Motorcycle riding is an exhilarating hobby for men and women around the world. It’s a cool, exciting and fuel-efficient way to get to a destination.
Yet, statistics show that motorcycle riding does come with some dangerous risks. In 2014 motorcycle deaths were more than 27 times those of cars.
Drivers don’t see motorcyclists or some cyclists overestimate their own driving skills. There are various factors at play leading to the high fatality rates.
Luckily there are simple things a rider can do to stay accident-free. Here’s how a motorcyclist can stay safe on the road.
Dress For Safety
It doesn’t matter if it’s the hottest day of summer. It’s still essential that you wear proper riding gear when driving a motorcycle. Something as simple as jeans can provide you with riding protection.
Riding gear can protect you from rain, sand, bugs and other debris. They’ll also better protect your skin in the event of a crash.
So skip the t-shirt, sandals, and shorts and dress safely. Leather clothing and boots are a great choice for extreme protection. Go with bright colored outfits. This helps other drivers to see you better.
And what about those dog days of summer? You can buy protective clothing made with breathable material and ventilation.
Are you wearing a helmet with an open face? Then glasses or goggles should be worn. By the way, your helmet should be DOT-approved and never ride without it!
Anyone riding in the back of your bike needs to wear protective gear too. Bonus tip: a motorbike intercom will make group rides awesome. You’ll be able to chat with your fellow riders while enjoying the breeze.
Know Your Riding Skills
Yes, motorcycle riding will probably make you look and feel cool. But don’t let your ego get in the way of your safety. Be realistic about your riding skills and don’t get in over your head.
Overestimating your riding abilities could cost you your life. When bike shopping, choose one that you can handle. Your feet should rest flat on the ground.
Your feet should rest flat on the ground. All handlebars and controls should be within comfortable reach for your hands. And the bike shouldn’t feel too heavy. Try to choose more familiar driving routes so that you can focus on safety.
For daily commuting consider a smaller model with a 250 to 300 cc engine. Are you a highway rider? Then you might want to go with a 500 to 750 cc range engine.
Pamper Your Ride
Now by pamper, we don’t mean simply keeping your bike nicely oiled. This means giving your bike a look-over before getting on the road.
Check your tire pressure, lights and mirrors. Check for any loose parts or leaks. Don’t neglect your bike and always give it regular maintenance
Worn-out motorcycle parts can greatly increase your risk of an accident.
Invest In Antilock Brakes
Antilock brakes are a great investment into your motorcycling safety. They help you keep control of the bike if you suddenly have to break.
These brakes already come with many high-end motorcycles. Check to see if your insurance will pay for some of the cost.
Experienced motorcycle riders will tell you that safe driving requires taking initiative. So your motorcycle’s mirrors don’t mean you shouldn’t do your own looking.
Want to switch lanes? It’s safest to turn and look over your shoulder. Once you see that you’re clear then make your move.
Or how about approaching a corner? Turn your head and assess your position and other vehicles around before proceeding.
Learning to pay extra attention to your surroundings will keep you much safer.
Take A Riding Safety Course
You can also sharpen your motorcycling skills by taking a riding course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers safety courses all around the country. You can learn basic or advanced riding skills along with emergency moves.
MSF courses will cost you about $350. However, your insurance may cover some of the cost. The more informed you are as a rider the safer you’ll be.
Motorcycling insurance is another smart investment for riding lovers. If you have a crash, you don’t want to have pay to wazoo. Insurance will allow you to ride peacefully knowing your covered if anything happens.
Check The Weather
Icy or wet roads can increase your chances of having a motorcycle. So check the forecast before hitting the road.
Slippery roads can increase the chances of you making a mistake. And rain or fog can create dangerous visibility situations. You should also avoid riding in strong winds.
Sometimes getting caught in the rain is unavoidable. Remember that the most dangerous time is just after the water hits the ground. Go easy on your brakes to prevent sliding.
Be aware of slippery patches of sand or gravel – try to avoid if possible.
Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents happen because of other vehicles not seeing motorcyclists. So motorcyclists have to drive defensively to keep themselves as safe as possible.
Let’s go over a few defensive motorcycle driving safety tips:
- Try to keep at least 20 feet between you and other When riding in a group and there is oncoming traffic, be sure and let them know how many riders are behind you.
- Avoid riding next to trucks. They can cause wind turbulence and block other drivers view of you. When you pass a truck try to get in their mirror so that they can see you.
- Drivers of other vehicles can be distracted by many things. This is why you should assume that they cannot see you. Act as if they can only see in front of them.
So stay out of blind spots, and always be prepared for someone to change lanes.
Motorcycling can be a fantastic experience for enthusiasts. While it comes with risks, many riders enjoy their hobby accident-free. The trick is to be educated on safety measures and to implement them into your riding routine.
Another key is always staying in a mindset of learning. Each ride that you take will be a chance to sharpen your riding skills.
Riding with more experienced riders is another way to steadily improve. Or if you’re a riding pro help newbies along with these life-saving tips.