Motorcycle Safety Tips

Are you dreaming of hitting the open road, just you and your bike, basking in the freedom that comes with owning a motorcycle?

If you are, there are some valuable safety tips you should keep in mind in order to prevent your dream from turning into a nightmare.

Accessorizing for Safety

Part of the thrill of riding a motorcycle is feeling the open air as you ride. However, all of that openness leaves your body extremely exposed to the elements, which is why wearing proper biker clothing is essential in staying safe.

Helmets: You brain is a pretty vital organ so it should go without saying that wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is of the utmost importance. Sadly, many people still elect not to don this essential riding accessory despite the fact that wearing a helmet has been shown to decrease the risk of a motorcycle crash fatality by 37 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Besides protecting your brain, wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle can keep you legal. Currently, 47 out of 50 states mandate the use of a motorcycle helmet.

Nervous that a helmet might make you feel a little claustrophobic? Don’t be. Helmets are available in all sizes to fit your head comfortably. Additionally, many motorcycle enthusiasts contend that wearing a helmet while riding actually makes the experience more pleasurable by cutting down on the wind noise and reducing rider fatigue.

When selecting a helmet, make sure to try it on before your purchase it – it should fit just right, not too tight or too loose. Also, your helmet should carry a Department of Transportation compliance sticker, indicating that the helmet meets certain basic impact standards.

Protective Eyewear: Have you ever taken a good look at your car’s windshield after a long drive? If you have, you probably found quite a lot of debris – dirt, bugs, leaves – stuck to the glass. Now imagine all of that stuff hitting your face and, even worse, getting into your eyes. Protecting your eyes while riding a motorcycle is a top safety tips for that very reason.

It can take very little to cause serious damage to your eyes, while it also can take very little to protect them from the elements. Many helmets come with an approved shield. Additionally, a pair goggles or shatterproof glasses can serve as a sufficient defense.

When you’re riding, you want to make sure that your visibility is unimpaired. Your eyewear should be clean and unscratched, and if using tinted glasses during the day, make sure to carry a clear pair with you for when the sun goes down.

Seeing is Believing

In addition to wearing the proper attire, staying aware of your surroundings, such as cars or possible road hazards, will help keep you and others on the road safe. To help remind bikers to ride safely, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends its SEE strategy:
S – SEARCH around you for potential hazards;
E – EVALUATE any possible hazards, such as turning cars or railroad tracks;
E – EXECUTE the proper action to avoid the hazard.

Increasing Visibility: Often a car will collide with a motorcycle simply because the driver of the car was unable to see the motorcycle. For this reason, it is essential to ensure that other motorists can see you when you are on the road. Headlights and special reflective clothing can help you stand out against the asphalt, and don’t be shy about using your horn if you notice a driver NOT noticing you.

While it is important for other drivers to see you, it is just as important for you to see the other drivers. While riding your motorcycle, make sure to continually scan your surroundings, staying alert and attentive so that you don’t miss that car changing lanes or the brake lights up ahead.

Road Rules: Staying attentive is even more important when it comes to intersections, passing other vehicles and riding at night.

Intersections are common accident sites for motorcycles, often resulting from the ominous left hand turn. Keep in mind that any intersection, large or small, can be hazardous. When approaching an intersection, make sure you are fully aware of what other drivers are doing so that you can react appropriately.

When on the road, passing other vehicles is another time when your awareness should be heightened. The technique is pretty much the same as when you’re driving a car. However, you have less protection surrounding you while on a motorcycle so checking the traffic behind you, including the infamous blind spot, is all the more imperative.

Finally, riding at night brings with it its own set of challenges. Visibility decreases at night so the need to increase one’s visibility is essential. Always use your headlights and maintain a safe distance from the vehicles in front of you. Additionally, pay careful attention if riding at sunset, which is typically the worst time for visibility because motorist’s eyes are just starting to adjust from daylight to headlights.

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