According to motorcycle accident statistics, two-thirds of motorcycle accidents are due to rider error. What’s more, 70% of motorcycle accidents involve collisions with other vehicles. For these reasons, it’s essential to observe relevant motorcycle safety tips.
This article will examine the safety measures to observe before and during the ride. We’ll also look at how you can safely ride a motorcycle in bad weather. But first, let’s begin with the benefits of riding a motorcycle safely.
Best Safety Measures for Riding a Motorcycle
Generally, observing the best safety measures goes a long way in keeping you safe on the road. Note that some measures apply before the ride and others after.
Safety Measures Before the Ride
Before a ride, there is a lot to observe to prevent accidents, personal injuries, and other damages. These include the measures discussed below.
1. Wear Protective Gear and Accessories
Your safety starts with wearing the right gear. You must protect your head with a helmet, your body with a riding suit and jacket, and your feet with boots.
2. Take A Motorcycle Riding Course
Understanding how to ride correctly and observe traffic rules is essential. You can learn these things by enrolling in a motorcycle riding course and safety program.
Most states make it mandatory to obtain a motorcycle license. Consider signing up to get started with the training. Some of the best motorcycle riding schools include Penguin Racing School, California Superbike School, and Kevin’s Schwartz School. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is also an excellent place to learn how to ride a motorcycle safely.
3. Inspect Your Bike Before Each Ride
Inspect your motorcycle keenly and tune it up to ensure everything is intact and working well. Check the brake levers, lights, tires, and clutch.
If something seems amiss, fix it before embarking on the ride.
4. Always Carry a First Aid Kit and Tool Box
These two boxes are essential for any serious motorist. You need a first aid kit within reach to respond to safety emergencies and handle an injury.
On the other hand, you need a toolbox to fix your motorcycle when something potentially unsafe looks out of place.
5. Check the Weather
It’s essential to look at the weather before riding as it dictates your gear choice. For example, if it’s going to rain, you should wear a rain jacket, waterproof riding boots, and a helmet with a visor.
But if it’s freezing, add thermal underwear, heavy socks, and a riding suit.
6. Be Fully Sober
Safe motorcycle riding calls for all the concentration. You shouldn’t ride drunk, as this could impair your judgment. Besides, you will likely undergo a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test, which you’ll fail if riding under the influence.
7. Be Fully Visible On the Road
You are not the only road user. For that reason, you should make it easier for other road users to notice you from afar. You can do that by wearing a brightly-colored reflector jacket and helmet. Such gear enables other motorists and pedestrians to see you from a distance.
Safety Measures During the Ride
You should also exercise caution during your ride. They are just as important as what you do before the ride. Be sure to observe the following to stay safe during the ride.
8. Stay Conscious of Your Surroundings On the Road
It’s important to scan your surroundings while on the road as it enables you to identify blind spots, other nearby motorists, and the road ahead. Spatial awareness on the road offers you enough time to react to any danger, which you probably couldn’t have seen if you were not vigilant.
9. Practice Proper Positioning On the Road
The correct posture for riding a motorcycle is sitting with your back upright, and your shoulders slightly tucked back and relaxed. Such a posture prevents you from launching and discomforting your neck.
Also, you should always stick to the right lane and avoid encroaching in the lanes meant for other motorists. You should also ensure enough distance between you and the motorist ahead so you don’t follow them too closely.
10. Stay in Gear, Always!
It’s vital to shift correctly and stay within a comfortable gear range when riding a motorcycle. In that case, don’t release the bike’s clutch lever suddenly but instead do it smoothly as its speed increases.
Generally, the more comfortable you are at using the gears, the safer you become.
11. Maintain Safety Speeds
Riding at a safe speed comes with many benefits. First, it offers you ample time to react when you face a potential hazard. Secondly, it allows you to maneuver through the traffic more calmly, which improves your safety.
12. Ride According to Your Ability and Skills
While it’s tempting to try some moves with a motorcycle when a beginner, it often leads to personal injuries. So, try to avoid tricks that could cause you harm.
Instead, ride according to your ability and skill. That also means riding at a comfortable speed.
How to Ride a Motorcycle Safely in Different Weather Conditions
Some weather conditions pose more danger than others when riding a motorcycle. That includes the rain and wind and even night or winter riding.
How You Can Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain
The rain can be a safety concern because it makes the surface slippery, thus hard to ride. Moreover, rain can interfere with your vision as the surrounding atmosphere often becomes too cloudy. Furthermore, the dampness could easily make you sick.
With that in mind, these tips are essential when riding in a downpour:
- Wear proper rain riding gear such as a riding jacket, riding suit, and visor with anti-fog properties.
- Pick tires with a knobby profile to avoid sliding
- Locate dry lanes to ride on
- Always ride slowly and brake gently
How You Can Ride a Motorcycle in the Wind
Note that we have three types of winds that impact your riding differently. You must know all three if you are to ride safely in the wind.
