Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Deadly
Because motorcyclists are less protected than someone driving a car or truck, they are more likely to be injured in an accident. Additionally, because they are less visible than larger vehicles, other drivers often do not see them, and motorcycle accidents are unfortunately common. However, this does not mean that you cannot safely enjoy your hobby.
With increased attention to safety and awareness, motorcycle accident rates are going down. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcyclists killed decreased by almost 5% in 2018. With a little extra attention to safety, new and seasoned riders alike can enjoy their time on the open road and help keep these numbers trending down.
Keep reading to brush up on a few good motorcycle safety tips.
Stay Alert & Awake
As a motorcyclist, you must remain aware of what is going on around you. Because you are not as easily seen by cars and other vehicles on the road, you want to pay extra attention to traffic flow. Other vehicles often change lanes without warning or stop unexpectedly. You also want to be aware of hazards on the road. Trash and other objects that a car can drive over with ease can cause a serious accident for a motorcyclist. Avoid splitting lanes, and make sure to keep plenty of distance between yourself and other cars on the road.
Additionally, you want to avoid riding while tired. Similarly, never drive after drinking alcohol or while under the influence of any other substance. Being tired or under the influence can seriously inhibit your ability to respond to road hazards and may lead to serious accidents.
Always Wear a Helmet
Helmets save lives. Even though Arizona does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets while riding (unless they are 18-years old or younger), you should always wear this important piece of safety gear. Full-face helmets are recommended as they offer you more protection than other styles. Additionally, they block wind, debris, and bugs from hitting you in the face or getting in your eyes because they have a faceguard. Many models can be fitted with internal speakers or communicators, allowing you to listen to music or communicate with your riding buddies.
If you decide to forgo a full-face helmet, consider wearing some sort of face shield or goggles to keep your eyes protected. Problems with visibility can lead to accidents.
Check Your Bike Before Hitting the Road
Before taking your motorcycle out for a ride, always give it a once over to ensure all parts are functioning correctly. Check the brakes, head and taillights, signal indicators, tires, controls, etc. The last thing you want is to be surprised by a malfunction or a breakdown while riding. If you are new to riding or unfamiliar with all the parts of your bike, spend some time reviewing your owner’s manual.
It is also a good idea to stay abreast of any part recalls that might be affecting your motorcycle. Though manufacturers do their best to notify owners, if you purchased your bike from a prior owner or have moved since you bought it from a dealer, they may not be able to get ahold of you. A quick, easy way to do this is to enter your VIN into the NHTSA recall search tool.
To learn more about checking for motorcycle part recalls, review our blog on the topic here.
Make Yourself More Visible to Other Drivers
Increasing your visibility on the road can help other drivers see you and avoid an accident. Ensure all of your bike’s lights are in good working order and clean, especially your brake and indicator lights. It is also a good idea to wear brightly colored clothes or a reflective safety vest. Safety vests are inexpensive and can be easily worn over your other motorcycle gear. You may also wish to install additional safety lighting on your bike. For example, you can now find lights for your helmet that are hard-wired and connect to your brakes, acting as an additional brake light.
Avoid Riding in Bad Weather
Bad weather is a major factor in motorcycle accidents. When it rains, the roads become slick or flooded, and it can be difficult to stop, especially unexpectedly. High winds can make motorcyclists unsteady while they ride. Similarly, with bad weather comes reduced visibility, making it harder for you to see what is going on around you and harder for other drivers to see you. If you have to ride your motorcycle in bad weather, make sure you wear appropriate gear and do appropriate safety checks on your bike before leaving.