Here’s a fact: motorcycles are more dangerous than four-wheel vehicles. You are more likely to encounter an accident riding a motorcycle than riding a car. Fatalities and severity of injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash are also generally worse than in car crashes.
According to a report from the Institute Insurance for Highway Safety, or IIHS, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to encounter fatality than those driving in a car. According to the same report, around half of reported motorcycle deaths are due to a single-vehicle crash.
However, this does not mean that you cannot do anything about it. Most of the accidents are avoidable. This is because most of the accidents are human error. In fact, 42% of motorcycle fatalities have alcohol as a factor; while 48% involved overspeeding. What does this say? It means that you can efficiently reduce the risk by being more cautious and careful as a driver.
Here are some safety tips to follow:
- Take a motorcycle riding course.
If you are a new rider, this is highly important for you. Start with the motorcycle written test that teaches the essential rules and helps you practise for your learner licence. A motorcycle safety course will not only help you learn the basics of riding a motorcycle. More importantly, you will learn emergency maneuvers and other safe-riding tips.
- Find the right motorcycle for you.
You must drive a motorcycle that you find comfortable riding. This means that the motorcycle you should be using fits you, according to your height and build. For example, make sure that you will be able to sit comfortably with your both feet touching the ground without tiptoeing. The controls and handlebars must be comfortably within your reach.
- Always wear a helmet.
This is a must. A full-face helmet can save you from suffering from traumatic brain injuries or other injuries that can be fatal. Research shows that those who don’t wear a helmet are 40% more like to die from a fatal head injury in case of a crash. It’s also important that you replace your helmet once every five years.
- Wear proper gear.
Aside from a helmet, you must also wear proper riding gear. These include reinforced jacket, long pats, gloves, and boots. If your helmet is not full-face, we advise that you also wear goggles or helmet visor. Always wear gloves. Even on a hot day. The car in front of you may throw up a stone that hits your fingers. Also, bare hands cannot withstand abrasion in the event of a fall. You should also invest in anti-lock brakes.
- Maintain your motorcycle.
Don’t ride out if your motorcycle is not in great shape. Make sure that everything is working fine: brakes, tires, brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and horns. Should something be wrong with your motorcycle, it will be in your best interest to find out prior to hitting the road. To make sure that your motorcycle is in good working order, check the following:
- Tires: Check for any cracks or bulges, or signs of wear in the treads (low tire pressure or any defects could cause a blowout)
- Under the motorcycle: Look for signs of oil or gas leaks
- Headlight, taillight and signals: Test for high and low beams (make sure that all lights are functioning)
- Hydraulic and Coolant fluids: Level should be checked weekly
Once you’ve mounted the motorcycle, complete the following checks:
- Clutch and throttle: Make sure they are working smoothly (throttle should snap back when released)
- Mirrors: Clean and adjust all mirrors to ensure sharpest viewing
- Brakes: Test front and rear brakes (each brake should feel firm and hold the motorcycle still when fully applied)
- Horn: Test the horn.
- Be awake and ride sober.
Don’t drink and ride, you could cause harm to yourself and others. More than 40 percent of motorcycle riders who die in single-vehicle crashes are alcohol-impaired. Additionally, fatigue and drowsiness can impair your ability to react, so make sure that you are well rested when you hit the road. Staying sober and observing the speed limit go a long way to ensuring you’ll arrive safely at your destination.
- Be visible.
You cannot assume you are visible to other drivers. According to The Hurt Report published by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in 1981, 75% of accidents involving motorcycles are due to the fact that other drivers did not see the motorcycle. Here are some ways to remain visible: Avoid other drivers’ blind spots; Drive with your headlights on even during the day; Wear reflective or bright clothing, and; always use your turn signals and hand signals.
- Be cautious when riding.
Always watch out for cars and be ready to quickly and safely maneuver when a car goes your way. This is because car drivers are in most cases the ones at fault in collisions between motorcycles and cars. It pays to be alert when riding a motorcycle. You must also watch out for potholes, bumps, debris, wet leaves, sand, oil spills, rocks, and other hazards that may jeopardize your safety. Don’t ride out when it’s raining or snowing. The roads may be very slippery.
We hope this list gives you some great tips for your next road trip and it proves to be adventurous and safe. Just be a responsible rider and follow these motorcycle safety tips. Ride safe.
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