Posted in Blog on February 26, 2020
Cruising down the road on a motorcycle, for many, can be one of the most fun, freeing experiences that exists. But while operating a motorcycle can be a blast for those that love them, it can also be a big responsibility that comes along with its own set of risks— often, risks that are higher or that hold more intense consequences than if the driver were in a car.
Due to the nature of riding on a motorcycle (think no steel frame, no roof, and no other additional barriers that can help a driver or their passenger out with safety), accidents with this type of transportation can not only be extremely dangerous, they can more easily end in a fatality.
In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just under 5000 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2018.
According to the organization, when comparing the numbers to 2017, there’s been “an almost 5% decrease, but motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities. To keep everyone safe, we urge drivers and motorcyclists to share the road and be alert, and we’re reminding motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to always ride sober.”
With that in mind, what can you do today to ensure driving or riding on a motorcycle is as safe as possible?
It can be easy to get distracted while you’re on a motorcycle ride. You may be thinking about the directions to take to get to a certain location, want to check your phone quickly, or even begin to chat with your passenger or other taking a motorcycle ride along with you. Although there are plenty of distractions out on the road, it’s extremely important to be extra aware and to watch your surroundings.
Even if you’re extremely aware of the things going on around you, other cars may not be. It’s definitely not rare for someone to be responding to a text message, on a phone call, or even for someone to fall asleep at the wheel. The risk, in cases like this, is definitely bigger for a motorcycle driver that doesn’t have the same types of protection that those operating a car may have.
Make a huge effort to know what’s going on around you. Be sure to look in your mirrors at all time, stay away from those that appear to be distracted drivers, and be sure to give yourself enough time and space to respond to any issues or obstacles that may come up around you.
When riding on something that can go from 0 to 60 in no time, it can be incredibly tempting to test your motorcycle’s “legs” and ignore traffic signs, like posted speed limits. Doing so, however, can mean detrimental results for you, and those around you.
Not only does ignoring traffic signs mean a higher risk for getting pulled over by the police, potentially resulting in hefty fines, and even the possibility of getting your license revoked in extreme cases— it can put you and other at the real danger of getting injured or worse. Speeding, or ignoring other traffic warning signs, could mean hitting pedestrians, causing other cars to get in accidents (with or without you), or even cost lives. Be vigilent!
Follow all posted speed limits/traffic signs
Simple things like changing the oil, keeping up with your tire pressure, and replacing air filters can not only help to keep your motorcycle running in optimal condition, it can help to make it a much safer mode of transportation. Many of these things can be done on your own and, when done regularly, can help to keep your engine running smoothly, ensure you have the ability to brake quickly if needed, and can keep resale value high.
When riding on a motorcycle, ensuring that you’re seen by other drivers on the road is imperative. As a smaller means of transportation, it’s easy to get caught in someone’s blind spot when they’re switching lanes, and to become more susceptible to injury due to a higher risk of being thrown off of your bike, getting hit by larger vehicles, etc.
You can minimize this risk by ensuring you wear bright colors, that you use reflective elements in your clothing and helmet when possible, and that you’re using your headlights every time you’re driving.
With certain safety precautions taken, riding on a motorcycle can be an amazing experience. Even more importantly, it can be one that you can do again and again, without injury. Although riding on a motorcycle can mean an increased risk of accidents, by being aware of your surroundings, ensuring you’re following the traffic laws no matter where you are, and ensuring you’re doing what’s in the best interest of yourself and other vehicles, you’ll be able to enjoy riding your bike on the open road for years to come.