Motorcycle ownership has been rising in recent years around the US, with more and more people choosing the thrills and freedoms offered by bikes over other vehicles like cars and SUVs.
There are various reasons for this, and many people are drawn to the unique experiences and sensations bikes are able to provide, but any bike owner or rider has to acknowledge the risks that come along with getting around on two wheels.
Motorcycles travel at fast speeds, weaving in and out of traffic and sometimes going unnoticed by other road users due to blind spots or simple carelessness, and these factors, among others, put bike riders at great risk.
Statistics show that thousands of motorcyclists are killed in accidents in the US annually, with many more being injured, so it’s vital for bike riders, just like car drivers and other road users, to keep some key safety tips in mind in order to stay safe.
Road rage is actually one of the major contributors to accidents, and you’re much more likely to be involved in an accident if you give in to your anger or frustrations over the behavior of other drivers. This is especially frequent among bike riders, so it’s very important to try and remain calm on the roads.
General awareness is a key tip for any kind of road user, but it’s of additional importance for bike riders. You need to be aware of upcoming hazards that might not only impact you directly but could also cause other road users to swerve or change lanes suddenly, blocking off your path.
Defensive driving is a term used to describe a range of different techniques, and it could help to save your life. Examples of defensive driving techniques including keeping your distance from other vehicles, reducing your speeds in rainy conditions, and so on.
Always keep an eye on the weather forecast before setting out. Rainy conditions can spell trouble for bike riders, as they’ll make it harder for other road users to see you, as well as making the roads more slippery. Frosty and icy conditions can be very dangerous too, so make sure to adjust your driving habits to suit the weather conditions.
Every motorcyclist should wear a helmet, along with some other safety gear. Statistics and studies have repeatedly shown that helmets save lives and reduce the risk of serious injuries when accidents happen.
As well as investing in high quality safety equipment, you may also want to consider taking a safe driving course to improve your riding skills and reduce your risk of ending up in an accident. Various courses are available and you can even take classes online.
Inspect Your Bike
Always give your bike a check-up before setting out for long journeys. Check over the tires for any signs of wear and tear, check the fluid levels to ensure everything is working smoothly, and so on. A little inspection could save your life.
Following on from the previous point, it’s also wise to make sure you’re keeping up with regular bike maintenance. You can either carry this out on your own if you know what you’re doing or visit a local mechanic or bike shop. Remember to keep your tire pressure up, replace air filters as needed, keep the chains clean, and so on.
Visibility is of the utmost importance to motorcyclists. Motorcycles are among the smallest vehicles on the roads, and it’s easy for negligent or careless road users to not notice them or not even be able to see them, due to the blind spots of their own vehicles. Keep your lights on in dark conditions, avoid blind spots, and make yourself seen.
Carry a First Aid Kit
It’s also not a bad idea to keep a small first aid kit with you at all times while riding your motorcycle. That way, even if any minor accidents do occur, you’ll have at least some form of immediate medical care, readily available, before visiting a doctor and getting yourself checked over by a medical professional.
Motorcycles offer a lot of advantages. They’re more maneuverable than cars and trucks, and many bike enthusiasts would argue that they’re a lot more fun to ride too. However, they come with their fair share of risks and disadvantages too, and it’s important for bike owners to acknowledge these risks and follow the tips above to stay safe, every time they hit the road.