle riding, including starting and stopping your bike, turning, and avoiding obstacles.

You’ll also learn about the different gear you need to wear while riding and how to properly inspect your motorcycle before each ride.

Select the Right Bike for You

When you’re ready to purchase a motorcycle, it’s important that you select the right bike for your skill level. If you’re a beginner, starting with a smaller bike with less power is best. Then, once you’ve gained some experience, you can move up to a larger bike. Additionally, select a comfortable motorcycle for you to ride with all of the features you need.

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Check Your Bike Before You Ride

Every time you get on your motorcycle, it’s important to do a quick safety check. This includes checking the tires, inspecting the brakes, and ensuring that all of the lights are working properly. You should also check:


Coolant is a fluid that helps keep your engine cool, and it’s important to have enough of it in your motorcycle. Be sure to check the coolant level before each ride, and add more if necessary.

Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is the amount of air in your tires, and it’s important to maintain the proper level. Be sure to check your tire pressure before each ride, and add air if necessary.

Chain Cleaning

Chain cleaning is the process of removing dirt and grime from your motorcycle’s chain. It’s important to clean your chain regularly, as this will help keep it in good condition and prevent it from rusting.

Air Filter

Your motorcycle’s air filter helps keep dirt and debris out of the engine, and it’s important to clean it regularly. You can purchase an air filter cleaning kit from your local motorcycle shop, which will make the process easier.

Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS)

If your motorcycle is equipped with an ABS, then be sure to familiarize yourself with how it works. This system can help you avoid skidding or losing control of your bike in an emergency.

Motorcycle Gear

One of the most important aspects of motorcycle safety is wearing the right gear. This includes a helmet, gloves, boots, and protective clothing. In DC, all riders must wear a DOT-approved helmet and eye protection such as goggles or a windshield. A full-face helmet is the best option, as it can protect you from weather conditions and provide more coverage should you get in a motorcycle accident.

Wearing brightly colored clothing can also help you be more visible to other drivers. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that your motorcycle is properly equipped with working headlights, taillights, and turn signals.

Keep an Eye Out For Road Hazards

Keep an eye out for any potential road hazards in your immediate riding space when you’re riding. This includes things like potholes, debris, and animals. If you see something on the road, be sure to slow down and avoid it if possible.

Riding in Traffic

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DC traffic can be tedious, and it’s easy to lose focus while waiting at a light. When riding in traffic, be extra cautious. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for other vehicles. Use your turn signals when changing lanes, and avoid weaving in and out of traffic.

Keep a Safe Distance

When following other drivers, be sure to maintain a safe distance. This ensures you have enough room for an escape route and gives you time to react if the driver in front of you makes a sudden stop.

Use Extra Caution in Bad Weather

Bad weather conditions can make motorcycle riding very dangerous. Even light snow can cause your motorcycle tires to lose traction, making it easier to get into an accident. If you must ride in bad weather, use extra caution and be sure to take your time and watch out for other vehicles. Additionally, wear proper gear to protect yourself from the elements.

Obey the Speed Limit

When riding a motorcycle, it’s important to obey the speed limit. Speeding increases your chances of being involved in an accident and makes it more difficult to see and avoid obstacles. Additionally, speeding makes it more difficult for other drivers to see you.

Other Safe Riding Tips

  • Ride defensively, and assume that other motorists cannot see you
  • Avoid riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Ride in the lane that gives you enough visibility and allows you to see the road ahead clearly
  • Keep a basic first aid kit and tool pouch in your motorcycle storage
  • Ride at a speed that is comfortable for you and allows you to stop safely
  • Use your horn to signal other drivers when necessary.
  • Plan your route before you ride to familiarize yourself with the roads you’ll be taking.

Important Washington DC Motorcycle Laws

Following DC’s motorcycle laws is the best way to practice motorcycle safety. Some of the most important laws include:

  • Motorcyclists in DC must have a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement
  • Washington DC motorcyclists are required to insure and register their motorcycle
  • Motorcycles must have daytime headlights or modulating headlights
  • It is illegal for motorcyclists to lane split
  • Passengers must have footrests and seats
  • Mufflers cannot be modified to amplify sound over 86 decibels

What Happens If I Am in a Motorcycle Accident?

Sometimes, we ride as safely as possible and still get into an accident. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. You should also contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

What Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Do For Me?

The Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success in helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a motorcycle accident, gathering evidence to establish negligence and other forms of liability.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has obtained more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate. 

We Help You Recover Compensation For Your Damages

You may be entitled to recover damages if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

For more than 50 years, the Washington DC lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have successfully represented individuals and families who have been injured or lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence. Here is a small sample of some of our successful verdicts and settlements: 

  • $3.5 million for a man who suffered a brain injury when a District of Columbia police officer opened his door into traffic and “doored” him. 
  • $6 million on behalf of a man who suffered a brain injury due to a rear-end collision.
  • $5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 14-year-old client who suffered a severe brain injury due to a doctor’s inappropriate chemical product use.
  • $4.8 million on behalf of a severely injured man when his motorcycle struck a trailer being pulled by a minivan.
  • $4.5 million for a woman who was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident after being struck from behind by a transit bus in a crosswalk.
  • $600,000 verdict was obtained against the United States Postal Service due to the negligence of one of its drivers, who pulled out from a stop sign in front of our client’s motorcycle.

See additional examples of our case victories and settlements on our “Case Results” page.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you are looking for the highest level of representation available for your motorcycle accident claim, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600  or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.

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