Without seatbelts, airbags, and sheet metal to protect them, motorcycle riders are more likely to suffer fatal injuries in an accident. Even in non-fatal accidents, the injuries are often severe as motorcyclists are thrown from their bikes and onto the pavement. Without protective equipment to rely on, you must go above and beyond in ensuring you have a safe motorcycle season. To get started, use the following tactics to prepare for the road and avoid collisions whenever you ride.
Learn from Experienced Riders at a Safety Course
Although you are not required to take motorcycle safety courses to get your license, they are often a great idea for new riders. Even experienced riders can benefit from brushing up on the basics before hitting the road each season. Across all skill levels, the courses cover how to properly pilot your bike on public roads while riding alone and near other motorists.
You will learn how to safely:
- Accelerate from a stop
- Apply the brakes
- Shift gears
- Change lanes
- Perform U-turns
Instructors will also provide plenty of practice manoeuvring around obstacles to help everyone get used to how the bike feels during turns.
Sign Up for a Motorcycle Insurance Policy
Before riding on public roads, you will need to sign up for motorcycle insurance with at least liability and accident benefit coverage. With a standard policy, your insurance company will cover any damage caused by your motorcycle during an accident. The liability side of the policy covers both property damage and personal injury for the other parties. The accident benefits offer protection for you, covering your medical bills and lost wages.
If you want to cover your motorcycle, you will need to add comprehensive and collision. Comprehensive kicks in when damage occurs due to vandalism, theft, and other incidents. Collision is exclusively for coverage during an accident with another vehicle. If you want full coverage, then All Perils is likely the right plan for you.
Commit to Wearing All the Gear All the Time
Since you never know what awaits on the road, you can only stay safe by wearing all the gear all the time. This mantra is fondly known as ATTGAT by enthusiasts dedicated to always having a safe motorcycle season.
To abide by this rule, you will need:
- Helmet approved by BSI, DOT, ECE, or Snell
- Leather motorcycle jacket
- Jeans or other thick, full-length pants
- Motorcycle boots
- Leather gloves
When choosing a helmet, go with at least a half face shield to protect your eyes or consider wearing a pair of motorcycle goggles. If you want to keep bugs out of your mouth as well, then only a full face shield will do.
Inspect Your Motorcycle Before Heading Out
Each time you want to hit the road, give your motorcycle a good once over to avoid problems later on.
During your pre-ride inspection, check for:
- Low or damaged tire tread
- Excessive brake wear
- Improperly functioning lights
- Buildup on the battery terminals
- Low fluids, including oil and coolant
If all looks well, then you are safe to go. If you have any doubts, however, aim to resolve the problem before hopping on your bike.
Always Use Defensive Driving Techniques
In the end, defensive driving is the best way to prevent accidents and continue on your travels without issue.
Whenever you ride, aim to:
Mind Your Speed
Although you should always mind the speed limit, sometimes it is best to slow down a bit more to avoid scary situations. If you are coming up on blind corners with upcoming turnouts, for example, then slow down to avoid potential obstacles ahead. Adverse weather conditions are another great reason to get off the throttle and take it a bit slower.
Maintain a Safe Distance
Whether you are riding at the speed limit or putting along in traffic, always put about four seconds of space between you and the vehicle ahead. If drivers behind you are not offering the same respect, then let them pass if at all possible.
Watch for Left Turns
People turning left out onto the roadway are a serious threat to motorcycle riders. Always watch far ahead for cars waiting to turn and slow down enough so you can stop if needed. Do not blindly trust that they will see you or wait for the ideal moment to make their move.
Whenever you ride, it is important to do all you can to be properly prepared for the road ahead and practice proven defensive driving techniques to have a safe motorcycle season.