I get it. You’re conflicted.
On the one hand, you can’t wait to get that bike you’ve been thinking about for months and head out on the open road.
But then you picture the unpredictable. Dropping the bike, taking your first fall, drivers cutting you off.
Some say you’re going to crash within a year of getting your first bike—maybe even within the first six months. Some veterans claim to have never crashed.
So, which is it?
What’s the best way to get your endorsement? How much training do you need? And what’s the best bike for you?
This guide distills all the noise into clear, actionable information that you can refer to anytime you need it.
- How to get your motorcycle endorsement
- Where to learn how to ride
- How to choose your first bike
- Motorcycle laws you need to know
- The best places to ride
- Types of insurance you’ll need
- Tips for staying safe as you start riding
- Hazards you’ll face on the road
- What to do if you’re in an accident
- Your options if you’re hurt in a wreck
- Where to find a lawyer if you’re in a wreck
How to Get Your Motorcycle Endorsement
Getting your motorcycle endorsement is a vital step for new riders. With your endorsement in hand, you can ride unrestricted at night or with a passenger.
But first, you’ll need to master the basics.
How to control the bike. How to stop quickly. How to make a U-turn. How to shift gears.
You have two options to earn your endorsement: complete a safety course or take a written exam and skills test.
1. Take a safety course through an approved program
Attending a safety course allows you to cross everything off the checklist to get your endorsement.
Here’s how it works:
First, sign up for a safety course approved by Ride Safe Indiana. In this entry-level course, you’ll learn the basics you need to get on the road, like:
- Kinds of motorcycles
- Safety equipment
- Layout of a motorcycle and its controls
- Operating the motorcycle, including starting/stopping, turning, and other important maneuvers
The course requires both book learning and road learning. Plan to be in a classroom for five hours and complete drills on the bike for 10 hours.
Here’s what else you should know about the course:
- Don’t worry about bringing a bike if you don’t have one yet. They’ll loan you one for class practice.
- Classes usually run on weekends or weeknights, so you should manage to find something that works for your schedule.
- These classes tend to start at $199, but every class provider is different. Check the listings on Ride Safe Indiana for updated pricing.
By the end of the course, you should feel ready to take the skills exam. You’ll do your test on a closed lot, not the roadway and not a race track. Think orange cones and safe speeds. Then, after just a few short days or weeks of class time, you’ll be a motorcycle safety course graduate.
You’re almost at the finish line. You just need to wrap up the paperwork part.
To get your endorsement, show your course graduation documents at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Showing these documents allows you to waive the written test and skills test the BMV otherwise requires to get endorsed.
2. Take a written test and a motorcycle skills exam
If you’re confident with the basics, you can skip the safety course.
You can test out of the class by passing:
- A written test. First, you’ll show your knowledge of motorcycle riding fundamentals through a written test. You’ll take the test at your local BMV.
Be ready to answer questions from Ride Safe Indiana’s Motorcycle Operator Manual, which covers how to prepare for riding, strategies for riding in traffic, handling road hazards, and more.
- A motorcycle skills exam. Next, you’ll need to take your motorcycle to a test location to pass a skills test. This test is similar to the exam that concludes the riding safety course.
You can take the test at any location approved by the Ride Safe Indiana program, but unlike the safety course, you must bring a motorcycle for the skills exam.
Again, you’ll want to be confident in your motorcycle skills knowledge if you go this route. You can’t retake the written test if you don’t pass the first time. You would need to take a safety course to complete your endorsement.
Some riders already know what’s covered in a safety class. But if you’re unsure, it’s best to take the class.
After all, you may not know what you don’t know. Further, studies show that taking classes could make you a safer rider.
Among injured motorcycle riders admitted to the emergency department of one hospital between December 2012 and 2013, nearly 60% only had prior motorcycle training from family and friends. (Journal of Community Health)
In other words, formal training prepares you to make safer choices on the road.
Frequently Asked Questions About Endorsements
Knowing what to expect when getting your motorcycle endorsement makes the process that much smoother.
Check out the answers to these common questions about endorsements.
How Old do I Have to Be to Get an Endorsement?
You’re old enough to get your endorsement if you’re older than 16 years and three months.
If you’re under 18, though, you’ll need a parent or guardian’s help with one important detail. They’ll need to sign an Agreement of Financial Liability.
This means your parent or guardian would be responsible for any damage or injuries you cause in an accident.
Do I Have to Renew My Endorsement?
Take a look at your driver’s license.
The expiration date you see there is also the expiration date for your motorcycle endorsement.
You can renew your endorsement two years before the expiration date.
Is the Endorsement a Separate License?
No. Your endorsement will appear on the back of your existing driver’s license.
I Have Riding Experience. Do I Have to Take an Entry-Level Safety Course?
Here’s another option when getting your endorsement: If you already know the basics of motorcycle riding, you can take an advanced riding course.
This class works a little differently, however. For example, motorcycles are not provided in advanced courses. Be prepared to bring your own motorcycle and helmet.
Advanced courses help you take your riding skills to the next level.
Get better at braking and cornering. Learn to improve your perception and awareness of hazards.
Keep in mind you can also take an advanced course after the entry-level course.
In fact, it is wise to keep taking classes to develop your skills on a motorcycle. The more skills and knowledge you have, the better. More skills translates into more confidence and safety on the roads.
Where You Can Learn How to Ride
Ride Safe Indiana designates BMV-approved motorcycle safety training programs.
No matter where you are in Indiana, RSI ensures that you can get the training you need. Every resident has an approved program within at least 50 miles.
Get training from any of these providers:
Many of these providers offer both entry-level and advanced motorcycle safety courses.
Be sure to contact each provider for specific class schedules, pricing, and availability.
How to Choose Your First Bike
Choosing a motorcycle is one the most exciting and challenging parts of starting to ride.
There are hundreds of factors to think about and dozens of choices to make—only, everyone’s telling you something different.
Should you go for more power or start out with something under 600cc? What about full fairing bikes versus naked bikes? Do you want riding comfort or aggressive ergonomics and speed? And which brands are worth it?
First, let’s review the types of motorcycles you should know about.
In a subsequent section, we offer our tips for sorting through the questions and choosing the bike that’s right for you.
Types of Motorcycles
Harleys and sportbikes are far from the only bikes available.
Every bike is designed for a unique purpose. Some bikes are made for speed. Others are made for traveling long distances.
A motorcycle’s purpose determines its ergonomics. In other words, its function determines how a rider will sit on it—whether they lean forward, backward, or more upright.
Choose a motorcycle that fits your riding needs and suits your body physically.
You might want to try one of the following:
- Standard (or Naked)
If you want comfort, speed, and aggressive styling all in one package, the standard (also called a naked bike) could be the ride for you. The standard often makes the lists of best motorcycles for new riders.
A standard motorcycle is a great choice for riding around town and local commuting, featuring neutral ergonomics and a shorter- to middle-level seat height. Since these bikes can deliver on speed, too, they could even work for riders who want to try out the track.
Because they do away with plastic side fairings, revealing the bike’s inner components.
These iconic motorcycles are all about comfort and big engines.
A cruiser has a distinct body style, also known as a chopper style. You’ll climb onto a low seat that gives you the feeling of being inside the bike rather than on top of it.
Made to travel long distances, you might go for a cruiser if you plan to take weekend trips or cross-country rides.
