As a motorcyclist, you likely know that you need skill to ride safely. Bikes, after all, are two-wheeled vehicles. You'll need to adapt a different mindset than you would while driving a standard car.
A bike's speed and maneuverability might lead riders to take unnecessary risks. Don't let this temptation take hold. After all, frequent traffic tickets could tarnish your driving record. This might lead to expensive fines and higher insurance rates.
No one wants to feel the pinch of these outcomes. Committing to safe driving can yield big benefits.
The Effects of a Bad Driving Record
If you get a traffic citation — such as a speeding ticket or DUI — it will likely go on your driving record in your state. Some charges will stay on your record permanently, while others will disappear after a period of years.
Your record says a lot about your driving habits. If you have a lot of charges, you'll appear to be a bad driver. This often signifies that a higher chance of accidents, and a higher chance of injuring other drivers, passengers or pedestrians. As you rack up more and more violations, the penalties you face become more and more severe.
Most motorcycle insurers will also look at your records when issuing policies. They will use these records as indicators of how much risk a motorcyclist represents. If a client presents a high risk, this means that the insurer might charge higher premiums.
Given these consequences, it makes sense for motorcyclists to maintain clean driving records. So, think about some of the ways you can keep your record clean.
Don't Break the Law
One of the best ways to avoid fines and higher insurance premiums is not to break the law. For example, avoid the temptation to speed. Going a little bit over the speed limit might not lead to any consequences. However, excessive violations – such as getting caught going 90 mph in a 55-mph zone - will likely cost you.
Here are some other practices to avoid:
- Running stop lights or signs
- Disobeying traffic laws in construction and school zones
- Using your phone while driving
- Not yielding to pedestrians
It can be hard to remember every single traffic law out there. However, you should always abide by the most obvious rules of the road.
There are many resources you can tap into to become a safer biker. For example, you might be able to enroll in a defensive driving course. This class can help you learn new techniques to stay safe and alert on the road. Passing a defensive driving course can often go a long way towards improving your safety. It might also qualify you for motorcycle insurance discounts.
Have Motorcycle Insurance and the Right Credentials
Motorcycle safety is about more than safe driving habits. It also includes having the right documentation on hand. These usually include:
- Motorcycle Insurance: Most states require motorcycle owners to carry minimum levels of insurance. If you don't carry insurance, the state often can often levy penalties. In general, the more insurance you carry, the less you're financially responsible for in the event of an accident or claim. Coverage options such as liability, comprehensive, collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection can help keep motorcyclists safe and financially whole. Talk to your insurance agent about the best way to insure your bike specifically.
- License Endorsements: Many states need motorcycle riders to apply for special licensing or endorsements. Qualifying tests vary.
- Registration: Like most cars, motorcycles will require registration. If you don't maintain the correct license and registration, you could face penalties. This might include a loss of driving privileges.
It's imperative that you examine your state's laws carefully. If you don't have the right credentials, associated punishment could be reflected on your record.
Always Protect Yourself
Motorcyclists should put safety first. States take motorcycle safety requirements very seriously on account of the risks these vehicles – and their bikers – can pose.
For example, a multitude of states have instituted mandatory helmet laws for riders. Protective gear can lower the chances of severe injury in a wreck. If you're caught without required safety gear in these states, you might face severe penalties. Therefore, it's best to know the law wherever you go. Don't hit the road without the right gear.
If you need help reviewing your record, contact your local DMV. You can often request your record for free or a small fee.
And for help adjusting your insurance, contact Auto Insurance Discounters. One of our agents is ready to help.
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