10 Motorcycle Safety Tips
Motorcycles are exciting. They travel just as fast as cars, yet they don’t have an exterior frame to absorb crash forces which makes them much more dangerous. Motorcyclists represent 4486 of the lives lost on this nation’s roads. They are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than those in a car. To help decrease this number here are some universal safety tips for safe riding.
- Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
In most states, if you’re going to get a motorcycle license, you need to take a skills test. In many states, you also have to take a motorcycle safety class. Even if your state doesn’t require you to take a motorcycle safety course, you should.
- Wear the Right Protection
Since a motorcycle offers little protection in a crash, what riders wear is part of the crash protection system. The right shoes are also important to riding safely. To shift gears on a bike, you lift up with your toes – so open-toed shoes can become painful fast. Plus, when you’re riding a bike, you’re sitting on the engine and exhaust system, which get hot. It’s easy to burn your feet. When riding a motorcycle, you want study shoes.
- Ride Within Your Skill Level
Riding a motorcycle is a skill, and like all skills, it’s something that you need to develop. While you may be fine to go on an easy cruise around town, it takes time to grow the skills you need to be an expert rider. Make sure that you always ride within your skill level.
- Avoid Distraction
We all know distracted driving is a bad idea, but its worse when you’re riding a bike. One of the keys to staying safe on a motorcycle is staying hyper-aware of everything that’s going on around you. Remember, motorcycles are tough for drivers to see –especially drivers in large cars or SUVs.
- Keep Your Distance
One of the biggest mistakes drivers and motorcycle riders make is not leaving enough stopping distance for bikes. While it’s true that since bikes are smaller and lighter than cars, they need less space to stop and maneuver, they still need more than you might think. Leave a generous following distance between your bike and the vehicle in front of you.
- Avoid Bad Weather
When you’re preparing to go for a ride, check the weather. Because they aren’t as stable as cars, riding a bike in the rain is much riskier than driving a car. Without windshield wipers, your visibility is compromised.
- Teach Your Passengers
Your passenger has a part to play in keeping both of you safe. Teach them how to be a good passenger.
- Drive Defensively
In most motorcycle accidents the car was at fault. Therefore, the motorcyclist needs to be extra alert. Watch for cars suddenly changing lanes and drivers talking on their cell phones. Look twice before changing lanes, and always check your blind spot. Never assume that a driver sees you.
- Don’t Drink and Drive & Don’t Speed
Of the 4486 motorcyclist who were killed on America’s roads, 1232 were alcohol impaired. Just as with cars, there is no reason to drink and drive. Although riding motorcycle allows for a sense of freedom and connecting with the open road, speeding is not a positive factor that should be added to the mix. Thirty-four percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents were speeding.
- Wear a Helmet
Riders without a helmet are 40 times more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and 3 times more likely to suffer brain injuries than those with helmets. Therefore, the most important thing you can do to stay safe on a motorcycle is wear a helmet.