New riders can find a lot to like about cruisers, too. First, they have a forgiving engine design—great for beginners still learning to shift smoothly.
Second, they’re made for stability. With a long rake (the angle of the steering head), cruisers grant riders a certain ease of handling.
Harley-Davidson is the brand most closely connected to cruisers, but other manufacturers also offer cruisers.
These are big bikes made for one primary purpose: travel. If that’s what you’re looking to do with a motorcycle, a touring bike might be the choice for you.
These bikes can be loaded with gear and have certain design features to handle adverse weather, such as large fairings.
Of course, that can also be a downside. Because these bikes are built for traveling long distances in luxury, they tend to be very heavy.
If you want to go the distance without all the weight, a sport touring motorcycle could be your best bet. They also feature more aggressive styling like you’d find in a sportbike.
If you’re looking for speed, a sportbike is made to race. But if you want a sportbike, you should be prepared for the ergonomics of speed.
This bike demands a more aggressive riding posture. When you get on sportbike, you’ll sit higher off the ground. You’ll lean forward with your arms slightly bent.
As you’d expect, then, these bikes are meant for fast, short rides and track days. If you’re using a motorcycle to commute, you might want to think twice about a sportbike.
Then again, it’s all up to you.
Some riders find sportbike ergonomics perfectly comfortable.
Maybe everyone’s telling you not to get a sportbike as a first motorcycle. Sit on these bikes for a while to know what’s best for you. Test ride it in the dealer’s lot if you can.
Shorter riders may not make this bike their first choice, but they could feel comfortable with their legs fully extended.
- Even More Choices To Consider
This list is far from exhaustive.
You may want a dirt bike or dual sport. Maybe you want a moped or a scooter—but you don’t need to get a motorcycle endorsement to ride them.
No matter which type of motorcycle you choose, remember that you’ll want to feel balanced when you sit. You should feel comfortable overall with how you’re positioned on the motorcycle.
More on that in the next section below.
Selecting the Right Bike for You
So, you’re excited about a few different motorcycles. You’re getting closer to making a decision.
As a new rider, there are a few more factors to consider to ensure you’re choosing the best bike for you.
- Get a good fit.
Fit matters for a couple of major reasons.
First, how you fit on the bike could determine whether or not you will want to keep riding it. If you feel uncomfortable, you may have less confidence while riding.
That brings us to the most important point: Good fit is crucial for riding safety. If you don’t fit well on the bike, you’ll have a harder time handling it.
If you’re struggling with handling, you could have problems braking, shifting, turning, or getting on or off the bike. In short, operating the bike could be harder.
As mentioned, there are many ways to check that you’ve got the right fit.
Start by making sure you can plant both feet flat on the ground. If you have to stand on your tiptoes to touch the ground, that’s a bad sign.
Then, check what’s happening with your arms. Are they just slightly bent at the elbows? If so, great. Are your arms totally locked out trying to reach the handlebars? That’s not so great.
And what about your hands? You should reach the controls comfortably.
Now, try to move the weight of the bike back and forth. Do you feel in control of the weight? Or is the weight controlling you?
Here’s something else many new riders may not realize: You should be able to pick up a bike.
If you can easily maneuver the bike yourself, the weight should be appropriate for you.
- Think about style and function.
You may want to buy a bike based on its style and aesthetics—but it can be easy to forget the bike’s practical function.
Think about how you’re going to use the motorcycle. Do you plan to commute to work? Getting a sports bike might not make the most sense, then. Are you looking to take weekend trips with a partner? You might have your eye on a cruiser, but a touring bike might make even more sense.
Once you know what you want to do with your bike, then you can find the look you want.
Take time to do your research and choose a motorcycle that suits your taste, personality, and your practical needs.
- Avoid choosing looks over safety.
We know what you’re thinking. Riding a motorcycle isn’t exactly the safest activity you could choose.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t get a fun motorcycle that looks great. But the fastest, most powerful bike out there could be more than you’re ready for.
There’s no hard and fast rule about which engine size is best for beginners, but don’t assume that you need a 1000cc sportbike because it looks good.
If you buy a bike in this powerful class category, you may find yourself on the highway doing 90 mph the week you bought it. If your reflexes and basic skills aren’t sufficiently advanced, you might get seriously hurt.
Be realistic about your current skill level. Think about which bike best suits your abilities now and in the near future. If this is your first motorcycle, you may want to build up experience before getting a more powerful engine.
With a bike in the 300cc or 600cc class, you’ll still have enough speed to ride on the highway. This makes these bikes perfectly good choices for many riders, especially beginners.
- Test them in the real world.
Don’t just search the web. Go check out the bikes you like. And try others you might not be sure about.
You could buy a motorcycle without riding it, but you could run into fit issues if you do so. Again, take the time to test the motorcycle and ensure it’s a good fit.
- Research what other owners say.
If you’ve got a couple of bikes in mind, check out what others think about these models and brands.
You may find online communities where owners are talking about the exact bike or bikes you want.
Other owners will be honest about the realities. They may share more about how the bike performs over time, maintenance and upkeep, and other aspects of owning the bike that you didn’t consider.
- Consider handling in seasonal conditions.
If you plan to ride your motorcycle year-round in Indiana, you may want to ensure that the bike could adapt to winter conditions. Some bikes can accommodate metal-studded tires, such as dual-sport motorcycles. Having metal studs in the tires can improve tire traction on icy roads.
Also, think about how you plan to ride your motorcycle when poor weather hits. After all, even if you plan to ride on the sunniest days, road conditions can quickly change when you’re out for the afternoon.
Some safety advocates say that a heavy bike offers better handling on slick roads. Still, that’s not the only factor to consider.
Whatever bike you feel most confident maneuvering is likely the safest bike to ride in the rain, fog, or other challenging weather. So, if the bike doesn’t feel like a good fit when you’re test riding, you may have an even harder time handling the bike when conditions aren’t ideal.
Motorcycle Laws You Need to Know
Knowing what to expect on the road can help you make the most of riding. Indiana law determines how motorcyclists can use the road and what equipment is required to ride.
Avoid getting ticketed and enjoy the ride by familiarizing yourself with these Indiana motorcycle laws.
In Indiana, only certain riders are required to wear a helmet.
If you’re under 18 or using a learner’s permit, you should be wearing a helmet. Those under 18 should also wear protective eye gear, which can include a full-face helmet (IC 9-21-10-9).
Even though Indiana law may not require you to wear one, there are plenty of reasons why you should think about it.
Wearing a helmet doesn’t mean that you’ll never get in an accident. But if you do have a crash, you’re far less likely to have major head injuries.
Having a helmet on during a crash reduces the risk of a head injury by nearly 70%. You’re also more likely to survive an accident if you’re wearing a helmet.
And here’s an unexpected reason to helmet up:
Choosing not to wear a helmet could hurt your liability claim if someone hits and injures you. After all, the other side of the case could argue that you contributed to your injuries by not wearing a helmet.
If the other side makes a convincing case in this situation, you could see your potential financial recovery reduced after a crash.
Indiana’s motorcycle laws go a few steps further. The state says that your basic motorcycle equipment should be functional.
So, your bike needs front and rear brakes in working shape, footrests or pegs for you and your passenger, and headlamps and reflectors (IN Code § 9-19-7-2).
If you have a bike made before 1956, you don’t need to have headlights unless you ride the bike at night.
