The open road can be fun and freeing, but ask any tenured biker and they will tell you how quickly a Sunday drive can become dangerous. The following motorcycle safety tips are a reminder to bikers everywhere regarding how to stay safe on the road:
Gear, Gear And More Gear
A rider's first line of protection against the unforgiving asphalt is his gear. Be sure to stock up on motorcycle apparel and accessories before you ride, including a helmet, boots, gloves and various other street bike gear.
Head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents, which total over 55,000 annually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, bikers not wearing helmets are far more likely to sustain fatal head injuries. Suffice it to say that wearing a helmet when riding is a good habit to develop. While making the switch to safety might have the initial drawback of no longer feeling the wind blowing your hair, one major benefit is serious injury avoidance.
You'll also no longer eat bugs at 60 miles per hour.
Longs sleeves and pants are also highly recommended. While many might not consider a rash a serious problem, however a case of road rash could be extremely debilitating. If you experience even a minor accident without coverage, the first thing to go will be several layers of skin.
Close-toed shoes - preferably motorbike boots - are also recommended as the choice foot attire when riding.
Before you mount your steel steed, you'll want to give the bike a quick inspection. It is always a wise recommendation to start by checking the status of your motorcycle's lights, tire pressure and mirrors every time you plan to go out for a ride. Walking a lap around your bike, to see if anything looks obviously wrong or out of order, is recommended as well. Doing so could potentially save you from unnecessary repairs due to driving around on busted equipment.
Leave Emotion At Home
Just like when getting behind the wheel of a car, make sure you are calm and collected. Never drive angry, or overly emotional in any way. Distractions impair judgment, and could ultimately cause an accident. On a motorcycle, your reaction speed is key to disaster avoidance. If you're sick, tired, or just having a tough day - it might be best to just leave your bike at home.
Because motorcyclists must twist their bodies in order to maintain balance when turning or braking suddenly, it may also a good idea to practice encountering emergency situations, such as vehicles merging into your lane due to you falling into their blind spots.
Eyes On The Road
Just because you see a car doesn't necessarily mean that they see you. Defensive driving is key to motorcycle safety. Maintaining maximum visibility is of the utmost importance, and can be done in a variety of ways.
Don't look around at the passing scenery. While it might be tempting to gaze upon the terrain you're driving through, stop your bike if you'd like to take a thorough look around. Your head must remain forward with your eyes on the road at all times when piloting a motorcycle.
One of the most dangerous places for a motorcycle is where two roads meet. In fact, 70 percent of motorcycle accidents occur at junctions. This is part of the reason that maintaining visibility is so critical. Unexpected cars will pull out from side streets or driveways, into the path of a somewhat oblivious motorcyclist. It is extremely important to plan ahead for upcoming junctions, and begin braking early on.
When driving, you should be moving your eyes in a scanning pattern, as well as leaving three seconds of crash avoidance space for safety precautions. Another highly recommended safe driving practice is buffering, or creating as much space around your bike as possible to avoid hazards when riding.