Ride safe with these motorcycle tips
Motorcyclists know that riding gives them a freedom that driving a car just can’t match. But the best riders also know that motorcycles require more focus to operate and don’t provide the same protections cars do in the event of a crash. The best riders also take great care in all situations, whether they’re in heavy traffic on I-90, stuck in the rain or just taking a quick ride on a perfect day.
22% of riders killed in crashes are not licensed at all or are improperly licensed to operate a motorcycle. * It’s essential that you have the licensing and training to be in control of your motorcycle. Know your bike’s capabilities and how it performs. Errors like over-braking, driving too fast or under-cornering are major factors in many solo accidents.
If your habits aren’t as safe as they could be, or if you’re new to motorcycling, don’t worry! Instead, take time to improve. The quick safety tips below are a great place to start.
Want more? Check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation http://www.msf-usa.org or the American Motorcyclist Association www.americanmotorcyclist.com. And remember to give Carriage Insurance Agency a call at 425-641-5066 when you need to get coverage for your bike (or your home or auto, boat or more)!
First things first
- Wear proper safety gear and, most importantly, a helmet – no matter how short your trip may be.
- Make sure you can be seen by other motorists. Make it easier for them by wearing reflective clothing, always using turn signals (and perhaps hand signals as well) and keeping your headlight on.
- Even when taking the above precautions, stay alert and assume that other drivers don’t see you — especially at intersections and when making lane changes or passing.
When cars and motorcycles collide it’s usually because the driver could not see the cyclist. With more SUV’s on the road, it’s even more critical to take extra steps to become more visible. Make a point of positioning yourself in your lane for visibility.
- Be patient. Don’t tailgate, and if someone is tailgating you, get out of their way.
- Don’t ride after drinking or taking any medications that could impair your abilities.
Riding at night
- Again, make sure you’re visible — particularly at dusk. Consider upgrading your headlight or adding other lights to your ride. Is your bike black? What about your clothing? Both will make you more difficult to see at night.
- Your vision needs to be clear, so keep your visor or goggles clean and free from scratches. If you don’t use face or eye protection, consider it.
- Carry a flashlight or other emergency gear with you so a mechanical problem doesn’t leave you stranded — and invisible — on the side of a dark road.
- Keep rain and cold-weather gear handy. Riding isn’t just more enjoyable when you’re warm and dry — it’s safer, too.
- Use extreme caution when it first begins to rain, as the roads are most slick at that point. Pull over and wait if necessary. It’s better to be late than ride in unsafe conditions.
We wish that all of your rides could be on sunny days with wide-open roads, but we know that’s not going to happen. So think about safety every time you start up your bike!
Safety is so important when it comes to riding motorcycles. Motorcyclists face a higher risk of getting into a crash than drivers of standard cars. That is why it is important to have a good motorcycle insurance policy.
*Source- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts, 2009: Motorcycles.