Lane Use and Lane Splitting
Motorcyclists may be smaller than passenger vehicles, but they still have the right to a full lane.
In other words, if you’re traveling in a lane of traffic, another vehicle shouldn’t be trying to pass you within that lane. It’s against IN Code § 9-21-10-6.
Motorcyclists do have the right to travel together, side-by-side, in the same lane. However, other laws restrict how motorcyclists can use traffic lanes.
It’s a busy rush hour on I-465, and traffic comes to a standstill. You’re on your motorcycle, and you’re tempted to take advantage of your nimble size.
If you travel in between traffic lanes to beat the backup, this move is illegal.
Also known as lane splitting, this maneuver is not permitted anywhere in Indiana and most states. The only exception is California.
Other Road Rules
There are a few other things motorcyclists should keep in mind on Indiana roads.
Many motorcyclists want to know about wheelies, for instance. But Indiana law doesn’t talk about wheelies outright. No law says you should keep both wheels on the road at all times.
However, doing a wheelie on a public road or lot could be dangerous to yourself and others, and an officer might use another reason for ticketing you.
Reckless driving, for instance.
So, the short answer:
Yes, you can get ticketed for doing wheelies on a public road or lot. The same holds true for executing other trick maneuvers on public roads.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun anywhere.
If you’re doing wheelies and other tricks in a private lot or private road, you’re likely safe from any citations.
Always remember that most normal road rules also apply to motorcyclists. For example, you could be ticketed for aggressive driving if you:
- Overtake another car or motorcycle on the right, using the road’s shoulder to pass
- Fail to observe traffic device signals
- Ride at an unsafe speed
- Do not yield according to traffic laws
Other types of driving behaviors could be deemed aggressive driving, per IN Code § 9-21-8-55.
The Best Places to Ride
As a motorcyclist in Indiana, you have your pick of beautiful rides to explore. Historic byways spanning the state. Slices of iconic cross-country roads.
In the north, beginners enjoy flatter terrain stretching through farmland and crossing Lake Michigan’s shore. Or you can adventure along steeper hills and winding roadways in the state’s south.
Discover these top places to ride a motorcycle through the Crossroads of America.
Highway 12 and Indiana Dunes National Park
Cruise along Indiana’s northern coast through Indiana Dunes National Park. Most of the park’s 15 miles of beaches are accessible by Highway 12 and feature undulating sands and views of Lake Michigan’s shoreline.
Highway 12 begins in Michigan City, crosses through Portage, and will take you east for several hundred miles into Michigan. There, you can travel the farmland roads across Southern Michigan as long as you care to ride until you land in Detroit.
In other words, you can make this as short as long of a trip as suits your time budget. Make this a day trip, weekend getaway, or longer. Camp in the national park or find lodging in Portage, Michigan City, or other locations along the route.
In the park, stop and enjoy the shore, 50 miles of hiking trails, historic sites like Bailly Homestead, and unique natural areas like dunes and bogs.
U.S. Route 6
Indiana riders can get a sample of this storied, cross-country roadway. Spanning from Munster in Lake County to Butler in DeKalb County, U.S. Route 6 offers riders an iconic glimpse of the Crossroads of America.
Passing farmland, fields, forests, and historic Amish sites, such as The Barns at Nappanee, riders should expect a mix of two-lane and four-lane roads as Route 6 adjusts to varying traffic density.
As with many of these rides, U.S. Route 6 stretches far beyond Indiana’s bounds. As the second-longest contiguous highway in the country, you can explore thousands of miles of road. Head to the east or west coast for weeks or months of touring.
Historic Michigan Road
Experience over 250 miles of Indiana scenery and history. One of the most important commercial routes in Indiana in the early 19th Century, Michigan Road was once a thoroughfare for goods and people traveling from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan, passing through the state’s capitol.
Michigan Road offers great stretches of all-but-forgotten farm roads. Riders should also know that portions of the route take you through denser traffic and on interstate highways, such as I-74 and I-421. Find step-by-step route directions from HistoricMichiganRoad.org.
If Michigan Road is a crucial piece of Indiana highway history, Lincoln Highway plays a major role in the national highway story. As the first roadway made for auto travel across the United States, the Lincoln Highway still draws riders today.
Indiana features a unique sight on the route: The only remaining segment of red-brick road. You’ll find this just east of Ligonier on what is now Old Route 33.
Heading across Northern Indiana from Allen County to Lake County, you can take multiple possible routes as you head across the state.
That’s because the original road was built in 1913, but modified in 1928. The Indiana Lincoln Highway Association has step-by-step directions available for both versions of the road.
Ohio River Scenic Byway – State Road 56
The Ohio River Scenic Byway is an excellent route for motorcycle touring. Expect twisting roads, views of the Ohio River, and bygone Hoosier state charm.
Designated a National Scenic Byway, Ohio River Scenic Byway offers more than 300 miles of historic roads to enjoy. With such a broad expanse stretching from Ohio to Illinois, you can pick a section to explore for a day or weekend or take the whole roadway.
Ohio Scenic Byway offers trip ideas for easy planning. Try a 118-mile section across South Central Indiana, starting in New Albany/Jeffersonville and ending in Tell City. Explore historic main streets and natural areas like the Falls of the Ohio State Park or Hoosier National Forest. You can also turn this route into a motorcycle-friendly loop.
State Road 13 to Indianapolis
Starting in Syracuse, State Road 13 immediately takes you to the edges of Lake Wawasee. Then, you’ll be heading south through Lake Webster and half a dozen quiet towns until ending in Fortville, just northeast of Indianapolis.
With more than 100 miles of farmland roads, State Route 13 makes for a quiet route southbound to Indianapolis. A more straight-shot road, State Road 13 won’t overtax newer or intermediate riders with twisty roads.
State Route 450
Okay, maybe you’re not looking for a big ride just yet. Here’s one short trip that packs in the scenery.
Take State Route 450 from Bedford to Shoals. Just over 20 miles long, you’ll get a good afternoon in with time to stop for sight-seeing. Check out views of the White River, a covered bridge, and a dam overlook.
However, you’ll need to feel confident with curves when you take on this route.
Other Motorcycle Routes and Destinations
- Indiana’s Historic Pathways – U.S. 50
- Indiana Gravel Route/National Forest Rd.
- State Road 62
- State Route 37
- Turkey Run State Park
- Cataract Falls
- Hoosier National Forest
- Bluespring Caverns
- Patoka Lake
Types of Insurance You’ll Need
We get it. Insurance is about the worst-case scenario. And many riders don’t want to think about that.
Legally, you’ve got to have it. In fact, you should have several types of insurance coverage.
We’ll go over those policies in more detail below.
But in our view, there are really only two different kinds of insurance coverage:
The insurance you must have, and the insurance you should have.
The Must Haves: Legally Required Insurance
The state of Indiana requires all motorists, including motorcyclists, to carry basic liability insurance coverage. (BMV)
- $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two people
- $25,000 for property damage in one crash
Let’s back up a bit, though.
Liability insurance is a policy that covers someone else’s injuries and damages.
So, when we say $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person, we’re talking about the other guy or gal in the crash. Bodily injury insurance will pay for that other person’s medical bills in an accident you cause.
Of course, it will only pay for up to $25,000 of those bills (per person) if you get the minimum coverage.