- The tailwind (wind blowing in the direction you are riding, thus pushing you)
- Headwind (wind blowing against you from the front)
- Crosswind (wind that blows from the sides)
Here are the tips to observe:
- Ride low behind your motorcycle windshield to resist headwind
- Loosen your body to avoid being swayed by the crosswind
- Since tailwind improves your acceleration and saves on gas, you should lie low and avoid going too fast.
How to Ride a Motorcycle at Night
Many risks make it unsafe to ride a motorbike at night. Such risks include:
- Drunk drivers who are not as careful as you
- Stray animals, especially from the wild that may be crossing the road
- Hidden obstacles such as loose gravel, tall bumps, and potholes
- Reduced visibility due to the darkness
For the above risks, you should observe these safety tips:
- Wear a reflector jacket and helmet to make your face visible
- Use LED lights, headlights, and brake flashers where applicable
- Clean the helmet’s visor to improve your visibility
- Ride at a safe speed
- Make yourself audible by sounding the exhaust
- Avoid blind spots
- Stay alert
- Increase your distance from other motorists by at least 20 feet
Benefits of Riding a Motorcycle Safely
You must ride a motorbike safely for the reasons below.
Avoiding Personal Injuries
Some accidents are inevitable, especially when it’s the fault of other motorists. You may suffer personal injuries when you hit something or someone in such cases.
But if you observe safety practices like wearing a helmet, a riding suit, and gloves, you get to reduce instances of personal injuries.
Avoiding Damage to People’s Property
With some motorcycle-related accidents causing property damage, it’s essential to take safety precautions not to damage anything. Overall, the more conscious you are, the likelier you’ll stay safe and avoid damaging other people’s things.
Avoiding Prosecution for Flouting Traffic Rules
Once you flout traffic rules, you are subject to prosecution like any other motorist. The offence usually is grander if you hit someone or destroy their property. Therefore, observing traffic rules goes a long way in keeping you away from jail.
Avoiding Hefty Penalties
Once you hit someone or damage their property, you’ll most likely pay some penalties. That’s if the prosecution prefers it over a jail term. So, by practising the relevant safety measures, which we’ll share later, you reduce the risk of an accident and unnecessary penalties.
According to NHTSA, 5,014 motorcycle riders lost their lives in 2019, representing what usually happens yearly.
Motorcycle crashes are often fatal. Observing the necessary traffic rules improves your chances of living whenever you take your bike for a spin.
Items You Need to Ride a Motorcycle Safely
Getting the right motorcycle gear is critical to your safety when riding a motorcycle. Additionally, riding gear improves your comfort, and here are the most important ones:
- Helmet – A helmet protects your head against impact and keeps it warm. However, you must ensure that it fits and meets the necessary safety standards.
- Riding Suit – A riding suit keeps you warm and comfortable.
- Motorcycle Pants – They protect your lower body and keep you warm.
- Motorcycle Jacket – Find a fitting motorcycle jacket, preferably leather, to protect you against bad weather.
- Motorcycle Boots – Motorcycle boots protect your feet from impact and keep you warm. Moreover, they make it easy to ride.
- Gloves – Gloves keep your fingers warm and protect them from possible injuries when riding a motorcycle.
- Safety Accessories – These include eye and ear protection. Eye protection comes in different forms, such as riding goggles and visors, while ear protection includes earplugs.
Before You Go…
Observing these motorcycle safety tips is one of the many aspects of riding a motorcycle safely. You’ll also want to consider other crucial aspects, such as buying the proper riding gear. Read my new post to ensure you choose the right gear…
People Also Ask
In addition to the above basics, there are a few concerns that most beginners usually raise, which we think are worth addressing. Here are the top frequently asked questions and their answers.
What Is the Most Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents?
The most typical causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Reckless riding, especially overspeeding
- Riding under the influence
- Failure by other motorists to identify motorcycles in traffic
- Riding while distracted
- Failure to observe traffic rules
- Poor road visibility
What Is the Best Riding Position On a Motorcycle?
The best riding position is sitting on the bike with your back upright, and your shoulders pushed back slightly. In doing so, you relax your shoulders and relieve your back and neck from strain.
How Cold Is Too Cold to Ride a Motorcycle?
Generally, riding a motorcycle is not advisable whenever the recorded temperatures are below freezing point (below 00C or 320F). Motorcycles are more prone to icing, and you may suffer frostbite and hypothermia.
If you must ride in such a condition, you should wear the proper gear, such as a helmet with an anti-fog visor, thermal underwear, riding boots, thick socks, and riding gloves.
Is It OK to Ride a Motorcycle in The Rain?
The rain poses many challenges, making motorcycle riding in the rain risky. Rain makes road surfaces slippery and interferes with your vision. So, no! It’s not okay to ride a motorcycle in the rain.
However, what you can do to boost your safety is to go slow, try to ride on dry lanes, brake properly, and wear the right gear, such as a rainproof jacket, helmet with visor, and riding boots.
How Do I Prevent Back Pain When Riding a Motorcycle?
The primary reason most motorcycle riders suffer back pain is bad posture. So, the best prevention is to sit correctly. Avoid bending too much or staying too rigid. You should also take breaks between rides to boost your back comfort.