As the old saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Motorcycles may look cool and feel fun to drive, but they just aren’t as safe to operate when compared to automobiles. While that may be appealing to thrill seekers, more conservative individuals definitely won’t find the idea as attractive.
Motorcycles travel as fast as other vehicles, but don’t have the safety features that many car owners take for granted. First of all, because motorcycles only have two wheels that obviously makes them more unstable and inherently dangerous than cars. Secondly, they don’t have seatbelts. Because of that, the rider is much more likely to get thrown off the vehicle during an accident. Lastly, motorcycles don’t have an external frame. This means that the rider’s body will be directly exposed to the the road, debris, and other dangers of a crash.
Fortunately, riding a motorcycle doesn’t have to be a life or death experience. There are plenty of things that a rider can do to keep himself and the people around him safe. Here are a few of these tips:
- Wear your helmet. Though this tip may seem fairly obvious, you’ll be surprised by the sheer number of riders who simply choose not to wear their helmets. This figure becomes even more significant once you consider the fact that head injuries are the most common cause of death for motorcycle riders. So, to maximize your safety and well being you should always wear your helmet whenever you’re out for a ride.
But don’t settle for any old helmet. You’ll want one that meets the minimum standards set by the Department of Transportation. A full-face helmet, which fits well and does not obstruct your field of view, will probably be your best bet.
- Drive defensively. Keep in mind that motorcycles tend to be smaller and more difficult to spot than cars, so you should never assume that other drivers have seen you. Stay safe by being extra cautious, leaving generous amounts of space between you and other vehicles, and slowing down whenever you feel the need to. Remember that one slipup could easily cost you or someone else their life.
- Teach your passengers. While having someone to ride with can be an enjoyable experience, your passenger also has his own role when it comes to safety. Make sure that your passenger is wearing the right protective gear. Sturdy shoes, a durable jacket, and, of course, a quality helmet should be considered as standard equipment. If you’re not used to having a passenger, you should also take some time to practice in a safe environment like an empty parking lot. In particular, you’ll want to get a feel for how your motorcycle handles the extra weight.
- Watch out for bad weather. Since motorcycles are more unstable than cars, you’ll need to be extra careful when driving in bad weather. But the problem isn’t just the lack of stability. You’ll also have to contend with limited visibility because of the lack of a windshield and wipers. Moreover, riding in the rain can hurt and that pain can be an additional distraction while you’re on the road, so check the weather predictions before going out for a ride. Should there be hail, snow or heavy rain, it might be best to just leave your motorcycle at home. If driving in bad weather is unavoidable, leave a generous amount of space between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for the lack of traction. Lastly, don’t hesitate to stop and take shelter if the weather gets any worse.
- Avoid distractions. Distractions are always bad for driving, but they’re doubly so when you’re driving a motorcycle. Always stay on your guard and focus all of your attention on the road, traffic, and pedestrians. In addition, don’t listen to music, stay off your phone, and remove other potential sources of distraction.