For millions of Americans, riding a motorcycle is an excellent release from the stress of the real world. And while the feeling of the wind in your face is certainly great, there are also plenty of risks that come with riding a bike. In order to make biking safer and more fun, you’ll need to plan ahead.
4 Safety Considerations And Tips For New Motorcycle Riders
Despite giving just 3 percent of all listed vehicles on the road (and a paltry 0.6 percent of all motorcycle riders miles traveled in the U.S.), motorcyclists account for 4 percent of all traffic fatalities.
This is due to a number of factors but typically comes down to a few specific causes. From a big-picture perspective, most drivers aren’t actively looking for a motorcycle on the road. This makes bikers more susceptible to accidents.
Secondly, a lack of proper safety equipment and/or inexperience on the road means motorcyclists often take the brunt end of mistakes.
1. Choose The Right Bike
When it comes to purchasing a motorcycle, most people are so focused on brand, color, and looks that they forget about the most important elements, like fit and weight.
“Getting the ergonomics right ensures a comfortable ride, better handling, and control of the bike. Both of the arms must reach the handlebars and enhance the ability to turn their side by side without shifting the seat,” TractionLife.com explains. “Your two feet should adequately rest on the pegs. You should also be able to place your legs flat on the ground and reach and operate controls and brakes with ease.”
As far as weight goes, if you can’t push the bike around manually and lift one tire off the ground, it’s too heavy for you. Remember that this is just a beginner bike. If you decide that you want something different in six months or a year, you can always upgrade. Start with the safest option and go from there.
2. Wear The Proper Gear
Before you ever straddle a motorcycle, you need the proper safety equipment. As veteran riders know, it’s best to live by the mantra of ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time. This includes a helmet, eye protection, jacket, gloves, pants, boots, and rain gear (when necessary).
For even better safety, attach strips of reflective tape to your gear and try to wear bright colors whenever possible. You can also invest in safety upgrades on your bikes, such as a high-performance horn and a brighter headlight.
3. Take The Appropriate Classes
You can watch YouTube videos, read blog posts, and listen to people talk about motorcycle safety until you’re blue in the face. Still, nothing replaces getting on your bike and taking a safety course with a trained professional.
The best thing you can do is take a motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course. This will include written assignments and exams and an on-motorcycle test. These courses can be challenging, but you’ll walk away from a much safer biker.
4. Select The Best Times To Ride
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than 42 percent of motorcycle fatalities occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. The most dangerous times of day are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
The safest times of day are 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m to 9 a.m. on weekends.
Weather is another major factor. Inclement weather like rain, snow, ice, and fog, and damage road lead to more accidents, whereas clear, dry weather produces better conditions.
Put Your Health And Safety First
As a motorcyclist, you can’t afford to take your chances. Every time you get on your bike, your life's on the line. If you aren’t looking out for your own best interests, nobody else is. That’s just the cold, hard truth of the matter.
The good news is that there are plenty of proactive steps you can take to keep yourself safe. From choosing the right bike and gear to taking the appropriate classes and being more intentional with the situations that you put yourself in, there are a number of smart things you can do.
Heed this advice and you’ll significantly lower a motorcycle riding risk and become a statistic.