10 Ways to Stay Safe and Informed as a Motorcyclist
Keeping yourself safe as a motorcyclist is the top priority for anyone who rides. There are some inherent risks of being on a motorcycle that you can’t manage with preparation and awareness, but there are also plenty of things you can do to improve your chances. Even after all of your education, knowledge, and training as a rider, you need to be cautious as a motorcyclist. The best way to stay safe as a motorcyclist is to be prepared at all times. The more information you have about riding conditions, road safety, and other pertinent details related to being on two wheels, the better off you’ll be. If you love riding but want to make sure it’s always an enjoyable experience that doesn’t involve hospital stays or police investigations—aside from maybe once in a while—then continue reading for some helpful tips and tricks on staying safe and informed as a motorcyclist.
Always Be Visible
You can’t control what other drivers on the road are doing, but you can control how visible you are as a rider. Being as visible as possible while riding is the single most important thing you can do to stay safe. In the same way that drivers need to pay attention to the road and plan ahead, you need to be there as an attention-grabbing visual. Wear bright clothing, use reflective materials, and make sure your headlight and taillights are functioning properly and are visible at all hours of the day.
Ride at the Right Speed
Speed is a contentious issue in the world of motorcycling. Some people will tell you that if you’re not going as fast as possible, you’re not really riding at all. That’s not true. Staying at a speed that is comfortable and safe for you and the people around you is crucial to riding safely. Too often, riders get into the mindset that the faster they go, the better they are at riding. That’s also not true. If you’re going faster than you’re comfortable with, you’re going to be much more likely to make a mistake and cause an accident. Too many accidents are caused by riders going too fast for conditions or for their skill level. At the end of the day, the speed you’re going should make you feel confident and safe.
Don’t Be Afraid to Stop
One of the most common causes of accidents between bikes and cars is when one of the drivers is either unaware or incapable of stopping in time. Too often, motorcycle riders will feel pressured to keep going or even speed up to keep up with traffic when cars begin to slow down. Stop when appropriate and don’t feel pressured to keep going. Remember that cars are much heavier than you are and need more space to stop.
Stay in Conditioned Shifting Gears
When you’re new to riding, you spend a lot of time shifting gears and getting used to how a motorcycle’s gear system works. Once you’re comfortable, there’s a tendency to forget about how important those gears are in keeping you safe. Too many riders are either completely unaware of their gear selection or they’re always in the wrong gear. At the very least, you should know which gear your bike is in at all times and how it should be used. Gear selection is particularly important when slowing down, especially in heavy traffic or when coming to a stop. Too many gear mistakes can be a serious safety hazard and have even caused accidents.
Check Your Equipment Regularly
The better you maintain your bike, the more likely you are to avoid dangerous breakdowns and other bike-related catastrophes. Your bike should always be in top condition, and regular maintenance will help keep it that way. You don’t have to be a mechanic to know when something is wrong or when repairs may be necessary; you just have to have some general knowledge of what should be where and what it should look like. Keep a maintenance log, and make sure to check everything regularly.
Stay Alert and Aware of Surroundings
Riding is a lot like driving: you’re focused on the road and the other people around you. However, there are some important differences between the two and how you should approach each situation. Because you’re on a bike, you’re much more at risk of being hit from behind. You’re also less visible to other drivers on the road because you’re much lower to the ground. Keep your head up, and make sure you’re scanning the road and surrounding areas regularly.
Don’t Assume You Can See Everything
There are some benefits to being on a motorcycle, and one of them is that you can see more than a car driver can. However, there are also some downsides, such as the fact that you can’t see as far ahead as other drivers. Be aware of your limitations as a rider. Know what’s around you and what you can see. If there’s something that seems out of place, make sure to check it out and be wary of it.
Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling and exciting experience for many people. However, it also comes with a lot of inherent risks that can be minimized by being aware of your surroundings, driving at a safe speed, and making sure your bike is in good condition. If you love motorcycles and all that they have to offer, then make sure you take care of yourself and follow these tips so you can keep riding for years to come.
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