There’s no better time for motorcycle riding than the fall season. The leaves change, and you can feel the chill in the air. It’s time to get your heavy boots and leather jacket out of the closet.
While you feel free rolling down city streets or backcountry lanes on your motorcycle, you should also think about safety. Motorcycles are not the safest vehicles, but you’ll make an accident less likely if you’re cautious and follow traffic laws.
Here are ways to stay safe on your motorcycle this fall.
1. Wear a Helmet
As lawyers Viles and Beckman say about motorcycle riding, “It’s a sense of freedom you won’t get from even the sportiest car.” That’s definitely true, but a little danger comes with that freedom.
That’s why you should wear a helmet, regardless of your state’s helmet laws. That’s because:
- You have a much higher survival chance if you’re wearing a helmet and wreck your motorcycle
- Motorcycle wrecks often involve concussions and other head injuries
The most hardcore biker still needs a helmet. You can get one with flames and a skull on it if you want to make a fashion statement, just so long as you get one that protects you and fits well.
2. Ride in a Group
It’s also safer if you can get some friends and ride together. It probably won’t be difficult to find some individuals who share your hobby.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with solo riding, except that:
- If you fall off your motorcycle, there might not be someone there to call for help
- You might feel lonely out there by yourself.
If you’re part of a group, the others might save your life if anything goes wrong. They can get medical attention quickly, which can be the difference if another vehicle hits you or runs you off the road. Some drivers don’t respect motorcycle riders as much as they should, so these things do happen.
3. Think Twice About Night Riding
It’s fun to think about your headlight cutting through the darkness, but it’s much safer to go motorcycle riding during the daytime. Some vehicles can’t see you as well when it’s pitch black. It’s also more dangerous if you’re out in the country somewhere, and there are few or no streetlights.
Day riding is the better option, and your family will probably agree. Likely your kids, spouse, or significant other will feel better about you going for a ride if they know that it’s at least still daylight when you do it.
4. Watch the Weather
You should also try to avoid riding when it’s raining heavily, snowing, or foggy. Any conditions like that make it much more perilous for you.
If there’s fog, then other drivers can’t see you as well, nor can you see them. If it’s raining or snowing, then you can easily slide and fall off. You have better survival chances if you’re wearing a helmet and pads.
However, it’s still better to wait until nice weather before going on a ride unless you have to get somewhere urgently, and you have no other transportation options.
5. Watch Out for Animals
In some parts of the country, many different animals are active in the fall. They range in size from squirrels and raccoons to larger forest dwellers like deer. A fully-grown buck can easily be upwards of 150 pounds. If you hit one, then that’s likely a deadly situation for you and the animal.
If you’re riding in a major metropolis, then you probably have little to fear except for maybe the occasional stray dog or cat. If you get out in the backcountry, though, keep your eyes peeled. You don’t want to harm any animals, and you don’t want them to hurt you either.
Hitting a deer or coyote at top speed or swerving to avoid one is something that every rider fears.
6. Bring Your Smartphone
Whether you ride alone or with friends, it’s sensible to bring your smartphone along. If you get in an accident, and there’s no one with you, then you might still be able to call for help using it. Smartphones also have GPS tracking, so your family can find you if you go missing.
If you’re with other riders, and one of them gets in an accident or has some other kind of trouble, then you can call or text for help. This is one area where technology is potentially useful, so stick your phone in your jacket pocket when heading out for a ride.
7. Wear Some Additional Padding
Every motorcycle rider should wear a helmet, but you might also want to look at some of the gear that’s available now. For instance, there are padded jackets, knee pads, and shoulder pads.
You might not want to leave your residence looking like a crash test dummy, but there’s nothing wrong with a little additional protection. Your family will probably be glad that you’re taking steps to protect yourself.
Motorcycle riding might make them nervous anyway, so this is an excellent way to show them that you’re attempting to take care of yourself.
8. Watch Out for Traffic Around You
As a motorcycle rider, vehicles around you should afford you the same rights and privileges that cars and trucks get. They should give you the right of way when it’s yours and not tailgate you.
However, some drivers don’t give bikers the respect they deserve. That’s unfortunate, but it’s also reality.
You should be wary if you’re in traffic in a busy city or on the highway. Know that if you get too close to other vehicles, they might not see you if you’re in a blind spot, and they’re not paying attention.
It’s best to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, especially ones like eighteen-wheel trucks that are so much bigger than you. You’d hope that they see and acknowledge you, but you can never be one hundred percent sure.
Have fun riding this fall, and keep the safety tips we mentioned in mind.