Riding a motorbike is much riskier than driving a car. Usually, the biggest risk is other drivers on the road. What would usually be a small accident between two cars, can be fatal if it’s a car and a motorbike. Despite this risk, people still hit the road on two wheels. And, of course, it’s worth it. But, with the risks, it’s also worth protecting yourself as best you can. This post will go through some of the equipment you use, and how you ride the bike itself.
- The Gear
Helmet: Arguably, this is the single most important piece of gear in the motorcyclist’s arsenal. It protects you head, one of the most vulnerable parts of the body. So, when buying a helmet, price should be a minor concern. Your country will have several helmet safety standards, each achievable with a higher level of protection. You don’t usually have to buy the most expensive helmet to get the highest tier. Often, mid-range helmets will fit the bill just fine. Cheap helmets aren’t the way to go when you’re thinking about safety.
Body Protection: In most cases, you should have full body protection when riding a motorcycle. Having skin exposed can make an accident much worse, especially at high speeds. If you fall off of a bike when you’re going fast, the friction alone isn’t enough to stop you. You will slide on the floor, and any skin will be torn to shreds. Leather is commonly used because it’s comfortable to use in warm weather, and it’s waterproof. Leather is also extremely durable, so you don’t need as much armor. If you can’t afford leather, though, fabric motorcycle gear isn’t very expensive. It can make a good substitute if you use additional armor correctly. You can find information about the best options when it comes to motorcycle gear on the Bikers Basics’ selection page.
Gloves and Boots: When you have an accident on a bike, the joints around your hands and feet are at particular risk. The same sliding that can tear up your skin will also break bones if they’re not protected. Proper motorcycle gloves and boots will be designed to stop breaks, and will also protect other sensitive areas. Most motorcycle gloves have armored knuckles, to avoid scuffs and breaks. And, most boots have reinforced toes, so that your toes don’t get broken in an accident.
Ultimately, it’s important to have all of your skin covered. For all of these items, you also want to think about visibility. Motorcycles are harder to see than cars, and a lot of people don’t think about them. So, you need to make yourself as easy to see as possible. A lot of motorcycle clothing is dark, though. So, you may need to wear a luminescent jacket. They’re not very fashionable, but it’s worth wearing them to keep yourself protected.
- The Road Sense
Speeding: You will have learned in your riding lessons that you should never break the speed limit. Of course, it’s easy to break the speed limit on a bike because of the rush you feel when doing so. But, speeding is one of the biggest causes of accidents worldwide. Plus, if you get caught, you’ll likely have to pay a fine or even be banned from using the roads. If you’re speeding it makes it harder for other road users to judge your speed. It also makes it harder for you to stop, if something goes wrong. Both of these issues can cause accidents. And, at high speed on a motorbike, accidents are always at their worst.
Filtering: Filtering can be a very dangerous habit. In most places, it’s perfectly legal. And, sometimes, it’s also perfectly safe. But, other times, it can be very dangerous. You have to use your judgement before trying to filter between stopped cars. A lot of the time, good judgement can only come from experience, though. So, it’s best to avoid filtering all together if you’re new to riding. Never filter through moving traffic; this is incredibly dangerous and is usually illegal.
Cornering: As a new motorcyclist, you should have learned to countersteer like a professional before you ever set out on the road. Using normal steering will work at low speeds; usually anything below 20 or so miles an hour. But, at high speeds, you’ll struggle to make corners if you can’t countersteer correctly. If you can’t countersteer, you’ll probably end up with your bum on the road in no time at all. Always look in the direction that you want to turn, and gentle nudge the bike in the other direction. This will tilt the bike so that it can make the corner.
Awareness: Because car drivers struggle to see and think about motorbikes, it’s your job to think for them. When approaching junctions, always look ahead and be aware of cars that could pull out in front of you. Always try and know where cars are when they’re around you. Be aware of clear areas when on busy roads, so that you can escape if anything goes wrong. Being aware will help you to avoid accidents before they ever become a problem. Of course, you can’t prevent everything, but reacting can still lessen the damage.
Preparation: It’s important to know exactly what to do if you come off of your bike. Positioning yourself correctly during a long slide, on a wet road, can drastically improve the damage done to your body. Being prepared will make you confident in an accident. It will make it easier for you to make quick decisions, that could save your life. Say, for instance; you come off of your bike on a busy road. If you’re panicking, you could get hit by an oncoming car. But, if you’re prepared, it will be easy to get out of the way.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to start working on your motorcycle safety. It’s not worth risking your life over minor improvements to comfort or price. And, it’s especially not worth it for fashion, either. Be careful, and ride safe!