10 Essential Tips for Motorcycle Safety
There are many reasons why people choose to ride a motorcycle rather than driving a car. For some, the thrill and excitement of the experience simply can’t be beaten, for others, the cost and efficiency advantages of motorcycles make them far more appealing than bigger vehicles like cars and SUVs.
Regardless of the reasoning behind it, statistics show that more and more people are buying and riding motorcycles all across the United States. Each one of them has their own reasons for this decision, but each one of them must, unfortunately, face the simple but proven fact that bikes tend to be one of the most dangerous forms of personal transportation.
Reports show that motorcyclists, on average, are up to 28 times more likely to die in road accidents than those driving or riding in cars and other vehicles. Statistics also show that countless motorcyclists end up in accidents each and every year, and far too many of them suffer life-altering injuries in the process.
However, even knowing the risks and dangers, many people still make the choice to ride a bike and should feel free to do so. After all, there are still countless motorcyclists out there who ride miles and miles every day without any incidents at all. To help you have safe and pleasant rides, here are some top tips every biker needs to know.
Wear a Helmet
One of the worst possible injuries you can suffer as a motorcyclist is a brain injury. Unfortunately, these kinds of injuries are frighteningly common, as riders are often thrown from their bikes into other vehicles or onto the road ahead when collisions occur.
Helmets are the first line of defense against these kinds of injuries, and reports show that helmets can help to save 1,800 rider lives every single year. Make sure you wear a helmet every time you ride and make sure it fits properly and doesn’t have any cracks.
Additional Safety Gear
Helmets are undoubtedly the most important part of a rider’s safety arsenal, but they’re not the only protective accessory you need to own and wear when you ride.
Motorcyclists should also consider gloves, strong leather attire, crash bars that can help to reduce the risks of serious injuries when accidents occur, visors and sunglasses to aid with visibility, and so on.
It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you’re operating, it’s never a good idea to let yourself get distracted. Unfortunately, a lot of drivers and riders do make this mistake, leading to thousands of accidents every year.
Don’t give in to distractions; keep your hands on the handlebars and your eyes focused on the road ahead to keep yourself and others safe.
Check the Forecast
Another factor that can make you more likely to have an accident while riding your motorcycle is the weather, and it can be much harder to control your bike on wet, icy, slippery roads or in low visibility conditions due to mist or storms.
Checking the forecast before you set off, especially ahead of long journeys, can make a real difference and allow you to be better prepared for any elemental hazards that might be lying ahead.
Follow Your Gut
It might sound like a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth to the concept of following your gut or trusting your instincts, especially when you’re out on the open road and trying to keep yourself as safe as possible.
The human body has a natural instinct for survival and self-preservation, and if you get a bad feeling about a situation, there’s probably a good reason behind it. Trust yourself and follow your instincts when worrying situations arise.
Over time, it’s only natural that the skills and knowledge we learned in the past can start to fade away a little, and we might find ourselves in need of a refresher course to bring back some of that knowledge.
A lot of older motorcyclists choose to take these kinds of courses as a way to keep their skills sharp and remain up to date with the latest defensive driving techniques.
Following on from the previous point, defensive driving skills and techniques are important to any kind of driver, but hold special significance when it comes to motorcycles.
What do we mean by defensive driving? Well, the term can be used to describe a wide range of techniques and methods that drivers or riders can use to keep themselves safe and reduce the risks of accidents.
Always Be Alert
Above all else, one of the top tips you need to keep in mind when riding your motorcycle is staying alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
Threats and dangers can present themselves at a moment’s notice, and you need to be on the lookout to spot those dangers – like potholes or pedestrians walking out from behind parked cars – as quickly as you can.
Don’t forget to keep your motorcycle in good condition too, as a lot of accidents can be caused by little faults and failures with your bike that interfere with its performance on the road.
A faulty headlight can make it harder for other road users to see you in dimly lit conditions, while weak brakes might make it impossible for you to stop in time to avoid a crash.
Indeed, brake maintenance is something that many motorcyclists overlook nowadays. This is in part because they are so reliable today and have come a long way from traditional drum brakes which were both horribly prone to fading when hot and afraid of water. So, the next time you hit the roads, make sure to take a few minutes to check if your brakes are on the way out.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Breaks
One of the most essential parts of safe riding is knowing when it’s time to take a breather. If you’ve been riding for a while and can feel fatigue setting in, don’t just keep on going.
Pull over safely and give yourself a little rest. This can be so important for motorcyclists, as keeping control of your bike and looking out for dangers around you can be very tiring, both for your body and your mind.
Motorcycles can be such a thrill to ride, but it’s vital for every rider to acknowledge the risks they run every time they take to the road. Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself and others.