Operating a motorcycle is not as easy as riding a bike. There are different laws, risks, and skillsets needed to safely and properly ride. A combination of these three things can go a long way in helping reduce the amount of fatalities involved in motorcycle accidents on a yearly basis. In fact, statistics have shown that a motorcyclist involved in an accident is 27 times more likely to die than someone driving a car. And while you can’t avoid all dangerous situations, you can take the steps to have a safe motorcycle experience. That’s why we’ve compiled 15 safety guides for motorcyclists to help you minimize dangerous situations and enjoy your time on the road.
1. Always wear protective gear: Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect against severe head injuries and other protective gear (like gloves, a jacket, etc.) will minimize the amount of injuries in case of an accident or a skid.
2. Ride defensively: Don't assume that a driver can see you! Nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider's right of way.
3. Take a motorcycle safety course: It can be overwhelming to understand how to control you bike and handle the dangers of traffic. Rather than trying to learn as you go, try taking a riding course to help perfect your riding skills before you hit the open road.
4. Ride according to your skills and ability: Don’t push yourself if you don’t feel comfortable. While some roads may look easy, riders require a lot of practice before they can take on challenging turns safely.
5. Conduct a pre-ride inspection: Before getting on your bike, check you tires, under the motorcycle (for signs of a leak), headlight, taillight, and signals, and your hydraulic and coolant fluids (these should be checked weekly). After mounting your bike, check your clutch & throttle (make sure they are working smoothly), mirrors, brakes, and horn.
6. Avoid bad weather: The dangers of icy or wet roads multiply when you're on two wheels. If rain, snow, or ice is forecasted, take a different mode of transportation.
7. Educate your passenger: There are certain safety rules that the passenger must be aware of. Make sure you tell them how to behave while on the road so as not to distract you.
8. Respect all traffic laws on the road: Most of the accidents that occur on roads are the result of reckless driving and disregard of traffic rules.
9. Install anti-lock brakes on your bike: They is an obvious advantage for stopping your bike sooner with more control.
10. Keep a tool kit and first-aid kit on your motorcycle: While storage is limited on a motorcycle, having a small tool pouch and basic first aid kit can really save you on a ride. Tools kept should be small wrenches in common sizes your motorcycle uses.
11. Make yourself visible: The key to riding safe is your visibility. Headlight and high-visibility gear like jackets with reflective patches can warn vehicles of your presence.
12. Watch out for road hazards: One way to recognize objects in your path is to watch vehicles ahead of you. Do they swerve to avoid something, do they change position in the lane?
13. Maintain your bike: This goes together with Safety Tip #5. Never ride your bike if there are leaking fluids or if any parts are missing or inoperable.
14. Never share a lane: Never pass a car in their lane. This is extremely dangerous and against the law.
15. Always be prepared to stop or get off the road: If a car does pull into you, have an escape plan.