There’s a great sense of freedom to riding a motorcycle, but sadly, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable road users who are more likely to be involved in a fatal motor accident than others. What’s more, many motorcycle fatalities are inexperienced riders, so if you’ve just passed your motorcycle license, you really need to take extra care on the road.
Here are some important tips to help you survive your next ride.
1. Ride a bike that suits you
If you’re relatively new to getting about on two wheels, start off on a lower-powered motorcycle while you hone your skills. You should also ride a bike that fits you, which means reaching the handlebars with ease and your feet (not just your toes) comfortably reaching the ground.
2. Wear the right gear
Sure, it can get hot and stuffy wearing layers, but it’s vitally important to wear properly-fitted protective clothing when you take to the road. This includes wearing enclosed footwear with good traction – definitely not a pair of thongs – and a jacket and jeans or trousers. Like thongs, wearing shorts or t-shirt when riding is a recipe for disaster.
The clothes you wear when riding must be comfortable but not too loose, as loose clothing won’t be as effective as well-fitting clothing if you come off your bike. A comfortable pair of gloves is a great investment, and it goes without saying that a certified helmet which fits you well must also be worn at all times.
3. Look out for hazards
Unlike cars that glide over most hazards, like potholes and gravel, motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to hazards on the road, so extra care must be taken.
Hitting a pothole at speed can see a rider come off their bike, as can sand, vegetation, oil and other debris. This means scanning the road for obstacles and looking around upcoming corners is essential. If you see a hazard ahead, slow down as much as you can or avoid that section of road if it’s safe and legal to do so.
4. Avoid the rain
As motorcyclists experience reduced traction in the wet, which also affects your bike’s handling and cornering, wet roads add to the risk that riders face on the bitumen.
It’s also important to bear in mind that as your visibility is reduced in the wet, so too is your ability to identify hazards on the road. What’s more, other motorists’ visibility is also impacted, which means they’re less likely to see you or your motorcycle. If you do need to ride in the rain, be sure to keep your lights on at all times to help other road users see you.
5. Ride with caution
While you can’t control how other motorists act on the road, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of being involved in an accident: