Motorcycles are fast, and they do look amazing, but they can also be dangerous. In 2018 alone, there were over 4,985 recorded motorcycle fatalities in the United States. Meanwhile, there were over 82,000 motorcycle-related injuries recorded during the same year. This means that out of every 100,000 registered motorcyclists, over 940 were injured.
Zipping around on an engine on two wheels without the protection of a frame or windshield may be inherently risky, but its quite safe if you take the proper precautions.
Here are seven effective and simple methods you can employ to remain safe and sound when you ride your motorcycle.
Always Have Contacts and ID Ready
You need to have an abundance of identification ready whenever you go out on your motorcycle. This will help authorities determine who you are and who to contact in case you are unresponsive or unconscious during an accident. You should also stop relying on your cellphone for contacts as it could be rendered inoperable by a motorcycle accident. Keep a small notebook with the numbers for your emergency contact, the motorcycle accident lawyer of your choice and your insurance provider in the compartment of your motorcycle.
Wear Proper Gear
Because a motorcycle lacks a seat or walls, most of your safety falls on you and the gear you wear. The most important piece of motorcycle wear you should always have is a helmet, including a spare one for any passengers. Riding gloves will help you maintain a firm grip on the handles and long pants, preferably jeans, will protect your legs if you ever skid. A dust mask or similar facial protection will also keep you from inhaling dust kicked up by other vehicles.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
All motorcycles are susceptible to the caprices of the weather, from the largest machines on wheels to the best beginner motorcycles. Rain, wind and snow are already dangerous when people are driving full-sized vehicles, but they are doubly more dangerous to motorcyclists. If the weather is bad enough, you shouldn’t take out your bike at all. Keeping an eye on the weather will also tell you what clothes to wear. For example, cold temperatures can deprive your fingers of feeling, making it harder to control the handles, necessitating thick gloves.
Check Vehicles Before Each Journey
Just like a real steed, your motorcycle needs to be in great condition before you take it out of the garage and unto the street. Perform these checks before you clamber unto your motorcycle:
- See if there are any signs of damage on the tires such as low pressure, cracks or defects.
- Check the oil and gas tanks for any leaks under the motorcycle.
- Test all light, such as headlights, taillights and turning signals if they’re all functional.
- Assess the level of all fluids like coolants and hydraulic fluids.
When you’re on the motorcycle, you should perform the following checks before heading out:
- See if both your bike’s clutch and throttle are working properly.
- The mirrors must all be clean and you should adjust them to provide full views.
- The brakes on the front and back should be firm and keep the motorcycle still when you fully apply them.
- The horn must be loud and operational when used.
Wearing an all-black leather ensemble may seem like the height of cool but it they could decrease your visibility when you ride out at night. Sleepy drivers or drivers in a hurry may not see you if you wear such dark clothing. Instead, you should have at least one article of high-visibility apparel on your person. These brightly colored and reflective materials help drivers spot you from a long way off and hopefully avoid collisions.
Ride on the Defense
Never assume that other vehicles and drivers can see you all the time. Always drive defensively to avoid getting side-swept or hit by other vehicles. Riding defensively means you should always drive with your headlights on at night, staying well away from other drivers’ blind spots and signaling well ahead of time whenever you’re changing directions.
Obey Traffic Regulations
Finally, traffic regulations exist for a reason. Regulations such as recommended speeds, proper gear and the like are there to protect you as much as they do to protect other motorists and pedestrians. While being on a motorcycle can make you feel like the wind, never forget that you should always stick to your lane, stay below high speeds and other rules. This will minimize the chance of you getting into an accident, not to mention run into trouble with law enforcement.
Motorcycles are fun and cool. But without proper precautions, they can turn into wreckage, along with their riders. These safety tips will help you ride the roads with minimal risks.
A high filtration dust mask or similar facial protection will also keep you from inhaling dust kicked up by other vehicles.