Property damage liability coverage will pay for the damage to the other person’s vehicle in a crash you cause. Again, however, it will only cover up to $25,000 in damage if you get the minimum policy.
And that’s all the insurance coverage you need to drive in Indiana.
Hang on a second…
You might be wondering where your protection comes in.
That’s a very good question to ask.
Legally required insurance coverage in Indiana is really only about protecting yourself from potential liability claims.
Everything else is up to you.
That’s what brings us to this next point:
You should get more than basic insurance coverage. Especially when you’re driving a motorcycle.
The Should Haves: Collision, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, and MedPay
Like we said, there are a bunch of different types of insurance out there.
And while the following coverages aren’t required by law, they can offer you some very important peace of mind.
These policies help take care of you after a crash:
- Collision insurance. This offers coverage for damage to your vehicle after a crash.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Many people lack insurance coverage or only carry minimum coverage. This insurance helps cover your losses if you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Medical payments (MedPay). This pays for your medical bills (or a passenger’s bills) if you’re injured in a crash. With MedPay, you can get reimbursed quickly. You don’t need to prove fault for a crash to use this insurance coverage.
These coverages may sound familiar.
Your insurance agent may have offered you these coverages on the phone. Now, we understand—we’ve been on these calls before, too.
Maybe you said yes to some of them because you wanted peace of mind. (Or you just wanted to get off the phone.) Maybe you said no because you didn’t want an upsell.
Whatever the case, think about how much good coverage will mean if you’re truly hurt in a crash.
We’ll give a scenario so you can see how these insurance types work.
Let’s say you were in an accident with a speeding driver on I-465 in Indianapolis. They caused the crash, but they had only minimum coverage: $25,000 in bodily injury and $25,000 in property damage liability.
You were seriously hurt in the accident.
You suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that required surgery and several days of hospitalization. Doctors say you’ll need at least six months of physical therapy if not more. They also say you can’t work for the time being.
This is easily a case where you could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
Maybe your medical bills end up being around $100,000. After all, there are the ER costs, hospitalization bills, and future expected therapy costs.
If you can only claim $25,000 in bodily injury liability from the other driver, you could be stuck holding a lot of bills.
Now, imagine you have good insurance.
Let’s say you bought a good underinsured motorist coverage policy, insuring yourself for up to $1 million. With that kind of coverage, you don’t have to worry about how long you’ll need physical therapy.
Of course, there are also legal approaches you could try in a case like this.
With the driver at fault for the crash, you may be able to file a lawsuit to get more compensation beyond their $25,000 in liability coverage. But, that’s only if they have assets to pay you. Many underinsured drivers don’t have a lot of assets.
We advise that you get good insurance coverage.
That’s the only way to ensure that the cards are stacked in your favor from the get-go.
How do I Get Full Coverage Without Paying an Arm and a Leg?
It’s true: insurance isn’t free.
Insurance rates are determined by many factors.
Providers will look at your age, accident history, where you live, and a bunch of other factors.
But adding additional insurance coverages doesn’t have to be unaffordable. There are a few strategies you can try to lower your premiums.
Explore different insurance providers. Even if you’ve had a certain auto insurance carrier for several years, shopping around can pay off—substantially.
Also, consider raising your deductible on your insurance plan. This can help lower your monthly payments.
You could also qualify for more than a dozen discounts. Maybe you use antitheft devices, have a clean driving record, or took certain courses to show you’re a good driver. Ask an agent if you qualify or explore your discount options online.
Tips for Staying Safe as You Start Riding
When you start riding, you’re likely concerned about crashing.
That’s understandable. Motorcyclists have less protection between them and the road than other vehicle drivers.
And riding comes with other risks, too. Motorcyclists can be harder to see in traffic, for one thing.
But all of that doesn’t mean you should just accept the possibility of an accident. You can take many actions to increase your chances of a safe, enjoyable ride.
Give yourself peace of mind.
Review these tips for staying safe when you start riding.
Practice Basic Motorcycle Skills Until You’re Confident
Getting your motorcycle endorsement is a big milestone. But getting the endorsement doesn’t mean that you have all the skills you need to thrive as a rider.
Basic motorcycle skills can take a while to master. Building confidence in these basic skills can go a long way in making you safer on the road:
- Throttle control
- Cornering and turning
- Counter steering
- Line selection
- Low-speed driving
If you’re not sure that you know how to take your skills to the next level, don’t worry.
You can take an advanced motorcycle skills course after you pass the entry-level course. The advanced class will also teach you more about how to manage risk and optimize your visibility.
Practice Good Vision of the Road
On a motorcycle, it’s all too common for other drivers not to see you. So, it’s crucial that you stay as aware as possible of your road surroundings.
To practice good vision, do this:
- Look ahead on the road and scan traffic.
Look at what the car ahead of you is doing. Look to see what the cars coming up beside you are doing. And don’t just watch around you in the closest 20-30 feet ahead.
Have your eye on the traffic in the near distance, too. Are drivers merging into one lane? Starting to brake? Prepare to slow down.
When you’re coming to an intersection, check for turning drivers and what’s happening with oncoming traffic.
Because so many crashes happen at intersections, be especially aware of others. Anticipate that you might not be seen and drive accordingly.
- Prepare and plan for what’s next.
Maybe you’re already familiar with the road. Even if you’re not, you could see a few moves ahead down the road. If so, be thinking about what’s next.
Will you encounter a curve? Does the road expand into a multi-lane highway?
Prepare yourself not only for your immediate next move on the road but the move after that.
This added level of preparation can help you anticipate your line of travel and help you think through what hazards might lay ahead.
Ride According to Your Current Skill Level
At the risk of sounding like a broken record: motorcycle skills take time to master. So, one of the best ways to ensure your safety is to ride accordingly.
If you’re still getting comfortable with braking and counter steering, it might not be the best idea to jump on the highway.
With higher-traffic roads, you’ll be confronting more dangerous variables: More traffic, higher speeds, and potentially, more mistakes.
Match your skills with your riding choices.
So, for those still mastering the basics, think about riding in your neighborhood for a while before venturing out on major roads.
Once you get comfortable with that geography, try out a slightly longer trip or a new arterial street. Slowly make your way out of your comfort zone as your skill level advances.
Get Good Protective Gear
We know this one might cause some readers to skip to the next section.
And we get it. Wearing gear can seem like a pain.
Maybe it makes you feel restricted on the bike—and, you think, that’s not the point of being on a motorcycle.
It’s understandable to resist the gear. But once you see the accident stats, you’ll understand why wearing good protective gear is so essential.
Consider Florida, where wearing a helmet is optional for riders over 21. After the state banned the universal helmet law in 2000, motorcyclist deaths increased by 55%.
The less riders wear helmets, the more often they die during a crash.
Buy a quality DOT-compliant helmet with a face shield. You’ll also want to get full protective gear, including a motorcycle jacket, boots, and gloves.
Be sure to invest in gear that’s sturdy enough to offer you true protection during a crash. Leather jackets tend to last longer, but synthetic could also offer the quality you need. Check that the jacket provides sufficient armor, particularly in the elbow, shoulder, and back.
Boots should not bend or twist in the ankle. Buy something stiff and—again—solid.
Get the best possible gear you can purchase and tell yourself to use it.
Assume You’re Invisible
Here’s a leading reason why drivers crash into motorcyclists:
They didn’t see them.
