Riding your motorcycle can be a fun and thrilling experience, but remember that it can also be quite dangerous. Riders can get involved in dangerous accidents without proper precautions and appropriate motorcycle gear. If you’re looking to improve your motorcycle safety, here are a few tips to remember.
Attend a Safety Course
A safety course takes new riders through the basics like rules that motorcycle riders should follow on the road. Instructors will also advise you on what you should do in unpredictable road conditions.
Similarly, they will guide you on the differences between highway safety and staying safe on packed inner-city roads. After all, riding a motorcycle takes more than skill – it takes good judgment as well.
Check For Inclement Weather
Weather conditions like rain, snow, and ice make for a dangerous ride. Even light snow can be risky if you’re new to riding. Driving in poor weather conditions is a bad idea for riders because you have limited visibility and traction. So if the forecast shows hazardous weather conditions, schedule your ride for another day.
Put On Motorcycle Gear
To begin with, you should always wear proper safety gear before going on a ride. Appropriate gear typically includes a full face helmet, non-slip gloves, boots that end above the ankles, and goggles.
You should also wear a leather jacket and pants to protect yourself from harsh weather conditions. Layering up is your best bet to regulate your body temperature based on changing weather.
Check the Tire Pressure
Before you set out, it’s important to check your bike to make sure it’s completely safe to ride. This means checking the tire pressure on the two wheels, brakes, headlights, and other components. It also involves checking fuel and oil levels to prevent any unnecessary stops along the way.
Follow Traffic Rules
While it sounds quite obvious, keep in mind that failing to follow traffic rules can land you in serious trouble. This includes using your signals and driving according to the speed limit.
Speed Limit Rules
A rule of thumb is to go at slow speeds and if you’re on a highway (stick to the lower end of the range). Moreover, keep your eyes on the road ahead and look out for other drivers.
Keep Yourself Visible
If you’re on the road, don’t assume that other drivers can see you. More importantly, don’t think that your riding skills can get you out of a dangerous situation. A large fraction of motorcycle accidents occur because car drivers couldn’t see a motorcycle.
To keep yourself visible, avoid riding in blind spots, use turn signals, and keep your headlights on. Yes, even during the day. Additionally, make it a habit to wear reflective clothing that’s easy to spot on the road.
Look Out for Road Hazards
When you drive carefully, you can anticipate road hazards and predict accidents. For instance, gravel or sand can reduce traction. The same goes for oil and other things on the road. At the same time, it’s important to keep a look out for potholes and speed bumps.
What to do if you see a road hazard
If you see one, try to avoid it or adjust your speed so you can cross it safely. Similarly, if you’re crossing railroad tracks, you should be careful to ride at an appropriate angle so that you don’t lose traction.
Keep a Safe Distance
It’s unsafe to tailgate, but it’s difficult to know when you’re too close – especially when you’re a new rider.
Experts recommend adopting the four-second rule to prevent tailgating collisions. Once the vehicle in front of you passes a fixed object like a sign or tree, count to four seconds. If you reach the object faster than you’re done counting, you’re too close.
Keeping a safe distance from other vehicles ensures that you get a safe riding space, and allows you to brake hard in case of an emergency.
Experienced Riders Always Keep a First Aid Kit
Although it may seem unnecessary, it’s imperative that you keep a basic first-aid kit on hand when riding your motorcycle. It’s sure to come in handy in case you get small scrapes or cuts. Generally, a first aid kit could comprise band-aids, hand sanitizer, gauze, bandages, adhesive tape, and disinfecting wipes.
Keep Both Your Hands on the Handlebars
Regardless of skill level, it’s important that you follow certain rules on the road. One of these is to keep both your hands on the handlebars so you have better control. This also ensures that you avoid hazards while riding on the road.
Most Motorcycle Riders Get Anti Lock Brakes
More and more motorcycles are coming with an ABS. It’s an anti-lock braking system that helps you maneuver the bike in emergencies when your wheels could lock and potentially lead to an accident.
They restore traction in tires so you can ride safely. Statistics show that wheel locking causes an alarming number of motorcyclists killed.
Don’t Drink Before You Ride
A motorcycle is an efficient means to get around quickly, but it also requires you to be responsible. This means avoiding alcohol before you have to go on the road.
It can be quite dangerous to drink and ride since alcohol slows down your reaction time. This means you’ll be less capable of avoiding a collision, and at a higher risk of losing your balance falling off the motorcycle.
Enroll in an Advanced Riding Course
You can ensure safer riding skills by enrolling in an advanced riding course. The instructors guide you on safe braking techniques, control tips, and collision avoidance. They’ll teach you to find an escape route in the event that you encounter hazardous road conditions. And, you’ll also learn helpful motorcycle safety tips like choosing the right DOT approved helmet.
These were some of the top safety tips you should keep in mind when you head out for a long ride on your motorcycle. Remember to wear proper safety gear, follow traffic rules, and check your motorcycle before you set out.