Riding a motorbike is an exhilarating and adventurous experience. It is a fun and fuel-efficient way to commute to your destination. However, it is not without its perils. While there will always be an element of risk and danger involved with riding any motor vehicle, the reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a collision as compared to those driving a car. Abiding by traffic laws and some basic motorcycle safety practices can help diminish the number of fatalities caused by motorcycle crashes yearly.
If you are a bike enthusiast, then it is imperative upon you to understand some fundamental safety tips to ensure your safety on the road. Here are some appropriate precautions you must take the next time you head out to cruise the open road on your motorbike.
No Helmet, No Ride!
Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way to protect yourself against severe head injuries. As a matter of fact, it is required by law in many U.S. states. As mentioned by Sherrod & Bernard personal injury lawyers, a motorcycle does not provide the rider with the same degree of structural protection that a car does in the unfortunate event of an accident. Therefore, motorcyclists must take extra precautions to protect their bodies, which starts with the head.
The head and the brain is the most critical part of a human body. Not wearing a helmet exposes you to a much higher risk of sustaining head injuries in an accident and dying from these injuries consequently. Besides, a full-faced, DOT-approved helmet can also shield you from injuries to the eye, teeth, and face.
Wear Protective Gear
Apart from the all-important helmet to protect your head, you need the appropriate armor for other parts of your body to minimize the chances of receiving injuries in case of an accident. Put away the flip flops and wear boots that cover your ankle, non-slip gloves to protect your hands, and a jacket with abrasion-resistant materials. Also, shorts are a big NO while riding a motorbike, even if you are heading out for a short, quick ride. Always wear long pants or jeans, but make sure they do not restrict movement in your legs.
No matter how hot it is outside or how silly you think you look, ignoring these safety precautions puts you at the risk of sustaining life-altering or even fatal injuries.
Inspect Your Motorbike
Ensuring that your motorcycle is fit to hit the road is just as crucial as practicing safe riding. Therefore, it would be a wise idea to check your bike for any faults and ensure everything is in perfect working condition before starting your ride.
Some things you should always check out before you get on your motorcycle include tire pressure, brakes, lights and signals, horns, and fluids. Making certain that your bike is in optimal operating condition by completing these checks before you get on the roads will significantly reduce your probability of running into an unanticipated issue.
Consider Yourself Invisible to Car Drivers
An overwhelming majority of collisions involving motorcycles occur because the other driver did not see the motorcyclist and was violating their right of way. Due to their narrow profile, motorcyclists often find themselves in an auto’s blind spot. Therefore, you must ride defensively and always assume that drivers can not see you.
Some effective ways to maximize your visibility and increase your riding safety include signaling well in advance of any change in direction, avoiding other drivers’ blind spots, driving with your headlights on at all times, and wearing reflective clothing.
Check the Forecast
Plan your ride by reviewing the weather forecast each time. The dangers of wet or icy roads multiply manifolds when you are on two wheels. Rain, ice, and snow can compromise your ride safety big time. Driving in such conditions is hazardous as you have less traction and stability than a car, and visibility is lower. The lack of a windshield and your body’s exposure to harsh weather elements also add to the risk. It may be warm and sunny one minute and cold and rainy the next.
Being caught in a hailstorm or being pelted by raindrops while riding can be a motorcyclist’s worst nightmare. It is always better to be safe than sorry, therefore choose another day to ride if inclement weather is on the way.
Observing your surroundings and anticipating road hazards is an integral part of driving any motor vehicle, even more so for motorcycles. You must pay attention to the road in front of you and be vigilant for sand, gravel, oil, or any other unstable road conditions that may make you lose traction. Watch out for bumps and potholes, as they can be dangerous too. Always turn your head and look over your shoulder while turning lanes instead of relying solely on the mirrors. Proceed only if there is a safe distance between you and another car.
Don’t Ride When Sleepy
One of the biggest dangers you can put yourself in is hopping on your bike in the wrong state of mind. Riding a motorbike while tired, sluggish sleepy can be a recipe for disaster. Fatigue and drowsiness can significantly impair your ability to react swiftly, so make sure you are well rested before hitting the road.
Equally important, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. Riding a motorcycle requires you to make quick judgments, be alert, and maintain your balance at all times. DUI, or driving under the influence, increases the odds of you making rookie errors, putting you at the risk of severe injury and death, and endangering those around you too.
Without a doubt, riding a motorcycle is a fun and fulfilling experience. With that said, the reality is that they are not as safe to ride as cars. Accordingly, you must prioritize your safety first and be super vigilant when out on the road on your bike. While you may like to live life on the edge and take risks, we suggest you take some extra precautions before heading out and while riding, not just for yourself but your family, friends, and others sharing the road with you.