Over 30% of fatal motorcycle crashes happen when the other car is going straight through an intersection and the motorcyclist is turning left. The driver doesn’t notice the motorcyclist.
While riding, assume you are invisible to others. You can take several defensive tactics to protect yourself here and increase your visibility.
First, be aware of your position in traffic.
Ride wherever you’re most likely to be seen. In many situations, this is in the left-hand side of a lane—especially when you’re turning left. If you can see the other driver’s mirror on the left-hand side, great. This gives the oncoming driver a better chance of seeing you.
Keep your motorcycle’s headlight on, even during the daytime.
Also, get more high-visibility gear. Try a neon-striped vest or choose a backpack with reflective panels. Any steps you take here could significantly increase your chances of being seen on the road.
Don’t Mix Alcohol With Riding
This may sound obvious, but we’ve got to say it. What’s another leading cause of motorcycle accidents?
Alcohol-impaired driving. On average, 29% of motorcyclists killed in a crash were alcohol-impaired.
Drinking alcohol affects your perception, reflexes, decision-making, and many other cognitive and physical abilities.
Driving a motorcycle requires all of your awareness and skill. Avoid the worst-case scenario by sobering up hours before you hit the road—or avoid alcohol altogether on motorcycle days.
Know How to Check Your Motorcycle’s Condition
Mechanical failure can cause serious problems. Or even an accident.
Make this a habit:
Ensure your motorcycle is in good working order every time you ride it.
A simple system can help keep you on track. T-CLOCS stands for:
- T: Tires and Wheels
Check that your tires have good pressure and good tread.
- C: Controls and Brakes
Apply pressure to both of your brake levers and ensure it holds a good grip on the rotor.
Also, be sure that your clutch feels tight, and your throttle snaps back into position properly.
- L: Lights and Electric
Be sure that both headlight and taillight are functioning, as well as your turn signals.
- O: Oil and Fluids
Engine oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid should be at appropriate levels.
- C: Chassis
Check your belt or chain for proper adjustment. Also, your shocks should work smoothly.
- S: Stands
Be sure that the bike is held properly upright by the stand.
Hazards You’ll Face on the Road
Even if you only ride familiar routes, you’ll likely come up against some unknowns. Road hazards like gravel or construction zones can quickly turn a beautiful ride into a fall risk.
However, being prepared for road hazards puts you one step ahead. And being prepared for hazards means practicing safe riding.
Having a good position on the motorcycle will set you up to be better in control of the bike.
Maintaining an appropriate following distance will also pay off. If the driver ahead of you is about to hit an animal and puts on the brakes, you’ll have plenty of stopping distance.
Practicing good vision techniques and regularly scanning the road will also help you avoid hitting road hazards. If people are braking up ahead, it might mean that you’re about to face debris in the road or another road issue.
Here’s what you should know about the most common road hazards in Indiana.
Traction is a motorcycle’s best friend. It’s what keeps the bike upright, with both wheels in contact with the road.
Loose road debris like gravel can spell havoc for your bike’s traction.
If you can avoid hitting a small patch of gravel, do so. Change your lane position and adjust your line selection.
However, you might just have to plunge into a section of gravel. If so, just take everything a bit slower and be focused about your movements.
Avoid accelerating or sudden braking. Keep a steady speed. Keep your eyes where you want to go, and don’t stay focused on the road below you.
Be especially careful when you come up against gravel on a curve. Avoid leaning too much into the curve.
With gravel, learn how your bike performs best. Maybe you need to keep your arms loose or pull in your elbows. Notice when you feel confident in the riding and practice replicating that body position and speed the next time you’re on gravel.
Orange barrel season is summer—right when motorcyclists are ready to hit the roads.
Unfortunately, construction zones are a reality that riders will face. You may deal with loose gravel, uneven pavement, merging traffic lanes, or other debris.
With uneven pavement, the trick is to confront sudden shifts in road head-on. Don’t slowly inch your way into a raised or cut section at a narrow angle. Your tire should hit the uneven section at as close to a direct, 90-degree angle as is safely possible.
Rainy or Icy Roads
Even if you plan to only ride on perfect days, think again. Weather can suddenly change, even on cloudless days.
Maybe you rode out to a favorite restaurant, and it rained while you were inside.
It’s best to be prepared for the ride back.
First, use your gloves if you have them. Rain can quickly leave your hands quite cold, and this can be bad for controlling the bike.
In the rain, avoid speeding. Keep a steady and slower pace, avoiding sudden acceleration.
Approach braking with caution as well. Braking suddenly can cause your tires to lose traction, and then you could lose control of the bike.
Avoid any road hazards. Even something like painted lines can become excessively slick after rain.
Of course, don’t be afraid to pull over and wait out the downpour if you have to.
If you’re driving over ice, the principles are similar. Slow your speed and move straight across the ice. Don’t swerve heavily or make sudden movements.
Crossing railroad tracks can be dangerous on its own, let alone when the tracks are wet from rain or other weather conditions.
When you’re preparing to ride over the track, keep your wheel straight. Don’t make sudden turns.
Also, watch your speed. Be sure to maintain a steady, moderate speed across the track. Or, you could approach it slowly and accelerate slightly just before going over.
When animals cross your path, your instinct may be to swerve. However, make sure that it’s safe before you do.
First, slow down when you see an animal in the road. Then, check your mirrors and look at the traffic around you. If it’s safe to change lanes or swerve, you can do so.
Motorcycle Accidents in Indiana: Breaking Down the Numbers
Okay, safety is important. But you may be wondering about how often motorcycle accidents actually happen.
More often than other vehicle accidents. Motorcyclists get into fatal crashes 29 times more often than automobile drivers.
Here are a few other national numbers to show the seriousness of the issue:
- 84,000 motorcyclists got injured in accidents in 2019
- 5,014 of those riders lost their lives to their injuries
A couple of other details stand out among fatal motorcycle accidents.
First, in fatal crashes, motorcyclists are far more likely to be alcohol-impaired than other vehicle drivers.
They’re also more likely not to be wearing a helmet. Almost 60% of riders killed in 2019 crashes were not helmeted. So, an accident that could otherwise leave a rider with normal injuries easily becomes fatal without a helmet.
Indiana Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycle stats in the state are similar to national data. In 2019, here’s how Indiana motorcyclists fared on the roads:
- There were 2,698 total motorcyclists involved in accidents.
- Of these 2,698 motorcyclists in accidents, 67% faced injury and 4% were fatally injured.
- The state saw 112 total fatal accidents.
Again, Indiana police report a similar picture of motorcycle accident causes.
Alcohol is a factor. Nearly 60% of riders in single-vehicle accidents and 35% of riders in multi-vehicle crashes had a high blood-alcohol level.
Here too, motorcycle accidents happened mainly on clear or cloudy days—not when it was raining or snowing.
And Indianapolis also saw its share of motorcycle crashes. Of the 32,250 crashes reported in 2019, 292 involved motorcyclists.
Whatever you do, however, don’t think that a crash is inevitable.
There are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of staying safe. We talked about practicing the basic riding skills until you’re confident and wearing good protective gear—including a helmet.
What These Numbers Mean for You
So, it’s one thing to read about accidents and statistics. It’s another thing to face a crash yourself.
If you do get into a crash, you shouldn’t assume that it was your fault or that you can’t make a recovery.
Plenty of riders who got into an accident return to the bike. And many accident victims get fair compensation for their losses.
