While motorcycles offer a fun, fast, and thrilling way to get around, they can sometimes become dangerous. This is because, unlike cars, they are less stable and lack the protective features that car occupants enjoy.
Unfortunately, many riders are often unprepared when they take their first ride on the road, which increases the chances of an accident. But don’t fret if you are a new rider, as below are motorcycle safety tips from veteran riders to help you stay safe on the road.
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1. Ride When You’re Sober
Riding under the influence is a significant reason behind the over 5,000 fatalities from motorcycle accidents reported annually. In fact, according to the 2018 motorcycle accident statistics, 85% of riders killed in road crashes had traces of alcohol in their bloodstream.
Alcohol or any other illegal drug can impair your decision-making on the road and affect your motor coordination, thus increasing the chances of a motorcycle accident. To stay safe on the road, avoid alcohol before riding so you can maximize your reaction times and make intelligent decisions.
2. Inspect Your Bike Before Hitting the Road
Besides avoiding alcohol, ensuring your motorcycle is safe is another vital step before riding. Experts recommend doing a quick pre-ride check before starting your journey.
According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), riders must check tires and wheels, controls, lights and electrics, oil and other fluids, chassis, and stands before riding.
However, when you are a new rider, you might find it challenging to identify the proper condition of each of the six listed parts on the MSF checklist. Luckily, any certified motorcycle dealer near you might help if you are a beginner rider.
3. Get the Right Bike
When selecting your first bike, you must consider its size, weight, and power. Generally, it would be best to start riding on a smaller motorcycle for several miles until you become proficient before graduating to a bigger bike.
As a beginner, experts also recommend starting on a lightweight motorcycle that fits your riding style. Compared to their heavier counterparts, lightweight bikes are easy to control and make riding more comfortable.
Most importantly, stick to a bike with moderate power output unless you are an expert racer (which is unlikely for a beginner). Anything above 600cc is enough to compromise your safety.
4. Gear Up
The fact that motorcycles don’t have a frame to offer protection makes riding even riskier. For this reason, always wear proper gear before riding, regardless of the weather outside.
For example, wearing a DOT-approved helmet is essential to protect yourself from the elements and debris. In the event of a crash, a helmet can also save you from sustaining traumatic brain injuries, a significant reason most riders die in road crashes.
Besides a helmet, get a leather or denim riding suit (jacket and pants), chaps, non-slip gloves, and over-the-ankle boots. Leather or denim riding gear has strong abrasion resistance properties and will protect your other parts of the body from bruises and cuts during an accident.
Additionally, always wear reflective jackets or vests to stay safe and remain visible while riding at night or in foggy weather.
5. Ride at a Safe Speed
No matter how late you may be, it would help if you refrained from speeding. Speed limits your ability to judge the environment and react quickly to unexpected situations.
An excellent way to ensure motorcycle safety while riding is to find a comfortable speed based on the prevailing circumstances. A safe speed depends on several factors, including the posted speed limit, riding experience, the road, and weather conditions.
For example, riding at top speed will likely increase your chances of crashing if you are in the middle of heavy traffic or on an icy road. But the risk is reduced when you are on an open road with fewer obstacles.