Engine purring like a Siamese cat. Rubber burning with an oh-so-sweet smell. Motorcyclists have it all. Like riding a bicycle on steroids, cruising on a Ducati sure does has its share of thrills. With the wind singing in your ears, zipping through traffic, and speeding on the open roads, it’s great to feel alive. And I’m guessing most people would like to keep it that way. That’s where safety comes in. It is the implementation of vital motorcycle safety tips, when riding or preparing to ride, that makes it possible for you to continue enjoying those thrills on wheels.
Motorcycle Safety Tip #1: Wear Proper Protection
The first and most obvious step towards safety is protection. When driving a car, you know you have the assurance of a seat belt to stop you from going through the windshield in case of a crash. You also know you have the backup of an airbag in the steering wheel. So, as far as you’re aware that these alternatives aren’t implemented in the bike’s design, you have to make plans for if you’re to crash. It might seem questionable, to plan for wiping out, but you’d be better off not crashing and having not needed the safety precautions than the other way around.
Motorcycle protective gear includes:
- Helmets – Finally, the helmet is undoubtedly the most important accessory for any biker. It protects the head, which is our top priority, and shields one’s eyes from the glare of the sun to prevent motorcycle accidents.
- Gloves – The gloves are much more than a fashion accessory; when falling, we might instinctively extend our hands to protect our face. When this happens, without the proper gloves, the asphalt can scrape off one’s palm and their wrists can snap due to the impact.
- Jackets & Trousers – Jackets and trousers, preferably leather ones, protect the arms and legs from possible burns and scrapes.
- Boots – Tough boots with reinforced toes serve to protect the extremities in case of anything going awry.
Motorcycle Safety Tip #2: Be Visible to Other Drivers
Of course, it’s not just what you wear that is important. Another precaution is making sure that you are seen. Making sure that other drivers see you is extremely important. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing —let it even be body armor — as far as another driver can’t see you, you might as well be wearing nothing but your underwear because you’re still at risk
It’s up to the biker to make themselves visible to vehicles driving nearby that may be threatening in size. The biker can put on their backlights and blinkers when riding at night. Or even have LED lights embedded onto the bike’s frame for a cool-looking way of being safe. They can also avoid wearing dull colors, especially after dark, or even go to the extent of giving their motorcycle a bright or luminescent paint job.
Motorcycle Safety Tip #3: Be a Confident & Capable Driver
Furthermore, to avoid bringing injury to yourself or to drivers and non-drivers around you, making sure that you are capable of riding is of paramount importance. When you’re learning to drive a motorcycle take it very seriously. Be sure to get the proper instructions and don’t just do the minimum to get your license. There is a large array of motorcycle instructional courses available to drivers, regardless of your location. When in doubt reach out to your local DMV for some solid recommendations. If you aren’t confident in your ability to handle the machine you’re driving then you’re already putting yourself and a HUGE disadvantage. A big part of being safe on a bike of such horsepower is to be sure you’re in the right senses before you even get on.
Motorcycle Safety Tip #4: Drive Responsibly & Stay Sober!
Just think of the dangers that you could cause if driving drunk or high, not just to others, but to yourself as well. Without all the protection that a car offers, driving a motorcycle drunk is even more dangerous to the user. In fact, drunk driving causes thousands of accidents each year in the US alone. To lower these numbers, bikers can take public transportation like taxis, if they know they’ll be drinking that night. Or a pal could hold your keys if you go out to drink with friends and would then decide if you’re sober enough to drive home on your own.
It’s these preventive measures that, when implemented, give some sense of safety to an individual not just of their life, but the lives of those around them.
If these precautionary measures can be taken, you’ll have less to worry about and can feel free to shift gears and zip around through traffic like a metal sphere in a pinball machine, (hopefully without all the hitting!).
Stay Safe Out There!
– Chi Nnoka
PageLaw’s 2018 Essay Contest Winner
Student @ University at Buffalo