Spring is on the horizon and when it comes to riding a motorcycle, safety is the No. 1 priority. Riders are more exposed than drivers in a car and at a higher risk of serious injuries or fatalities in an accident. Safety for riders is not just a good idea – it can save lives. It’s also important to note that your driving record determines rates and insurance quotes for both car and motorcycle insurance. A ticket or at-fault accident on a motorcycle could impact both policies. Here are a few safety tips for motorcycle riders.
Gear Up Every Time
Today’s motorcycle gear is designed to provide full-body protection from head to toe, but it can only protect you when you actually wear it. A sunny day can bring the temptation to feel the wind in your hair, or go riding in a pair of shorts so you can get some sun. But an accident without protective motorcycle pants or worse, without a helmet, is one you are unlikely to walk away from easily.
Whether it’s a trip to the corner store or a long ride down the highway, gear up every single time you get on your bike. Motorcycles offer little protection to the people riding them, and the best way to protect yourself from injury is to make sure you have the right gear on every time. Wear motorcycle pants, a protective long-sleeved jacket, proper protective footwear, and of course your helmet every time, every trip.
Lightweight gear designed with modern fabrics means you don’t have to overheat even when riding in the summer, so there is no reason to take a risk just to avoid getting too warm.
Make Sure You Are Visible
Motorcycles are smaller than cars and an all-too-common cause of accidents is a driver not seeing the rider, especially at night. Don’t go riding dressed in dark colours, especially at twilight or later. Wear reflective gear that makes you easier to spot so that drivers will be aware of your presence. You can also add reflective tape to backpacks, saddlebags, or other gear to help you stand out in a car’s headlights.
Even during the day, brighter is better. You will be easier to spot in brightly coloured jacket than if you are wearing black. Choose colours like bright yellows and oranges to ensure that drivers can spot you easily on the road.
Safe Bike, Safe Rider
Keeping your bike in top shape is something you probably want to do anyway, but it’s also important for your safety. Make sure that all headlights, turn signals, and brake lights are in good working order, especially when you first take the bike out after a winter in storage.
Check to make sure that everything is functioning well on your bike, including brakes and transmission. Time spent in storage can causes things to be become clogged and not working as they should. It’s a good idea to take your bike in for a quick spring tune-up before you start riding again after the winter.
Keep your bike clean, especially reflective surfaces and lights. Dirt can make it hard for drivers to see you, so give it a wash whenever it starts to build up.
Use Extra Caution on the Road
When you first take your bike out after the winter, it’s not just the bike that might be shaking off the dust. Riders too can get a little rusty in their skills after several months off. Take it slow on your first few rides of the season and use some extra caution until you get used to riding again.
Those who haven’t been on a motorcycle in a while or are new to riding should consider taking some skills courses, which can also sometimes earn you a discount when shopping around for motorcycle insurance quotes. All new riders will have to pass a certain level of education and testing, but even those who have ridden before can benefit from a little extra practice before they hit the road.
Riders should always be aware of what is going on around them on the road. The caution you use when proceeding on a bike needs to be just a little elevated over the caution used in a car. Again, motorcycles can be hard to see, and the rider should take as much responsibility for caution as the other drivers on the road to avoid an accident. Be aware of the cars around you, and remember that just because your bike can maneuver in tighter spots than a car doesn’t mean you should. Change lanes carefully and cautiously.
Motorcycle accidents can be very serious, even what seems like a minor accident. By observing all of the safety precautions every time you ride, you can ensure that you have many years of enjoying the road on two wheels ahead of you.