Motorcycle safety tips are important whether you are new to riding or a seasoned biker. When you ride a motorcycle, just like when you drive a car, it’s easy to settle into a routine. Initially you are alert and focused but as you ride you begin to stop paying as much attention to your surroundings. Maybe you are listening to music or thinking about your plans for the weekend. It is easy to lose your focus and make errors that can result in a motorcycle crash. Road hazard protection requires active awareness and immediate response to the dangers around you. Take a few moments to read over this list of motorcycle safety tips and remember to keep your focus when you ride. Failing to do so could be disastrous!
Motorcycle Safety Tips
1. Pay attention to the road surface. Experienced riders encourage other bikers to look far ahead down the road for any potential threats to their safety. Although this is important, it’s also critical to frequently check the surface of the road in front of you, and this means glancing toward the road just ahead of you. Bumps, ruts, potholes, and debris in the road can be disastrous for bikers. If you are in a high-traffic situation where you can only see the car ahead of you, be aware if the car swerves to avoid a pothole or debris.
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2. Keep your motorcycle in good shape. No one wants to break down on the side of the road, but that could be the least of your troubles if your bike isn’t kept in good repair. Damaged or weak tires could result in tire blowouts which could spell disaster for a biker. Tires with excessive wear won’t give you the traction you need, especially on wet or slick roadways. Keep an eye on your tires and change your oil and filter regularly. Check your owner’s manual for all required maintenance specific to your bike.
3. Watch for and avoid slippery surfaces. Keep in mind that your motorcycle only has two tires in contact with the road, and slick surfaces can create a major hazard. Icy roads can spell disaster for a biker and should only be travelled by very experienced bikers who are familiar with riding in the ice. But even wet roads can be dangerous for bikers. Road surfaces are slickest when a rain first begins. The rain mixes with chemicals on the surface of the roads to create a surface that can be as slick as ice. Exercise extreme caution when riding during the beginning of a rain. Heavy rain conditions make roads slick and can interfere with your line of sight. If you cannot easily see the road and other vehicles ahead and around you, pull over and wait for the worst of the rain to pass.
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4. Be visible. Black leather jackets may look good but can be easily overlooked and blend into the road and surroundings. Wear bright or even neon gear in order to be noticed on the road. Consider adding additional lights or reflectors to your gear especially if you travel during dawn, dusk, and during the night. Being visible also means riding in the line of sight of others on the road. Be careful to avoid riding in the blind spot of other vehicles on the road.
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5. Stay refreshed and do not ride tired. Far too many of us have made the mistake of riding tired. In a car it is dangerous, but on a bike it’s disastrous. Take a break and stop for a quick stretch every 100 miles or so. If you feel signs of fatigue, pull over and drink some water and walk around a bit. This will get your blood flowing and will help fight fatigue. In addition, when you get back on your bike you will be refreshed and better able to handle possible dangers.
6. Leave an escape route. When you are traveling through high-traffic areas, always leave an escape route. Be aware of a way that you can maneuver out of the way if someone suddenly enters your lane. Avoid riding in center lanes which make a crash inevitable if someone strikes you from the side. So many driving hazards exist that it’s impossible to predict them all, so this will keep you prepared.
7. Ride at a pace and riding style that feels best to you. Everyone loves to ride as part of a pack, but if they are traveling at speeds you cannot handle or are riding in an erratic or unsafe way, break away and ride alone. Better to avoid bikers who can potentially cause or be involved in a crash. Even if they are following the speed limit, if you feel challenged to keep up with them, back off and try riding with them another day. This is especially try for those new to biking who may have a hard time keeping up with more experienced bikers.
8. Be aware of semis on the road. Tractor trailers often have trouble seeing cars on the road around them, and with an even smaller physical presence, motorcycles are easily overlooked. Avoid riding near the blind spot of semis if possible. Also, exercise caution when passing or being passed by tractor trailers as the wind turbulence can put pressure on your bike. Semis produce driving hazards to cars on the road, as well, so watch for cars to veer towards another lane when a semi passes.
9. Feather your clutch on tight turns. During tight turns like u-turns or 90 degree turns, feather your clutch. It will help you have the proper momentum to make the turn without tipping your bike or causing excessive lean.
10. Travel curves with care. Many crashes cause during or immediately after a curve. Start the curve at the outside of the lane, move to the inner part of the lane in the middle of the curve and then back towards the outer part as the curve ends. This makes the curve less dangerous.
Follow these great motorcycle safety tips and feel free to send us your own. Also, keep in mind that a motorcycle safety course is great for all new bikers and a refresher or advanced course should be taken regularly. Motorcycle crashes can spell disaster for bikers and can result in serious injury or even death. This can mean time away from work, lost pay, and extreme pain and suffering. If you or a loved one have been involved in a crash, contact an experienced motorcycle crash attorney at Kass & Moses. You can reach us any time at 1-800-MOTORCYCLE. Remember that your consultation is free of charge, so there is nothing to lose in making the call.