One of the best ways to get help after a crash is to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer, especially one with experience riding a motorcycle.
Randy Sevenish is the Lawyer Who Rides. He and his team can fight for your side of the story. He can help you deal with an accident claim or lawsuit and seek the best compensation available in your case.
What Happens if I Get in a Motorcycle Accident?
Some riders may crash and get back up again. But that’s just not always the case—especially when the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet or good protective gear.
Motorcycle accidents can be some of the most devastating crashes on the roads. Catastrophic and severe injuries are common, and it’s normal to need orthopedic treatment or surgery after these crashes.
Here are a few common types of injuries you could face after a crash:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Head injuries are all too common in motorcycle crashes. As much as 10-50% of accidents leave victims with these injuries.
And it’s not hard to see why.
Motorcycles leave the rider’s whole body exposed. During a crash, a motorcyclist will likely fall off the bike. Falls often result in TBIs.
Traumatic brain injuries range in severity depending on the force of impact. You may think of a coma or a brain hemorrhage when you think of TBI, but this umbrella term also refers to concussions, contusions, or other brain injuries.
And head injuries don’t always end there. Motorcyclists with a TBI can face cervical spine complications in as much as 8% of cases.
- Spinal cord injury
Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to spinal cord injury (SCI). These injuries occur among motorcyclists at least seven times more frequently than in other auto crashes.
Many motorcyclists face thoracic spine injuries. This can be paralyzing, affecting the upper chest and mid-back.
Spinal cord injuries leave survivors with life-altering challenges. They also leave families with substantial financial burdens.
Paying for hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitative therapy, and other health costs over a lifetime living with SCI could cost over $1 million dollars.
- Upper extremity injuries
What do you think your body would do if you were thrown off the bike? More than likely, you’d instinctively throw out your arms to brace for the fall.
That’s why so many motorcyclists face upper extremity injuries, or injuries to the arms and shoulders. It’s so common that distal radius fractures (wrist fractures) are often called motorcycle radius injuries.
Motorcyclists also are vulnerable to hitting objects like road signs when thrown from the bike. Arm and shoulder injuries also happen easily when the rider strikes a sign or stationary object.
- Lower extremity injuries
When a rider anticipates a crash and feels the bike falling out from below them, they may have another fall-avoidance instinct. Sticking out their legs.
This could cause serious or more moderate injuries to the foot and ankle.
However, there are even more common types of leg injuries. Getting a leg stuck between the bike and another object, like a car, is typical in motorcycle crashes.
Somewhere around 40-60% of bike accidents result in a leg crush injury, which often fractures the tibia or the ankle and foot area.
- Pelvic injury
Let’s say the motorcycle comes to a sudden stop. Maybe the rider had to slam on the brakes when a car cut them off.
If they were moving fast enough before braking, their body could still be moving forward on impact—and their pelvis could crash against the fuel tank.
Pelvic fractures and bladder injuries are common after these types of crashes. As many as 13% of riders pass away from severe pelvic injuries.
- Road rash
When riders ditch protective gear like leather jackets, gloves, and motorcycle boots, they’re more at risk of road rash.
Hitting pavement can leave the skin with severe abrasions, which can come with many other complications. Motorcyclists often face debris embedment in the skin. The rash could become infected or even lead to sepsis.
Skin wounds could also cause serious scarring and disfigurement.
Damage to Your Bike
Let’s not forget, damage to your body isn’t the only harm you’ll face in a crash. When you get up off the pavement, you could be looking at minor dings or a completely totalled bike.
An insurance adjuster will determine whether your bike is totalled. It all depends on your bike’s value before the crash and the estimated cost of repairs.
Between your physical injuries and your property damage, a lot is likely running through your mind. You could be worrying about how you’ll pay all the bills, or whether you’ll be able to put your life back together again.
However, you could go after compensation from the responsible driver. And a lawyer can help.
You could recover the funds you need to repair or replace your bike. And you could cover many other accident expenses, like for your medical care, lost income if you missed days at work, or non-financial losses, like pain and suffering.
Don’t think you don’t have options after a motorcycle accident. You can take action for your case immediately after the crash and beyond.
Your Options if You’re Hurt in a Wreck
The moments after an accident can be overwhelming.
You could be hurt. The other driver may be insisting the accident wasn’t their fault.
You may not know what steps to take. And that’s why it’s crucial to know what to expect before the worst happens.
What you do immediately after the accident can be crucial for your health—and for any accident claim you might pursue.
Here’s what you should do first:
Get Medical Care
Not in pain? Don’t be too sure that you aren’t hurt.
Remember, adrenaline kicks in right after the crash. This can mask your symptoms. Some injuries can be invisible, like organ damage.
Whatever you do, don’t downplay your symptoms.
You may think you can shake it off. You may be concerned about the hospital bills.
Here’s the kicker:
If you don’t see a doctor, visit an emergency room, or go to urgent care, there’s no record of your injury.
With no record of injury, your insurance company could refuse to cover your injuries. And so could the other driver’s insurance company.
So, for instance, let’s say you feel fine after the accident. A few days later, you have pain in your upper back and neck. You think it’s not too bad.
A few weeks later, you’re in serious pain. When you see a doctor a couple months later, they say you have a severe muscle strain. The pain is so bad, you have to take time off work to heal.
By then, it could be hard to prove your neck pain was caused by the crash.
Now, let’s flip the situation.
Let’s say you notice a little pain a few days after the accident. You go to your doctor. They diagnose you with whiplash, and you start treatment.
You feel better within a couple of weeks.
Because your whiplash injury was documented just days after the crash, you had a strong case for compensation. The other driver’s insurance covered the medical bills.
This is the better story.
Get to Safety
Were you thrown off the bike? Was your motorcycle stuck in the middle of the lane?
Whatever you do, immediately get to safety. Head to the far right shoulder of the road or a sidewalk.
If you can’t safely move your bike, be sure to move yourself first.
Call the Police
The law says to call 9-1-1 after an accident where there’s injury, a fatality, or $1,000 or more in damage.
But you should call the police no matter what.
Don’t worry about discerning if your bike or the other car has at least a grand in dings. And don’t second guess whether you have injuries.
As we said above, you may not feel hurt right after an accident. But you could have symptoms later.
It’s good practice to let a police officer inspect the scene and write a report. That way, you have a paper record. It could prove useful down the road.
A lot is happening right after a crash. You may not be able to take this step.
But if you aren’t seriously hurt and can talk to the other driver, exchange contact information. This means taking down their full name, contact info, driver’s license details, and insurance information.
You’ll also want to record their plate number, details about their vehicle (color, model, and type), and where the accident happened.
Don’t Admit Fault
When the police arrive, you may be tempted to talk. If you do, the one thing you shouldn’t say is: I did it.
If you say you’re at fault up front, that’s like closing the case when it barely even started.
Don’t take the blame just yet. Wait until you can get a legal case review. A law firm can check out the facts of your case and explain what comes next.
Even if you truly think you were at fault, you could have more options than you realize.
Document the Scene if You Can
Again, this assumes you’re not seriously injured. But document the scene if possible.
You’ll want to get photos of all angles.
Take closeups of damage to your bike. Get pictures of the other car’s damage, too. Take shots of any marks on the pavement showing how the crash happened.
Get photos of your injuries.
