3 Important Tips About Motorcycle Safety
If you currently ride a motorcycle or are considering taking up this exciting form of transportation there are some important factors to consider that will help to keep you alive. Let’s face it, riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. There is risk involved in everything you do. However, you can minimize the risk you face by following these 3 very important tips about motorcycle safety.
Always, and I mean always wear your safety gear. Even if your state does not require you to wear any or all of your gear. Your riding gear consists of: DOT approved motorcycle helmet, long sleeve shirt / jacket, full fingered leather gloves, long pants, and over the ankle leather boots.
DOT approved motorcycle helmet: OK, the DOT part of that is really important. I know you have seen all those cool looking chopper riders wearing the ‘skull cap’ helmet. These are not going to do a bit of good should an accident occur. You want to have either a half, 3/4, or full faced helmet that has the DOT sticker on it. There are lots of manufacturers that make some great looking helmets that will actually do what they are designed to do…protect your head in case of an accident.
Long sleeved shirt / jacket: Depending on where you are riding and how fast you plan to ride may influence your thoughts on whether to wear a long-sleeved shirt or a long-sleeved leather jacket (or any thing in between). For a cruise around the neighborhood the long-sleeve shirt should be fine. Anywhere you would be riding faster than you would in a neighborhood you want to wear your long-sleeve jacket. Denim or leather is good, preferably leather for greater friction resistance in the case of an accident.
Full fingered leather gloves: Not much more to add here, just make sure they are comfortable and completely cover your hands. I have worn everything from leather work gloves to leather motorcycle gloves. Obviously the motorcycle gloves will most likely be the most comfortable, being that is what they are specifically designed for.
Long pants: Please, please, please, I beg you, wear LONG pants when you ride. Long sturdy denim pants are usually good enough for casual riding depending on the weather. Of course you can add leather chaps to that as well for additional protection from the elements (in colder weather), and from the road should something happen.
Leather boots: Over the ankle leather boots are the best protection for your very vulnerable ankles. Riding boots, work boots, cowboy boots, what have you. Just make sure they do a good job of covering your ankles.
Please do not be one of those riders that I see all the time. You know the ones I’m talking about. Zipping around town or on the highway wearing a tank top, shorts, flip-flops, and maybe a helmet that offers about as much protection as a shower cap.
There are a couple of things you can do to improve your visibility on the road. The main point is that you want to make sure you are seen by all the drivers around your. Your eyes should be constantly be moving to make sure you know what is going on around you and that you can make sure others see that you are there.
Wear bright colored gear: When you wear bright colored gear you stand out. You are hard to miss and do not blend into your surroundings. I understand you may not want to go out and buy yourself a full set of bright yellow or neon green motorcycle leathers. This can be accomplished pretty cheaply as a matter of fact. Get and wear a reflective motorcycle vest. You know the ones, they look like the kind road crews wear. Another good thing to do would be to put some reflective tape on and around your helmet. Stand out, don’t blend.
Blind spot riding: Stay where other drivers can see you. Most likely you also drive a car so you know what I am taking about here. Cars have blind spots between the side mirrors and the rear view mirror, this is where you want to stay away from when riding near other vehicles. Do your best to stay out of this area, if you can’t see the driver in his or her mirrors they cannot see you.
3. Take a riding class
Many states are now requiring that motorcycle riders take a motorcycle safety course before they can get their licenses. Which I think is great. When I taught these classes I found that even people that had been riding for years learned new things about riding their motorcycle. There are various levels of classes available from the beginner that has never even sat on a motorcycle, to the experienced rider course that will challenge even the most experienced riders. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also has classes in off-road riding and ATV riding.
With these 3 important tips about motorcycle safety I think you can expand your enjoyment of riding as well as staying alive. There is no way to eliminate the risk of riding but it is up to you, the rider, to minimize the risks by following these tips. Wear your protective gear, make sure you are seen while on the road, and take a motorcycle safety class. They may just save your life.