Despite motorcycles being such a small part of road traffic, they have been known to account for almost 14% of all road fatalities. Very often, this is down to collisions with other vehicles that are often not the motorcyclist's fault. If you are a motorcycle driver, it is imperative you know how to stay safe.
While we all want to have fun on our ride, a few hints can keep you from an accident. Read on as we give our 7 tips on motorcycle safety.
1. Wear a Helmet
The first and most obvious tip is to wear a helmet. Even a crash or fall at low speeds can be serious if you suffer a head injury, or even cause permanent damage. You should make sure that the helmet is DOT approved.
Not all helmets are created equal. You should make sure you have one with a chin guard. This protects your teeth and jaw should you come off the bike and hit something at high speed.
You should also make sure that it has full-face protection. This can stop any debris and detritus from the road or crashes hitting you in the face. It also protects your eyes in the event of a crash or when driving.
2. Wear the Right Gear
One of the best safety tips is to invest in the correct motorcycle gear. This equipment is not just created to sell a product. It is tested protective clothing that helps shield your body in the event of a crash.
Protect your hands with leather motorcycle gloves. You should also wear some sort of eye protection, such as goggles.
Your body should be protected by leather. Reinforced pants, jackets, and boots are available. They are heavily padded at the points most likely to get scraped if you come off the bike, such as the knees and elbows.
3. Check Your Motorcycle
Before you ride, you should check that your motorcycle is ready for the road. Even with limited knowledge of mechanics, you can perform routine checks that may prevent a motorcycle accident.
Start by checking the tires. The manufacturer should have give you guidance on the correct PSI to keep them at. If you do not have it, check online.
Once you have done this, check that they are in good condition. They should have adequate tread and contain no tears or bulges in the tire wall.
Next, check the hydraulic and coolant fluid levels. These should be maintained weekly. Look under the vehicle and make sure that there are no oil and gas leaks.
Finally, check signals and lights are working. Headlights and taillights should be checked so that both high and low beams work consistently.
4. Check the Operation
Once you start the motorcycle and before you take it on the open road, perform a few more checks. The first is the clutch and the throttle. When released, the throttle should snap back.
Do a test of both front and rear brakes. They should hold the motorcycle firmly. Then check the horn and clean any mirrors and adjust for maximum visibility.
5. Stay In the Comfort Zone
Firstly, know your motorcycle and be comfortable with it. You should not ride a vehicle that is too powerful for you or exceeds your level of experience. It should also be the right size, allowing your feet to rest flat on the ground.
You should be able to easily get on and off the motorcycle. The handlebars should be easy for you to reach, or you risk losing control and causing a motorcycle accident.
Finally, make sure you know the route. It should be easy for you to handle and the turns and twists should be relative to your level of experience. If you are riding with a group, do not feel like you have to keep up with them if they are going at high speeds.
6. Ride Defensively
To avoid a motorcycle crash, you should try to get into the mindset of defensive driving. Riding defensively is taking actions that assume the other drivers can not see you. You can take a course in defensive motorcycle driving which may bring down your insurance premiums.
Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility. Make any signaling well in advance of a turn. Keep an eye out for turning vehicles that may have not spotted you and always stay out of a driver's blind spot.
7. Be Legal
Finally, make sure all of your legal arrangements for riding are in place. Start by keeping your license and identification in a safe place. You should then check to make sure you have the necessary insurance ready before heading out.
It may help to keep the number of a motorcycle attorney on your person in advance, in case any accidents do occur. Visit this page to find an experienced, trustworthy lawyer to represent you.
Make sure you are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs when driving. If you have prescription medication, make sure you are allowed to drive when taking it. Always ensure you are alert and have had enough sleep.
Maintain Motorcycle Safety
The key to ensuring motorcycle safety is not to let it slip It can be tempting to go out in your jeans and t-shirt or even skip that weekly maintenance check. However, that is when the most serious accidents occur.
If you liked our article, then we have many more. Visit the rest of our blog for advice on everything from road safety to travel, so we can keep you safe on your journey!