If in doubt, get more documentation rather than less. Be the first investigator on the scene.
This includes getting contact info from any witnesses. Their testimony could prove crucial for your case later on.
Contact a Law Firm
There’s no rule about when to contact a law firm. However, you may want to have some info to share about any injuries before you call. So, once you see a doctor or visit an ER, call a law firm.
Here’s another situation where acting sooner is better.
A law firm can help you think through your options. They can help you avoid pitfalls. They can explain what you don’t yet know.
So, as an example, let’s go back to the whiplash case.
Let’s say the other driver’s insurance company realized that its client was at fault. It contacted you a few days after the crash, looking to settle.
You said you felt fine. It offered $5,000.
What an injury lawyer would likely tell you about this offer:
Do not accept.
When you don’t yet know if you’re injured—or could start to have symptoms—it’s best to wait before taking a settlement.
If you take that $5K, that’s the end of it.
You won’t get to go back and ask for more money.
That’s why it’s so important to be sure that the offer is right.
In our whiplash situation, remember how the injury victim had worsening pain over several weeks? Then, they had to take time off work to recover?
That could end up amounting to tens of thousands of dollars in losses. Between medical bills, missed time at work, and pain and suffering, the case’s true value could end up looking more like $20k, $40k, or even more.
This is the number one reason to contact a law firm as soon as possible.
You may not realize how much money you could be walking away from if you settle too soon.
A lawyer can tell you exactly what types of compensation you could seek. And they can tell you about legal pathways to seek what you deserve.
Other Ways a Lawyer Can Help
If you’re thinking about hiring a lawyer, it’s good to know exactly what to expect.
Here’s what a law firm should do for you:
- Gather evidence
You could get the compensation you deserve with good evidence.
Of course, you shouldn’t have to play investigator yourself, tracking down video footage of the scene or witness statements. Especially not while you’re still recovering from the crash.
Your motorcycle accident should do all of that work for you.
What’s more, your lawyer likely knows a couple of things pretty well. First, they know what evidence is likely to convince insurance adjusters, other lawyers, and even a jury.
Also, they know what evidence is out there and how to get it.
Take this situation. Imagine you were hit by a commercial truck driver.
There’s a lot of evidence in the company’s hands: Black box data or company logbooks. Evidence that could make a big difference in your case. Evidence that could show the other driver was at fault or the company made poor hiring decisions.
Your lawyer can act immediately. They can request this evidence and ensure the facts are preserved.
With evidence in hand, your lawyer will get to work. They’ll use photos, surveillance footage, company records, police reports, and more to show who caused the crash.
- Determine who’s liable
These two terms get confused: Fault and liability. Here’s the difference.
Fault refers to who caused the accident. Liability refers to the person who’s responsible for paying you.
So, going back to the commercial truck crash example. The truck driver might have made a poor lane change and caused you to swerve, flying off the bike. But the truck driver’s employer could be liable for your compensation.
This is another reason why working with a lawyer can be crucial.
Your attorney can accurately determine who’s liable for your accident—something you may not know if you took the case on yourself. And, they can hold all liable parties responsible for paying you.
If you don’t know that the trucking company is liable in this situation, you could be leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.
After all, commercial entities often hold large liability insurance policies.
So, maybe you might settle with the individual driver for $100k in a case like this. But you could have settled with the trucking company for $500k or $600k.
- Deal with the insurance companies
Imagine this: You’re home in bed with a fractured tibia and a mild concussion. You need help with a lot of basic tasks, and you’re in serious pain after orthopedic surgery.
Do you want to pick up the phone and talk to an insurance adjuster?
If you have a lawyer, you can just ignore that call. Let it ring. Hit decline.
Your lawyer can handle all the communication for you. All the calls, emails, and letters. A lawyer will speak to the adjusters, other lawyers, or the other driver—all while you rest and recover.
- Handle the common pitfalls
An accident case can seem crystal clear. The truck driver veered into your lane. The car plowed into you while you were making a legal turn. Someone else caused the crash, and now you’re suffering.
That’s how the accident looks to you. From the other driver’s side or from an insurance adjuster’s perspective, the facts are often far from simple.
Plus, motorcyclists often face unfair bias after a crash. The other driver may be pointing the finger at you. The other lawyer might say that you were the reckless one.
Your lawyer will fight for your side of the story. They’ll see the things that the other side is forgetting—or willfully ignoring.
After all, insurance companies are businesses. And they’re in business to make money. Their goal is typically to pay out as little as possible.
That’s why having a lawyer can be so significant for your case. Your lawyer’s goal is the exact opposite: Maximize every dollar you can get based on the evidence.
So when the insurance company throws roadblocks in the way, belittling the seriousness of your injuries or claiming that you caused the crash, your lawyer will know how to handle these challenges.
- Take your case to trial
Often, motorcycle accident victims can get a settlement out of court. But some cases won’t get resolved through negotiation.
Your lawyer can file a lawsuit when negotiations stall or the other side refuses a fair resolution. Then, they can take your case before a jury.
They’ll cross-examine witnesses, present evidence, and make arguments in your favor.
Again, you won’t have to do any of these tasks. That’s what your lawyer is for.
If You Lost a Loved One to a Motorcycle Crash
Losing a loved one can upend your life. But you don’t have to face it on your own.
First, know that there are support groups available for people who also lost family members to motorcycle crashes. Take the time and space you need to grieve and connect to people in similar situations.
You can find support from:
- Crash Support Network
BikerDown was founded by a motorcycle rider who faced her own challenges after several friends went down on a group ride. Started in Denver, Colorado in 2011, the organization has since developed four state-level chapters and a national chapter.
Riders’ family members can find emotional support and practical resources. One of the group’s main functions is to fundraise and help cover other riders’ medical expenses and other losses.
Fatal Crash Support Group is a Facebook group for family members who lost loved ones to vehicle accidents. Organized through Crash Support Network, the group offers an emotionally supportive environment as well as the resources you need to cope with loss.
Finally, when you’re ready to take legal action, know that you could have legal support on your side as well.
Learn more about seeking justice and making a financial recovery after a fatal motorcycle crash.
What to Do After Your Loved One’s Accident
Responding to a call from a local hospital or police department regarding a loved one’s accident could be one of the most difficult moments of anyone’s life.
After that moment, you may have to deal with calls from the insurance company. You may have medical bills on your table. Here’s what you should do as you face the confusion.
- Get a legal case review.
One of the most important steps to take after your loved one’s accident is to get a case review from a law firm.
A law firm can immediately help you sort through what’s happening. They can tell you what you need to know to protect your family’s rights. They can explain your legal options and how to hold the defendant accountable.
Then, a lawyer can stand by your side and handle a wrongful death case for you.
- Don’t accept the first settlement offer.
We wish we could say that insurance companies will help you at a time like this. But insurance companies will try to offer low payouts even to families who lost a loved one after a crash.
If you get a call from an insurance company in the coming days or weeks and it makes you a settlement offer, don’t accept the first number it gives.
Often, this initial figure is far below what you and your family truly deserve for your loved one’s loss.
You could be dealing with thousands of dollars in medical care costs, funeral expenses, and the prospect of major income losses for your family into the foreseeable future. On top of it all, you’re facing the emotional pain of grief.
Those losses often add up to far more than the initial settlement offer the insurer makes. Your lawyer may tell you this—and then they’ll get to work negotiating for what you deserve.
