Follow these safety tips to reduce the likelihood that you’ll suffer an injury, and to ensure you’re able to enjoy your motorcycle for years to come.
Motorcycle enthusiasts love hitting the open road and the feeling of freedom a bike can provide. However, the reality is that riding a motorcycle has some inherent risks, with the chances of someone suffering an injury or fatality far higher than in a car.
1. Wear a helmet
While the safety benefits of wearing a proper motorcycle helmet should be obvious, there are still some bikers who refuse to wear them. However, this may be the one single most important safety measure you can take to save yourself from severe head trauma or loss of life. Most motorcycle accidents happen under 50km/h, which is a speed range in which a helmet can do a lot to save your life.
2. Wear protective gear
It’s important to wear the proper riding gear, which means the right clothing and protective accessories that complement your helmet. Often, a leather jacket can be an invaluable form of protection if you skid out, roll or get dragged, helping to literally save your skin.
You should also be wearing riding gloves, full-length pants and even long boots that cover your ankles. You may be tempted to wear a t-shirt and shorts in the summer, but this can be a potentially costly mistake.
It’s also an important step to wear clothing that’s highly visible while riding, especially if you’re out at night. Consider a reflective or bright coloured jacket for the best protection.
3. Obey the rules of the road
Most motorcycle drivers love the excitement riding offers, but it’s important to remember that there are plenty of others on the open road. You have more to lose in an accident, as you simply have less protection than those in an automobile. In fact, in Canada, motorcyclists are 15 times more likely to be involved in a crash than an automobile driver — and also much more likely to suffer a fatality.
To stay safe, obey all traffic rules, frequently signal with your hands, and slow down when handling curves, which is an area where many riders lose control. Also play it defensively with other vehicles by maintaining adequate space between yourself and other cars. This will give you more time to react to vehicles that stop short or behave erratically.
Ultimately, if you feel like you don’t have enough experience riding to properly follow these tips, you should take a riding course or a refresher. Staying safe on the road should be your number one priority on your motorcycle, and the fun will almost certainly follow.