Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating and be so much fun but, as everyone understands, they are a lot more dangerous than driving or riding in a car. According to the National Safety Council, in 2017, 5,172 motorcycle riders and passengers died in crashes and accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017 despite making up only 3% of all registered vehicles. Before you drive or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle you need to take certain precautions to do your best to ensure your safety. It is vital that people understand basic safety tips when riding on a motorcycle.
If riding a motorcycle you should:
- Check your motorcycle to confirm it is fit for the road before you go on ride. This means you should always check your tires, confirm your lights and signals are working, look for oil or gas leaks, and check the motorcycle’s hydraulic and coolant fluids. Also clean and adjust all mirrors, test your horn, and test both your front and rear brakes (also invest in antilock brakes).
- Wear a helmet. A helmet is probably the most important equipment a motorcyclist can use. In 2017, 1,908 motorcyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. Helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries. When picking out a helmet, look for the DOT sticker, which guarantees the helmet meets safety standards required by law.
- Drive sober (this one should be obvious
- Drive when rested. You need to be extra alert when driving a motorcycle.
- Take classes to develop your driving techniques.
- Follow traffic rules.
- Drive defensively.
- Watch for hazards like manhole covers, oil slicks, and potholes.
- Use headlights.
- Wear durable clothing and boots that cover your ankles.
- Wear goggles or use a face shield that is ventilated to prevent fogging.
- Rather than wear black or brown, wear something bright so you don’t blend in with the road.
- Wear thinner gloves for better control.
- Be extra cautious around semi-trucks. When you pass a semi-truck, make sure they see you in their drivers’ mirror so they know you are there. Trucks will also cause wind turbulence and other drivers have trouble seeing a motorcycle around a large vehicle.
- When riding around a curve, start at the outside part of your lane, move to the inside part in the curve, and then back to the outside of the curve as this will help straighten out the curve.
- Only ride bikes that fit you. When seated, you should be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without having to be on your tiptoes.
Riding a motorcycle can be awfully fun but are also way more dangerous than a car. The key to optimizing your odds of not getting in a wreck is be fully prepared, take precautions, and avoid the risks discussed above. Happy riding!
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