This is probably one of the most important articles, at least for me. I’ve done a lot on a motorcycle in my life, from racing to long distance travels. I learned that serious injuries and in some cases fatalities come from the street while commuting. Being someone who lost a dear friend in a simple commute, I’m writing this article as your friend, your brother.
Motorcyclists are exposed to danger, we all know it, and that means we can’t rely on others behavior to stay safe. Riding is a more conscious act than driving, so be present and aware of the environment around you while you’re on your bike. Everyone drives, a few ride and this means that drivers have a lower standard of perception and skills. From my decades of experience (and accidents), I put together a list to keep you safe on the road.
Since accidents are consequences they all have causes
Is speed the bad guy? A static says that only the 3.5% of accidents are caused by high speed. So blaming speed for accident rates it’s like blaming your mechanic for the food poisoning you had in your last travel.
Most motorcycle accidents are caused by cars so why not pay attention to them from the beginning? But in the other cases, it’s human error. Yes, I’m talking about you. Don’t think about the bike, it’s your fault. After decades of riding, I crashed just once for a mechanical failure and it was a prototype on the racetrack. So let’s talk about what can you do to improve your safety.
5 basic rules to improve motorcycle safety
#1 Scan the road ahead
This is actually the basic. See what is happening around you and try to grasp not only the direction of the other vehicles but also the intentions of the drivers. If you’re riding in a group, it’ll be a big difference if you ride together since a weekend or a year.
Practical tip: If you can, check the people behind the wheel to see if they noticed you, if you can’t, slow down.
#2 Don’t trust what you can’t see
Corners and dead angles can hide anything. What if you don’t see the car coming like in a crossroad hidden by a building?
Practical tip: Moderate the speed based on how much road you can see, you have to be able to react to whatever comes out of that intersection.
#3 Don’t buy more bike that you can handle
I’m not just talking about beginners, I know people who stick to the 300cc because it’s a size they can handle well. A 1000cc is not for everyone. You won’t be able to learn with 100+HP. The more power you have, the less room for mistakes you’ll gonna get.
Practical tip: Start gradually with a bike that you can handle and stick with it, at least for the first year.
#4 Know yourself
This doesn’t mean just know your limits, it means to know your mood, your state and how these affect your riding. Be honest with yourself because this can save your life. If you’re having fun trying to catch up your friends who’re a bit quicker than you or probably he’s just riding like an idiot where he shouldn’t. Don’t follow him.
Practical tip: If you had a fight with your girlfriend and you’re angry or not concentrate enough, probably you should let the bike in the garage. And if you go out with others stick with your pace, it’s a ride, not a race.
#5 Wear the right gear
I can’t stress it enough. This can make the difference between bruises and broken bones. Today we have more fashionable solutions than the past so you don’t have to change your style.
Practical tip: If the weather is too hot you can buy an open-face helmet. But as short your ride might be, always wear at least helmet, gloves, and the right shoes.
With great power comes great responsibility
Yes, drivers are dangerous but if you rely on others then do yourself a favor and don’t ride a motorcycle. A motorcycle is by far the most powerful vehicle in terms of power to weight ratio. A good throttle control will keep you out of troubles. Remember, once you put your helmet on you’re on your own.
# Bonus track
Ride with care. Remember that the people in your life care about you. Stay safe for them.