Motorcycles are one of the most popular modes of transportation. But, they’re also one of the most dangerous. Riding a motorcycle exposes you to crash hazards that cars don’t have to cope with, like ruts in the road, potholes, dogs running out at you, plus of course other vehicles. All can and do put you in danger when riding a bike. Here are some tips to help keep you safe while biking around on your motorcycle.
1. Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect yourself while on your bike, which is one of the reasons it is mandatory in the UK and elsewhere. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by an astounding 85%. They also absorb shock and prevent neck injuries, which are common in motorcycle accidents. You do however have to ensure that your helmet is in good condition and that you don’t damage it by applying stickers that weaken the protective outer case.
2. Choose the Right Gear
Riding a bike is dangerous enough without the right clothing. Wearing the right safety gear will make your ride safer. Besides a helmet, donning a pair of good boots, gloves and hard wearing jackets and trousers and other protective clothing will ensure that if you do fall off, that the damage to your person is reduced as far as is possible.
3. Don’t Weave from Lane to Lane
Riding a motorcycle does give you unprecedented ability to change lanes and slice through busy traffic. However, doing this all of the time increases your risk of being knocked off, perhaps simply by a car driver opening their door.
It’s all about being aware of what is going on about you. For instance, when you are driving alongside a car make sure you are not in their blind spot and never drift into the next lane. Plus, when overtaking, it’s vital to check for oncoming traffic before attempting the manoeuvre. The same going when changing lanes, as you have to make sure that there is no traffic coming up from behind you.
4. Keep Your Distance
One of the best ways to keep safe on a motorcycle is to avoid getting too close to other vehicles. When you’re riding, make sure you have enough space between you and the cars in front of you. This will ensure that if they stop suddenly, you’ll have enough time to react and avoid crashing into them. You should also give yourself plenty of space when passing another vehicle and always maintain your lane position.
5. Ride Only at Appropriate Speeds
Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating. You will want to go fast. But you also need to ride at speeds that are appropriate and therefore safer. Ride too slow and you’ll never get anywhere, but if you’re traveling too fast, the risk of colliding with hazards increases exponentially. Don’t forget that you’re much more vulnerable while on a motorcycle than in a car, so be sure to adjust your speed accordingly.
6. Use Your Headlights
One of the most dangerous parts of riding a motorcycle is visibility. Due to the profile of your bike, other road users can’t see you as easily as you can see them. So, make sure to keep your headlight turned on in order to avoid being seen by other vehicles.
7. Be Visible to Other Drivers
Besides using your headlights, you can increase your chances of being seen by wearing high visibility clothing. You should also make sure to check over your shoulder and monitor the traffic in front, behind and all around you at frequent intervals. This will help you avoid cars that may not see you coming or pedestrians crossing the street without looking.
8. Choose your routes with care
Another way to stay safe is by staying off of busy streets, especially in cities where there are lots of people walking around who are distracted on their phones or by other obstacles. You want to be able to see what’s going on around you when bike riding, so it’s best to avoid these areas altogether if you can.
9. Don’t drive when unwell or tired
Also, try not get on a motorcycle when you’re feeling tired or unwell, as both of these factors will impair your ability to monitor the road and traffic conditions to the level required for safety.
10. Make sure your motorbike is in good working order
Lastly, make sure that your bike is always in good working order before getting on it and driving off! This includes things like the tension of the chain, that the headlights are clean and working, and perhaps, most importantly, that your tires are properly inflated, undamaged, and are the right type for the surface you will be riding on. (By the way, for more info on tires, please see Sticky-stuff.co.uk.
11. Ride with Company if Possible
Riding with company is one of the easiest ways to stay safe. The more people you ride with, the less likely you are to be in a crash, one of the major reasons being that as a group you are that much more visible. Riding with more than one person also means that if one bike crashes, there’s another biker ready to help them.
12. Stay Aware and Alert
Ensuring that you follow all the tips laid out above will increase your safety levels, but of all of them, the most important things you can do to stay safe when riding a motorcycle is to remain alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Always be aware of what is happening on the road and if anything unexpected occurs, get off the road as quickly as possible.
Riding a motorcycle is a fun and exhilarating experience, but it’s also a dangerous activity. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injury in the event of a crash or collision than drivers of other vehicles. That’s why it’s important to follow these 12 tips to stay safe on the road.