Riding a motorcycle out on the open road can provide thrills that you can’t get with other modes of transportation. Many people are drawn to the liberating feeling of being exposed to the elements while they nimbly navigate through traffic. While riding a motorcycle does have its benefits, people need to be extra conscious of their surroundings in order to prioritize their safety. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting your two-wheeled journey, these essential tips on motorcycle safety will help you enjoy the ride while minimizing potential dangers.
Don’t forget your safety gear!
No matter what you’re doing, it’s important to always have the appropriate gear for the activity; you wouldn’t go skydiving without a parachute or rope climbing without a harness, because those are crucial pieces of safety equipment. Riding a motorcycle is the same way!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected data on motorcycle accidents in 2019, and found that helmets drastically decrease fatalities. When states enforce universal helmet laws an average of 9% of people killed in motorcycle accidents weren’t wearing helmets, compared to a staggering 57% in states without universal helmet laws. Make sure you always grab your helmet before hitting the road, because it can very likely save your life! The best helmets have full-face coverage, because your face and jaw are also protected.
Groups like the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety are working hard to put helmet laws in place for all states in order to make riding safer. Their estimates show that “helmets save the lives of approximately 1,800 motorcycle riders each year and that nearly 750 more lives in all states could be saved if all motorcycle riders had worn helmets.”
If you ride, encourage your friends and other motorcyclists you see to invest in a helmet. You can also join advocacy groups in your state to lobby for universal helmet laws.
Additional safety equipment to include on your rides are:
- Jackets and pants made of abrasion-resistant materials. Leather jackets are popular among motorcyclists not just for the looks, but because they also protect the skin from the road and the elements.
- Sturdy gloves can protect your hands if you fall, and also improve your grip on the handlebars.
- Boots or other sturdy, over-the-ankle shoes are a great way to keep your feet protected.
When picking out your motorcycle riding clothes, prioritize brightly colored or reflected clothing that can increase your visibility. It can be difficult for other drivers to see a motorcycle because of their size, so do what you can to make sure you’re seen by other people on the road.
While the clothing items listed above don’t necessarily align with the typical Floridian outfit, they could be what stands in the way of you getting severely injured or dying in an accident.
Always be sober and alert.
The single most important thing everyone on the road can do to make it a safer environment is to stay sober. Never drive if you have taken a substance that impairs your judgment or reduces your reaction time, like alcohol or drugs. When riding a motorcycle, it’s important to keep your reflexes sharp and your mind clear.
The information about driving under the influence collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows just how dangerous it is to drink and drive. In 2019, “42% of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes were alcohol-impaired.” It truly can be the difference between life or death, so think twice before driving if you’ve had anything to drink.
Driving while fatigued can also be dangerous because it decreases your ability to be alert. Utilize rest stops or hotels during long rides so you can combat fatigue.
Grabbing your safety gear and putting away the alcohol are all things that you should do before your ride in order to stay safe, but what can you do when you’re already on the road? There are plenty of motorcycle driving tips that you can implement in order to have a more enjoyable and safer ride.
As you already know, making yourself visible is a crucial component to motorcycle safety. While bright clothes can assist with that, you can also drive in a way that increases your visibility. Be aware of other drivers and position yourself so you can be seen – avoid hanging out in blind spots to the side or right behind other vehicles. You can also equip your bike with additional lights if necessary.
By assuming other people on the road can’t see you, you’re practicing defensive riding. Some other defensive riding tips include reading the road conditions and anticipating the movements of other vehicles. Adhering to posted speed limits is another simple defensive driving technique
that can save your life.
Lastly, consider the weather before grabbing your keys. All vehicles are impacted by poor weather conditions, but motorcycles especially have a lot more at stake due to their size. Rain and strong winds can impact the grip of your tires and destabilize your ride. Consider waiting out the storm if possible, but if you absolutely need to ride in less-than-ideal weather make sure to slow down and exercise additional caution.
Take motorcycling driving classes.
No matter how long you’ve been riding, there is always room to improve your skills. There are plenty of organizations that have classes available for all experience levels. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a great place to start your motorcycle journey by earning your license, or to hone your skills with one of their advanced courses.
Not only can classes teach you important motorcycle techniques, such as cornering or braking appropriately, but they can also improve your insurance rates. Staying safer and saving money sure sounds like a win-win!
What to do if you are in an accident in Florida
No matter how intentional and careful of a rider you are, there are certain things that will always be outside of your control. If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident in Florida, contact an auto accident and personal injury attorney who can help you with the aftermath, like the team at Martin Hernandez Law Office. Meet our professional, experienced, and bilingual staff by calling us at 813.755.9500 to schedule your FREE consultation.