Motorcycle safety is one of our platforms, so it should be no surprise that we spent a lot of time sharing motorcycle safety tips. Many riders have shared their own tips over the years, and we encourage you to do so in the comments section below. The statistics for motorcycle crashes are alarming and seem to get worse each year. Follow these motorcycle safety tips and you will be safer and more in control of your bike.
- Never assume you can be seen. Drivers these days face many distractions – cell phones, ipods, passengers, eating and drinking – and unless you are riding right in their line of sight, they are likely to miss you. Mammoth size SUVs, tractor trailers, and even sedans can lose sight of you or fail to see you altogether. It’s best to always ride as if all the drivers around you have blinders on and cannot see you.
- Always be at your best. If you just got in a fight with your girlfriend, please don’t hop on your bike. Raw emotions can lead to disaster. If you are sleepy, not feeling well, or emotionally charged, it’s not going to make for a good ride. These factors all increase your risk of being in a motorcycle crash.
- Eat and drink beforehand. It may sound silly, but long rides can really take something out of you. You may not feel it, but under all that gear you are likely perspiring. And whether you know it or not, you are burning calories by maneuvering and balancing your motorcycle. Before you ride, have a snack and a glass of water, and if you plan on riding all day, remember to stop once or twice to refuel your body as well as your bike. Riding dehydrated or hungry can make it difficult to focus and make rapid decisions.
- Lane splitting is about being seen, not about getting ahead. Lane splitting is legal in many states, and that’s a good thing. It allows bikers to maneuver around cagers and get to an area without obstacles where they can be seen.
- Distance, distance, distance! If you are riding just a few feet away from a car, and the driver slams on their brakes, you are in trouble. I know some bikers will argue that they can quickly maneuver to the left or right. That’s true, but even the best, most adept biker needs some distance to move out of the way. The more distance between you and the vehicles around you, the safer you are.
- Reflectors, and bright clothing. I love my biker jacket as much as the next guy, but I also want to be seen. Whether you choose to use reflectors, lights, or gear with reflective patches, be sure that you can be seen, especially if you plan to ride at dusk or during the evening hours.
- Be aware of tractor trailers and semis. Their blind spot is enormous, and unless you can see their mirrors, they cannot see you. It’s best to try to avoid them on the road, if possible. When you go to pass a semi, do so quickly and aim to distance yourself from them again immediately after passing.
- Ride your own ride. Although it feels great to ride with a group of experienced bikers, do not stretch your ability level. If you don’t feel comfortable riding at their speed or you feel anyone you are riding with is unsafe, break away from the group and ride alone. Better to ride alone and be safe than to ride with the pack and crash.
- Feather your clutch on tight turns. Too much or too little clutch can lead to you tipping your bike on a tight turn. Instead, feather your clutch for proper momentum going into a sharp turn, u-turn, or into a parking lot.
- Choose the right gloves. This may sound minor, but the right gloves can make a big difference. If your gloves are too large, you may not be able to adequately control your bike. Gloves that are too thin, especially on a crisp day, may leave your hands cold and practically numb. Find a pair of gloves that fit well, allow you to feel through them, and invest in some heated grips.
What motorcycle safety tips can you share? Let us know your favorite tips to stay safe on your bike and we’ll share them with others. Ride safe, and remember to call 1-800-MOTORCYCLE if you are in a crash!
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