Harley Riding in Montana: Driving Tips to Ensure a Safe, Smooth Ride

Montana is a great state for motorcycle enthusiasts, with its scenic roads, diverse terrain, and wide-open spaces. However, riding a motorcycle also comes with certain risks, especially for Harley riders.

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Posted: 07/25/2023
 Safety    Motor Vehicle Accident  

Riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it also comes with some risks and challenges. Traffic can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially for motorcyclists who are more vulnerable to collisions and injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 6,000 people killed in motorcycle accidents in 2021, and many of these involved Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The NHSTA also states when it comes to miles traveled, the number of motorcycle fatalities is nearly 30 times higher than automobile deaths. Therefore, it is important to practice defensive driving skills when riding a Harley-Davidson in traffic, especially in Montana, where the weather and road conditions can vary greatly.

Defensive driving is the act of anticipating and avoiding potential hazards on the road, rather than reacting to them after they occur. Defensive driving can help you prevent accidents, reduce stress, save fuel, and enjoy your ride more. Here are some defensive driving tips for riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in traffic in Montana:

Wear Proper Gear

The first step to defensive driving is to protect yourself with the right gear. This includes a helmet, gloves, boots, jacket, pants, and eye protection. Wearing proper gear can reduce the severity of injuries in case of a crash, as well as protect you from the elements. In Montana, the weather can change quickly, so be prepared for rain, snow, wind, and cold temperatures. Check the weather forecast before you ride and pack extra layers if needed. Check out our tips for preparing your motocycle for riding season.

Be Visible

Another key to defensive driving is to make sure other drivers can see you. Motorcycles are smaller and less noticeable than cars, so you need to use your lights, signals, horn, and position to communicate your intentions and presence. Avoid riding in the blind spots of other vehicles, and use your headlight at all times, even during the day. You can also wear bright or reflective clothing and accessories to increase your visibility.

Keep a Safe Distance

One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is following too closely behind another vehicle. This reduces your reaction time and visibility, and increases the chance of a rear-end collision. To maintain a safe distance, use the three-second rule: pick a fixed point ahead of the vehicle in front of you, such as a sign or a tree, and count how long it takes you to reach that point after the vehicle passes it. If it takes less than three seconds, you are too close and need to slow down or change lanes.

Scan Your Surroundings

To anticipate and avoid potential hazards on the road, you need to scan your surroundings constantly. This means checking your mirrors and looking around to foresee any traffic changes and maintain good speed. By doing this, you have enough time to react appropriately to your surroundings, thereby avoiding an impending road collision. Pay attention to road signs, signals, markings, and conditions, as well as other vehicles, pedestrians, animals, and debris. In Montana, be especially alert for wildlife crossing the road, such as deer, elk, moose, and bears.

Harley Davidson

Ride Within Your Limits

Finally, defensive driving means knowing your own limits and riding accordingly.

  • Don't ride faster than you can handle or than the road conditions allow.
  • Don't ride when you are tired, distracted, impaired, or angry.
  • Don't ride beyond your skill level or try to impress others with risky maneuvers.
  • Ride at a speed that you can quickly slow down or stop from, and always position yourself to have an escape path.
  • If you encounter a situation that makes you uncomfortable or nervous, slow down or pull over until you feel safe again.

By following these defensive driving tips for riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in traffic in Montana, you can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, and enjoy your ride more. Remember that defensive driving is not only about avoiding danger but also about having fun and being respectful of other road users. Ride safe and ride smart!

Safety Concerns

Contact one of our attorneys at Odegaard Injury Lawyers if you are looking for a trusted and experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Montana who can handle your case with professionalism and compassion. We have 100+ years of experience handing motorcycle accident cases in Montana. We will help you get the compensation you deserve for no upfront costs to you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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