Motorcycle accidents have a staggering 80% injury or death rate, compared to 20% for cars. And the chances of fatality in a motorcycle accident are 30 times higher than in a car accident.
Yes, riding a motorcycle with the wind blowing through your hair is so much more fun than riding in a box-like car, but there’s a lot more you need to do when riding a motorcycle to stay safe on the roads. It’s not just about motorcycle safety gear, but also about your riding habits.
Keep reading to find out more about motorcycle safety in the article below.
1. Don’t Ride a Bike That’s Bigger Than Your Comfort Level
There’s no need to pretend that you are cooler than you actually are. If you are riding with a group of people who have bigger bikes than you, don’t upgrade yourself if you aren’t comfortable riding a big bike. It’s just going to make you look foolish when you get into an accident or aren’t able to control the big bike as well as you would like.
Always ride the bike around in a parking lot or somewhere without too many cars to gauge how comfortable you feel with it. Only once you feel solid on it should you move onto the main roads and highways.
2. Don’t Take Passengers if You Aren’t Comfortable
Two can be a crowd if you aren’t comfortable having a passenger on your motorcycle yet. Having someone else on the back of your motorcycle will require you to balance and drive in a very different fashion, and that needs practice.
If you aren’t comfortable yet, don’t go on a long ride on a main highway with a passenger, putting their life and yours in danger.
Also, all passengers that ride with you must have their safety gear on as much as you do. That means a DOT-approved helmet is a must, no matter how much they complain that it ruins their hair or doesn’t look fashionable.
And if possible, have them in a motorcycle jacket, proper riding pants, gloves, and goggles (if the helmet is open-faced). Also, they should be wearing the proper shoes for riding, not Converse sneakers or high heels.
3. Don’t Go Without Motorcycle Safety Gear
It’s so easy to think to yourself, “I’m just going to ride down the road; I can just ride in my sandals, and shorts, and go without a helmet.”
But that’s typically when accidents occur – when you aren’t prepared for them.
Always wear a helmet no matter how far you have to ride, and do not drive without proper safety gear (jacket, pants, shoes, gloves, and goggles).
Too many motorcycle drivers have discovered just how much it hurts to be in an accident while wearing shorts. Even jeans don’t give enough protection from all the scrapes and bruises that occur in a motorcycle accident.
All passengers, even if they are children, need to be wearing helmets and safety gear as well.
4. Don’t Ride in Bad Weather Conditions
Always check the weather forecast before you go out riding. It’s dangerous enough for cars to be driving around in heavy snow or rain conditions, but with a motorcycle, that danger is magnified.
The roads can become quite slippery during a rain or snowstorm. If possible, you should avoid riding in such weather.
Not only is that but visibility greatly reduced for a motorcycle rider in such weather conditions. You won’t be able to see properly when raindrops are pelting your helmet at 30 or 50 miles per hour.
Can’t avoid it? Then make sure you drive slowly, wear your safety gear, and stay alert.
If the rain or snow gets heavier and your visibility reduces to zero, pull to the side of the road as safely as you can or move off the highway onto the smaller roads. Safety comes first.
5. Don’t Weave in and Out of Traffic
When you are riding a motorcycle, you will be enamored with the freedom it affords you. No longer are you encumbered by the bulkiness of an automobile.
If you have seen videos of folks riding motorcycles in Asian countries, you might have seen them weaving in and out of traffic, riding on sidewalks, and squeezing in between cars to get ahead.
What they don’t show you is that the fatality and accident rates for motorcycle drivers in these countries are also very high!
Don’t risk your life unnecessarily. Just because you are riding a motorcycle, this doesn’t mean that the traffic rules don’t apply to you.
Make sure you stay in your lane, don’t overtake cars without ample space, and keep your distance from the heavy trucks and Lorries.
6. Don’t Forget to Check Your Blind Spots
Even a tiny vehicle like a motorcycle has a blind spot, albeit small. So you will want to use your head, that is, turn your head to check your blind spot before moving into another lane or turning into a side road.
Watch out for pedestrians, especially at night, who might not be expecting a motorcycle and step onto the road right in front of you.
Also, watch the road closely when you are riding. Small things like gravel on the road or a small obstruction might not affect a car as much. The car might pass over it without any notice.
But for a motorcycle, these little things can turn out to be quite dangerous. Gravel on the road will destabilize your bike and could result in sliding or skidding.
Make sure you keep an eye on the road, as much as you keep an eye on all the vehicles around you. Remember that most American drivers aren’t used to having motorcycles on the road, so they won’t pay as much attention to you as they would other vehicles.
If you are in their blind spot, they might not see you and drive into you without realizing it. This would result in a minor accident for them, but a major one for you, since a motorcycle is so much more unstable than a car.
It’s your prerogative to stay as alert as possible because you are the most vulnerable one here.
7. Don’t Drink and Drive (or Do Drugs and Drive)
This point is a given, and it applies to all drivers, not just motorcycle riders. But as you might imagine, riding a motorcycle requires an intense level of concentration and alertness.
And if you drink or do drugs before riding, not only is it illegal to do so, but it will deteriorate your motorcycle riding skills a lot, making it more likely you get into a fatal or injury-inducing accident.
Even if its small distances, do not do it! If you get caught with alcohol in your system or drugs when riding a motorcycle and/or get into an accident, you will want to get motorcycle accident legal representation asap. You don’t want to lose your license or worse go to jail, because of this infraction. It could ruin the rest of your life, if not properly handled.
8. Don’t Ride Too Close to the Vehicle in Front
If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, then you will want to give even more space to the vehicles in front of you. Don’t skimp on this though and upgrade to anti-locking brakes if possible.
This could help reduce the chances of you getting into a fatal or injury-causing accident. It will also keep you safe when road conditions are less than ideal, like during a snow or rain storm.
Sometimes you have to stop suddenly. But if you leave enough space between you and the other vehicles and watch the traffic conditions around you like a hawk, then you should be safe from any unpleasant accidents or related incidents.
Motorcycle Safety Starts With the Basics
Once you have motorcycle safety gear on, you are 50% there. Following the other tips laid out above will ensure you stay safe while riding your motorcycle around on the busy streets or highways of America.
No matter how long you have been riding a motorcycle, you will want to stay safe on the road by following all motorcycle safety laws. Don’t get complacent, because that’s when tragedy usually strikes.
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