- Avoid making a recorded statement.
Don’t make a recorded statement with the insurance company. If for any reason an insurance company calls you to ask for a recorded comment about the crash, don’t do so.
Tell it to talk to your lawyer.
These recorded statements usually won’t help your case. Instead, they could be used as evidence to reduce your potential settlement amount.
- Let a lawyer handle your case.
While you’re dealing with your loss, you shouldn’t have to deal with legal matters.
A lawyer can gather evidence to show how the accident happened. They can demonstrate how your loss affected you and your family. They can fight for what you deserve and hold the responsible party accountable.
Your lawyer will help you make a recovery for the hospital bills. They’ll tell you how much your family can recover in future income losses following your loved one’s passing.
If you take on a wrongful death case yourself, it can be hard to know what you’re getting into.
You may not realize when the other party is lowballing you and your family. You may not know just how much time and energy is involved in negotiation—and securing a fair outcome.
You don’t have to speak to insurance companies or file legal paperwork.
While you deal with more important matters, let a lawyer fight for you.
Frequently Asked Questions: Indiana Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle crashes can leave you with major losses. On top of it all, you may not know what to expect from the financial recovery process.
Get answers to your questions so you can move forward with your case and your life.
How Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
When you look at motorcycle accident stats, you see certain trends.
- Alcohol. Certain factors often contribute to motorcycle accidents, such as alcohol use. Forty-two percent of fatal accidents involved alcohol.
- Non-highway accidents. Surprisingly, most motorcycle crashes don’t happen on the highway. More than 90% occur on non-interstate roadways.
- Frontal collisions. Over three-quarters of fatal accidents resulted from frontal collisions. Less than 10% were rear-end crashes.
- Left turns at intersections. Left turns are dangerous for motorcyclists. Over 40% of fatal motorcycle crashes happen when an oncoming driver is going straight through an intersection—and doesn’t see the turning motorcyclist.
- Weather isn’t a big factor. Very few accidents happen primarily because of weather. Of all motorcycle accidents in 2019, only 2% happened in rainy conditions and 1% occurred in snowy conditions.
What Percentage of Motorcycle Riders Get in Accidents?
In 2019, there were 8,596,314 registered motorcyclists in the U.S. There were also 84,000 injury accidents reported involving motorcyclists in that same year.
Yes, this is only 0.1% of riders. However, keep in mind that many crashes go unreported. Also, this figure does not necessarily account for single-motorcycle accidents or non-injury accidents.
What Is Contributory Negligence in Motorcycle Law?
Contributory negligence, also known as contributory fault, is a law that allows injury victims to recover compensation even if they’re partially at fault for a crash.
So, you can still seek compensation even if you were partially responsible. You only cannot get compensation if you were more at fault than the other party or parties. (IC 34-51-2-5)
How Many Motorcycle Accidents Occur in Indiana Each Year?
Indiana saw 1,075 single-vehicle motorcycle accidents in 2019. In that same year, there were 1,504 multi-vehicle crashes.
In total, Indiana had 2,579 motorcycle crashes in one year alone.
How Many Motorcycle Accidents Are Caused by Grass in the Road?
This is hard to track. There are no statistics about accidents caused by grass in the road.
However, this is a significant issue for riders in some areas. Grass in the road causes motorcyclists to lose traction, which can readily lead to a crash.
What Is the Average Payout for a Motorcycle Accident?
All accidents are unique. The payout after a crash depends on how seriously the person was injured, how much their medical care cost, and other losses such as lost income.
However, some numbers can help riders understand common payouts after accidents. Studies show that at least 75% of riders hospitalized after a crash had more than $10,000 in medical bills.
What Type of Motorcycle Insurance Should I Have?
You should have more than basic insurance coverage. After all, the injuries and losses resulting from a motorcycle crash can be severe.
You should also get good uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and a MedPay plan would also be wise.
Where do Most Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Certain locations are especially dangerous for motorcyclists.
Intersections are a leading crash site, as over 40% of crashes happen when a motorcyclist is turning left and the other driver is going straight. Also, the vast majority of crashes occur on non-interstate roads.
Will a Motorcycle Accident Impact My Car Insurance?
Not necessarily. If you weren’t at fault for the motorcycle crash, you may not see your auto insurance rates go up.
Can a Motorcycle Accident Cause PTSD?
Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident can leave you with more than physical injuries.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect many riders after a crash. PTSD often involves troubling flashbacks, avoidance of situations similar to the trauma, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms that may require treatment.
What Should I do at the Scene of a Motorcycle Accident?
Be sure to get medical care immediately for your injuries. If you can do so, move yourself and your bike to safety. Then, call the police.
Again, if you are physically able, get the other driver’s contact information, including their insurance details.
How do I Report a Motorcycle Accident?
First, call the police to file an accident report.
Then, report the accident to your insurance company. Keep this call brief and to the point. You should not comment on your potential fault or describe unnecessary accident details.
How do Bad Weather Conditions Cause Motorcycle Accidents?
Bad weather can be dangerous for motorcyclists in particular since these conditions can cause big problems for the rider’s traction.
Wet or icy roads increase the risk of hydroplaning. Fog can decrease a rider’s visibility.
What if I Get in an Accident With a Rented Motorcycle?
You could have a few options after an accident with a rental.
If you bought insurance when you rented the motorcycle, the rental company’s policy could cover your losses. If the other driver was at fault, however, they could be responsible.
What does “Comparative Negligence” Mean When Determining Who Is Liable for a Traffic Accident?
Each person’s responsibility for the accident will be considered when determining the accident’s payout. That’s what comparative negligence means.
If you’re less responsible for the crash than the other party, you can recover compensation. But, your total compensation will get reduced by your percentage of fault.
What Should I do if I Am Involved in an Accident on My Motorcycle?
Getting medical care for your injuries is the most important thing you could do after an accident. Reporting the crash and getting an accident report is also crucial.
If I Am in a Motorcycle Accident, Should I Call the Police?
If the accident left anyone injured (or fatally injured) or there was more than $1,000 in property damage, the law says that you need to call the police.
However, calling the police is a good idea no matter what. If you were in a crash, report the accident.
If I Get Into an Accident on My Motorcycle, Should I Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Hiring a motorcycle attorney can pay off in many ways.
A lawyer has experience with the common pitfalls of motorcycle crash cases. They can handle everything for you, including speaking with the insurance companies. Above all, they can go after the best possible results that you need and deserve.
Where to Find a Lawyer if You’re in a Wreck
When you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, you deserve legal help from someone who understands.
At Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., our firm’s founder is Randy Sevenish, the Lawyer Who Rides. Randy is a longtime motorcycle rider and enthusiast. He understands what riders face on the roads and how motorcycle accidents happen.
Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. will be a fierce advocate for you.
That means that you won’t have to worry about insurance adjusters calling you and offering you lowball settlements. You won’t have to accept unfair treatment just because you’re a biker.
Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. will handle all these frustrations for you. We’ll collect evidence to show how you were harmed and prove the value of your losses. We’ll do all the hard legal work so that you can recover in peace—and get the compensation you need.
If you or a loved one was in an accident, we could help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, psychological care costs, and more. For families who lost a loved one, our compassionate team can stand beside you through every step, seeking justice and compensation for your hardships.
Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. today for your free case review. Ask us your questions and learn how to move forward today. The call is confidential and comes with no obligation.