There are few things in life that feel better than cruising down the open road on a motorcycle. But, motorcycles also carry a significant risk with them.
In 2015, nearly 90,000 motorcyclists were injured on the road. To make matters worse, it’s often not the fault of the motorcyclist when injuries occur.
But, there are protective measures you can take in order to stay safe on the road.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we got you covered.
Let’s take a look at seven motorcycle safety tips you need to know about.
1. Wear a Helmet
This cannot be stressed enough. You must always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
While it’s not illegal in most states to ride without one, it doesn’t make any sense to not wear one from a safety perspective. More often than not, a motorcycle helmet means the difference between life and death during an accident.
In fact, riding with a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 69 percent. What would you rather have hit the pavement? A helmet, or your skull?
Make sure that your helmet is always apart of your riding wardrobe. If fashion is a concern, there are plenty of fashionable motorcycle helmets out there for any type of rider.
There are also helmets on the market that come equipped with bluetooth motorcycle intercom so you can make or take calls without touching your cell phone.
2. Wake Up!
Under certain circumstances, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Sleep deprivation has the same effects as a certain degree of alcohol consumption. As a general rule of thumb, the longer you’ve been awake, the “drunker” you’ll be in terms of impairment.
Unfortunately, we don’t always get the chance to wake up before you have to ride out for an early morning or head home after a late night.
Those who own cars and trucks can take a quick nap in their vehicle. Motorcyclists don’t have that luxury. If you find yourself having to drive after a long period of no sleep, consider grabbing a coffee or an energy drink to help wake you up.
3. …And Gear Up
No matter how safely you ride, motorcyclists are always at risk of getting into collisions with distracted drivers.
Just like how a helmet provides the necessary protection for your skull, you’ll need appropriate gear for the rest of your body if you want to minimize your chance of injury.
Leather clothing, boots, and long pants can go a long way when it comes to protecting the rest of your body. Gloves are also a must, as people instinctively extend their arms during a fall.
When it comes to boots, you should purchase a pair with non-skid soles for maximum durability.
4. Drive Defensively
Motorcyclists are a special case on the streets. Many drivers are so used to watching out for other cars that they frequently fail to see people on motorcycles.
This places an extra burden on motorcyclists, who already have enough to worry about when it comes to road safety.
Those with motorcycles should drive as defensively as possible. This means both being predictable in your movements and never assuming other drivers will do what they’re supposed to.
It’s imperative to always use your signal when merging or turning and to also avoid speeding so that you can stop in time if you need to.
It’s also important to be vigilant about any issues your bike may have. Before you run off to a mechanic, take a moment to consult your model’s repair manual to see if you can fix the issue on your own.
5. Keep Your Distance
In general, you should be able to close the distance between you and another vehicle with three seconds of movement. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to react in case things go awry.
If other drivers on the road are crowding you or following you too closely, don’t be afraid to pull over and let them pass. It’s better to waste 30 seconds and avoid an aggressive driver than it is to risk a collision.
As you may have already found out through experience, this can be quite difficult with heavy traffic. But, the slower speeds you’ll be riding at will make distance less of an issue.
6. Avoid Semi-Truck Scares
It’s no secret that semi-truck drivers often have a difficult time seeing other drivers on the road. There’s a reason they’re often covered with warnings that say things like “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you!”
Unfortunately, this difficulty is exponential when it comes to seeing motorcyclists.
There is a significant amount of area around a moving semi-truck that bikers should never be present in. In general, it’s best to stay as many lanes away from a semi-truck as possible.
If you need to speed up to get around one, do so from more than one lane over. This will ensure that you’ll have enough time to react to their movement.
7. Have an Escape Plan
It’s vital for motorcyclists to always have an actionable escape plan at any given moment on the road.
Common scenarios include tailing a group of cars while you’re coming up to a sharp turn or riding behind a track that’s carrying cargo.
Either of these situations could require split-second thinking that requires you to travel around the obstacle, so make sure that you always know what you would do during a “what-if” scenario.
Knowing The Right Motorcycle Safety Tips Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about motorcycle safety tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that you’re well-protected every time you hit the road.
Want to learn more vehicle tips that can help make your life easier? Make sure to check out the rest of our blog!