It is well-known that riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. Studies have revealed a higher fatality rate per unit of travelled distance compared to automobiles. The risk of being involved in a fatal crash while riding your motorbike is 35 greater than with a passenger car. Third quarters of motorcycle accidents involve a passenger vehicle, and weather is rarely a factor in these accidents. However, it has been found that wearing appropriate gear such as helmets and dedicated garment reduces the risk of being injured in a motorcycle crash. Before riding your two wheels, here are some safety measures you should consider:
1. Invest money in a suitable gear
Don’t wear sandals, a T-shirt, and jeans while riding a motorbike. You’ll understand why as soon as you start riding and deal with wind, debris, and flying bugs. A motorcyclist’s protection gear should consist of a reinforced jacket, full pants, over-the-ankle footwear, gloves, and helmet visor or goggles. There is also motorcycle gear specially designed for riding in warm weather, which provides both protection and ventilation.
Suitable motorcycling gear
2. Wear bright colors
Many accidents are caused by the conspicuity of the motorcycle – drivers of passenger vehicles fail to observe motorcycle until it’s too late. The chances of being involved in an accident are reduced substantially when you wear high visibility colors, such as yellow, orange, or red. Motorcycle headlamps also make the vehicle easier to recognize in traffic.
3. Choose the right model for you
If you have taken a break from driving motorcycles, you should know that today’s models have better performance and are way faster and more powerful than models one or two decades ago. Choose a bike that makes you feel comfortable (you can reach all controls easily and you can rest both your feet flat on the ground) and don’t buy more bike than you can handle.
4. Take safe riding courses
Courses that teach you advanced techniques such as how to react in case of emergency are available through organizations like Motorcycle Safety Foundation. They can cost some money, but in some states you can obtain insurance discount after completing a safety course and the skills you will acquire there can be life-saving.
5. Always put your helmet on
Not wearing a helmet results in a 40 percent higher risk of suffering fatal head injury and you are three times more likely to suffer from brain injuries. The repealing of helmet laws in Texas in Arkansas led to a significant increase in motorcycle fatalities, and it is hard to understand why some motorcycle drivers choose to expose their skull and brain to potential trauma.
6. Look for road hazards
Since motorcycles have less contact with the pavement compared to a car, you can easily slide because of otherwise innocent obstacles, like sand, pebbles, small bumps, or wet leaves. Avoid these obstacles if possible and if it’s too late to do it safely, slow down and use the least possible steering input. Approach these obstacles and railroads to right angle or as close as possible to avoid skidding.
Pair of goggles
7. Avoid riding when the weather is bad
Rain decreases visibility, reduces your tires’ grip on the road, and leaves less margin for error. If you do need to ride when it’s raining, be gentle and avoid making sudden maneuvers.
8. Pay extra attention
Studies have found that in collisions between a car and a motorbike, car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. Unfortunately, many car drivers use the phone and text behind the wheel, which requires you to pay more attention to compensate for their negligence. Cars can get over obstacles on the road more easily in spite of their drivers being inattentive, but that obstacle can be a very serious hazard for someone on a bike.
9. Know your limits
Motorcyclists who rode for decades without suffering from serious harm are not those who have cheated fate, but those who are aware of what is happening around them and put safety first. An excellent idea on how to ride a motorbike safely comes from an experienced trainer: “You start out with a full bag of luck, and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill your bag with experience before your luck runs out.”
10. Learn how to anticipate
An experienced motorcycle will tell you they are constantly paying attention to other traffic participants and try to anticipate their next moves and errors. For instance, if there is a truck at the side of the road, you shouldn’t pass near it carelessly, as it can block your view of incoming pedestrians. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong, but about knowing what you can expect in some potentially-dangerous situations.
When it comes to riding a motorbike, there are two main factors you can control. One is being equipped in a suitable manner (riding gear, safety systems on your motorcycle) – this one makes a small difference – and the other is your riding behavior, which makes the greatest difference of all.