With great weather most of the year, New Mexico can be an ideal place for motorcyclists to get on their bikes, hit the highways with the wind at their knees and enjoy the scenic routes or just a group ride with friends.
The diverse terrain and environment of New Mexico beg to be admired, and what better way to do it than by traveling on a motorcycle. But this reverie isn't always perfect, because motorcyclists face numerous road hazards that sometimes lead to fatalities. Slick conditions, potholes and distracted drivers are a few of the things motorcyclists must deal with while on the road.
Fatalities are sad statistics
Last year, 53 motorcyclists died on New Mexico roads. The number represents the second most motorcycle fatalities in the past 10 years. Only the year 2012 recorded a higher number at 63. So far, there has only been one fatality in 2018.
A recent study by Canadian researchers found that the death rate from motorcycle crashes was five times more than car accidents, and severe injuries were 10 times greater. While the findings were based on an analysis of accidents in the province of Ontario, researchers said similar accident patterns would likely occur in other regions.
Safety pointers for motorcycle riders
To make sure you have a safe motorcycle trip, follow these guidelines:
- Enroll in a safety awareness program.
- Drive defensively. Be on the lookout for distracted drivers and other potential dangers.
- Avoid excessive speeds.
- Increase your visibility by wearing bright clothing, use your high beam lights and don't forget to sound your horn when you have to.
- Wear a helmet. In New Mexico, only motorcyclists under the age of 18 are required to wear one. Many riders believe that it should be their choice as to whether to wear a helmet or not, and many helmet-law critics complain that helmets restrict a rider's vision and hearing. However, a helmet can protect you from serious head injuries if you are in an accident
- Wear other protective gear such as eye protection and steel-toed boots. Dress in layers, too.
- Avoid alcohol and other mind-altering substances when you ride a motorcycle. This is an obvious tip for any motor vehicle driver. The Governor Highways Safety Association reported that 27 percent of all U.S. motorcyclists killed in accidents in 2015 were drunk.
When out on a motorcycle ride in New Mexico, enjoy the scenery, good times and camaraderie, but please stay safe.