Motorcycles are fun to ride and a common form of transportation for commuting to work and traveling across the country. There is a romanticism associated with riding a motorcycle, especially when on the highway and going to new locations.
However, motorcycles are also considerably more dangerous to the rider compared to the driver of a typical vehicle such as a car or truck.
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Motorcycles provide little protection to drivers, so the chances of suffering from a severe injury or death are greatly increased with accidents involving motorcycles compared to vehicles.
For new riders, the danger is compounded by the lack of experience. However, there are ways to keep safe and help prevent accidents from occurring that may put you in the hospital or worse. The key to greater safety starts with accident prevention.
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Common Safety Tips
Safety tips help keep you aware, alert, and protected when riding your motorcycle. The key is to combine personal protection with avoidance techniques. Although you cannot prevent all accidents by minimizing the chances that they will happen, you may never have more than a slight bump or a longer trip to your destination.
Wear Appropriate Safety Gear
It all starts with the safety gear that you are wearing. This means you need a regulation helmet that provides adequate padding. A helmet will not prevent a concussion, but it can prevent a skull fracture from occurring, depending on the nature of the impact.
Next to the helmet, you should wear clothing and shoes covering you from the neck down to your toes. This will prevent skin abrasion if you should go off the motorcycle and slide across the pavement. A leather jacket is not only cool; it provides good protection from injuries to the skin. Add to this pants and shoes, and you are now ready to get on the motorcycle and drive.
Keep Your Distance from Other Vehicles
Many accidents occur when you are too close to other vehicles. Too close is considered as being unable to brake or swerve in case the vehicle in front of you comes to a sudden stop. By maintaining your distance and staying alert, you can easily brake or avoid a potential accident because you have the time to think and react appropriately.
Stay Within the Speed Limit
Going too fast is another significant cause of accidents. The faster you go, the less time you have to react when something unexpected occurs. A car suddenly pulling out in front of you presents a real danger if you are going too fast to brake or swerve out of the way.
Slow Down on Slick Pavement
This is not just for ice or snow but also rain. Precipitation, particularly if it is just starting, can loosen the oil embedded in the road. This will cause the surface to become slicker than usual.
If you were driving a vehicle, it would mean making a minor adjustment in your speed or direction in case of sliding. One slick spot can put you on the pavement when operating a motorcycle. Extra caution is advised, particularly when making turns, as this is when a slippery area can take the wheels right out from under you.
Enroll in a Traffic Safety Course
One of the best and safest ways to gain experience is by taking advantage of a traffic safety course. This will not only gain experience for conditions you might face on the road, but it may also take off some of the insurance you are paying.
Most Frequent Mistakes
With experience comes familiarity, but it also brings overconfidence which may lead to inattention. What follows are some of the most frequent mistakes made by motorcycle riders who get involved in accidents.
- Riding Without a Helmet
While not wearing the appropriate clothing may lead to skin burns, abrasions, and cuts if an accident should occur, not wearing your helmet may lead to a skull fracture or worse. Not wearing a helmet is akin to not wearing a seat belt in a vehicle. So, always put on your helmet.
- Not Being Alert
Intersections are prime places for accidents since vehicles travel in different directions. Looking to the right and left just after the light turns green will help you spot a car rushing to beat the red light. Stay alert in situations where accidents are most likely to happen.
Other mistakes include going too fast and not maintaining the motorcycle correctly, for instance during the winter months. Proper maintenance is essential, especially the condition of the tires. While a blowout may cause an inconvenience for a vehicle, it is more likely to lead to a severe accident on a motorcycle.
How to Get Better at Riding a Motorcycle
The best way to get better is to gain experience in riding your motorcycle. The more you ride, the better you feel the bike and know when something goes wrong. This means that your familiarity with the motorcycle will allow you to recognize possible mechanical issues if the tires need attention or other problems that may affect the performance of your bike.
Remember that many communities have off-road courses that you can often ride for free on your motorcycle. You should check out the locations offering off-road areas for practicing riding your motorcycle. Such locations provide a safer place than riding your bike on the street. Thanks to the lack of oncoming traffic and dirt surfaces, the track provides a safer method to gain valuable experience.
At some point, you will become familiar enough with your motorcycle to recognize issues and know how to handle your bike properly. Becoming a safe motorcycle rider is a goal that everyone who loves the open road should achieve. Remember that staying alert, wearing the proper safety gear, and keeping your distance from other vehicles is crucial to preventing accidents and limiting potential injuries.
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