Motorcycle Safety Tips

There are inherent risks to everything in life, but riding a motorcycle can be a particularly risky venture. Get in an accident in car, and you’ll often walk away without a scratch. Get in an accident on a motorcycle, and the results could potentially be catastrophic.

Still…nothing can beat the feelings of exhilaration and freedom that come from riding a bike! And it can be done safely, but safe riding requires commitment and vigilance, every moment you’re on the road.

Below are some basic motorcycle safety tips that can help you enjoy riding, while reducing the chances for accidents and injuries.

Wear Appropriate Motorcycle Gear And Clothing
Motorcycle gear and clothing can make a big difference, not only in case of an accident, but also in your enjoyment of the ride. The investment in a DOT-approved helmet, high-quality protective gear (including a motorcycle jacket, gloves, riding pants, and boots) will be well worth it.

Keep Your Motorcycle Well-Maintained
Keep your motorcycle well-maintained, and check your tire pressure, brakes, lights, and fluids before you get ready to ride.

Take A Motorcycle Safety Course
Take a motorcycle safety course to learn essential riding skills and safety techniques. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is a national organization that offers a range of courses, including the Basic Rider Course (BRC), the Basic Rider Course 2 (BRC2), and the Advanced Rider Course (ARC).

Practice Defensive Riding
One of the best ways to stay safe on a motorcycle is to assume that the other drivers and riders on the road might not see you. Always ride defensively and be prepared for unexpected moves from other vehicles. If you maintain a safe following distance from vehicles and motorcycles in front of you, you’ll have more time to react.

Avoid Riding In Poor Weather
Wet or icy roads can reduce traction and significantly increase the risk of accidents. It’s not always possible, but if you can, avoid riding your motorcycle when the weather is bad or looks like it could turn.

Use Proper Riding Techniques
The safest way to ride a motorcycle is with both hands on the handlebars and both feet on the foot pegs. It also helps to make smooth and gradual movements when accelerating, braking, and cornering.

Don’t Ride Aggressively
If drivers move around aggressively (weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, making abrupt lane changes), they don’t have as much to lose if they get in an accident. Drivers are protected by their cars. With nothing to protect a motorcycle rider, however, it’s best to avoid aggressive maneuvers, especially in heavy traffic.

Check Your Speed
Excessive speed is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. Be sure to adjust your speed to match the speed limit, road conditions, and traffic.

Stay Visible
To stay visible, keep on your motorcycle’s headlights on at all times (even during the day), and avoid riding in the blind spots of other vehicles. You also can use reflective materials and bright-colored clothing to increase your visibility, especially at night.

Watch Out For Road Hazards
The condition that many roads are in today is a travesty – but what’s annoying to drivers can be accident-causing to motorcyclists. Watch out for gravel, debris, potholes, and uneven road surfaces that could affect your stability and control.

Practice Emergency Stops And Defensive Swerving
Emergency stopping and defensive swerving are key lessons in motorcycle safety training courses, but it’s a good idea to keep working on these techniques. By practicing emergency braking and swerving in a controlled environment (e.g. an empty parking lot), you’ll sharpen your reaction and riding skills.

Be Hyperalert At Intersections
Intersections are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. Many accidents occur when other drivers fail to yield the right-of-way, make left-hand turns in front of oncoming motorcycles, or overlook motorcycles in their blind spots. Approach intersections cautiously, and assume that other drivers DON’T see you.

Respect Traffic Flow
When riding your motorcycle, as tempting as it can be, avoid lane splitting (also known as lane filtering). It’s illegal in most states, and even where it’s permitted, it’s a dangerous practice. Stick to the flow of traffic, and don’t weave between cars in congested conditions or when traffic is at a standstill.

Signal Clearly
When you’re riding your motorcycle, it’s imperative that other drivers and riders know what you’re about to do. Use turn signals and hand signals to warn people about your intentions, and make sure that your brake light and turn signals are working.

Stay Prepared for Emergencies
Carry a basic first-aid kit, an emergency tool kit for minor repairs, and emergency contact information with you on every ride.

See Related Topics:
Motorcycle Safety Courses, Classes, And Training
Safety Features On Motorcycles