by Zoe Zorka
Motorcyclists are amongst all motorists the most likely to get into a fatal accident the longer that they drive. This is, in part, due to the lack of a protective metal frame around you, due to the fact that other drivers find it easy to miss or underestimate bikers on the road, and often due to plain bad decision making by those on the bike. Whatever the causes, you’re more vulnerable on the road so you should be doing every more to ensure your own safety.
Ensure that you’re comfortable
This is one important tip that would-be bikers need to be taught. If you can’t get on a bike without feeling nervous, aren’t prepared to do your due diligence to ensure your safety, or simply don’t feel comfortable physically with the bike, then maybe you shouldn’t be biking in the first place. Of course, sometimes the rider isn’t the issue, sometimes the bike is, at least when it comes to physical comfort. Make sure you’re choosing a vehicle that’s appropriately sized for you, one that you can rest on and keep your foot reaching the ground, and one that allows you to reach the handlebars without feeling like you’re overextending yourself. Simply don’t ride a bike that you don’t feel comfortable sitting on.
Visibility is key
Perhaps the biggest problem facing motorcyclists is other drivers. This isn’t to take any of the responsibility off of bikers, however. As slender as they are, as low a profile as bikes have on the road, they are very easy to miss. They can easily fit into a blind spot. It’s your responsibility to be aware of the fact that you’re harder to spot, just as it’s the other driver’s responsibility to be aware of what’s around them. Besides learning some defensive driving techniques, the best way to avoid the risk of being invisible is to make you and your bike more visible, as Rideapart goes into, in detail. If you’re easier to see, it’s easier for other drivers to treat you with caution and respect for your safety.
Invest in the right gear
If you’re following the rest of the tips here, you’re not going to be immune from accidents. You will be less likely to get into them and they are likely to be less serious if they do happen. But you should always prepare for that eventuality, anyway. As such, you should invest in gear that can better protect your body is such a spill does happen. As they say, you don’t dress for the ride, you dress for the slide. Helmets to offer some cushioning against trauma is obvious, but the riding leathers that you wear are just as important. The friction between your body and the road if you spill off the bike can cause some gruesome damage, which proper riding gear can take the brunt of in your stead.
Invest in the proper maintenance
Naturally, making sure that your bike is in as best as condition as possible is essential. As soon as you experience any new difficult or catch a new sound or sensation that you’re unfamiliar with, you should have it checked as soon as possible. Any small issue affecting your braking, steering, or suspension can get you in real trouble on the road. Find a good source of replacement parts that you can rely on, like Solo Moto, and you will be able to make the necessary repairs and replacements much more quickly. It is also likely to be cheaper to source your own parts rather than to pay a garage to do it for you. They might not be entirely against marking up those prices, after all.
Be awake and be aware
Your ability to maintain your focus and awareness on the road is crucial. Though it should be common knowledge by now, it’s still a very widespread problem, so we should make note of the fact that you should never drive a motorcycle after drinking. Regardless of what the legal limit is, one drink is enough to impact your reaction times on the road. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous, too. Avoiding driving late at night when possible and, if you’re on a road trip, make sure that you schedule in enough stops to get some shut eye.
As mentioned, motorcyclists are at more risk on the road compared to other motorists. Not only are they harder to see, but they take the lion’s share of the impact and damage in collisions due to their small size. Even if you have already earned your license, you should consider advanced motorcycle safety courses like those from Safety Serve. This way, you can learn about defensive driving, which teaches you to be mindful of others on the road around you, to anticipate the ways in which they might be a danger to you, and to have a plan on how to mitigate that danger. For motorcyclists, this means even being aware of stationary cars, as a sudden door opening is a very common cause of accidents.
Make sure your buddies know their role
Too many accidents are caused by bike passengers who underestimate just how much their actions can impact the control that the rider has over the vehicle. You might want to show off to a friend or rely on one of the most surefire seduction accessories around, but you should make sure they know how to stay safe and keep you safe while on your bike. Instructables shows a range of different lessons that you should teach every passenger that intends to get on the back of the bike. It may be incredibly fun and exhilarating, but it’s not a place to play or mess around. Not if everyone wants to stay safe and whole.
Riding a motorcycle is undoubtedly thrilling, undoubtedly exciting, but you don’t want that sense of danger to become real even for a second. Follow the tips above closely and, if you can’t, consider getting another hobby before you put yourself in serious danger.