blank 09/14/15 09:27AM Motorcycle Safety Training, New Riders, Smart Bikers

Ride Free. Ride Safe: Tips for Smart Bikers

Motorcyclists know the risks they take. For some riders, the danger is even part of the appeal. Everyone knows a fallen rider, some old friend who slipped up big time and either died or hurt himself too badly keep on with it. Motorcyclists ride on, though. The open roads and wild winds are always calling.

Motorcyclists are a smart bunch, too, and like to keep informed of safety. You’ve got to keep alive if you’re going to keep biking. If you want to ride into a long life, you’ve got to get the good gear, take some traffic training, survey your surroundings, and always stay alert. Here’s how.   


Proper protection begins with gear. Gear is your last line of defense against the dangers of biking. Other motorists, the weather, and the pavement all put you at risk of serious injury or death. Remember never to leave the garage without this essential equipment:

  • Helmet. This is, of course, number one. Protect your head. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), riders who crash without a helmet are “40 percent more likely to sustain a fatal head injury” than those wear one. It’s an obvious choice.
  • Body Protection. In case of an accident, you’ll need something between your body and whatever you hit. Concrete, steel, gravel, and other road hazards can tear through skin like it’s tissue paper. Cover yourself with good, heavy leather to get a tough layer of resistance against these abrasive elements. You’ll need a jacket, gloves, and pants.
  • Bike. Get a safe, trusty bike, and keep up on maintenance. Consumer Reports states that bikes equipped with anti-lock braking systems are significantly less likely to get into accidents. And watch your engine power. Beginning riders may want to start with a small cycle and build up their rudimentary skills before jumping on some huge, nasty beast of a bike. Lastly, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) advises against tires advertised as “long-lasting” for riders who plan on braving wet weather, due to their poorer traction.     


You’ll be safer if you know what you’re doing. It’s that simple. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers courses everywhere, and their site makes the courses easy to find. MSF are non-profit, endorsed by the DMV, and sponsored by some of the top companies in the auto business. They offer courses for beginners and experienced cyclists. Every dollar you spend on training could mean saving thousands in hospital bills and legal fees.  


Many factors influence motorcycle safety. Not all of them are under your control. Weather, traffic, and road conditions can take you by surprise, and the odds are that you’ll experience trouble with all of the sooner or later. Be prepared for:

  • Weather. Always check the forecast before you head out, and have a reliable weather app on your phone. Rain can make the roads slippery, muddy up your vision, and make it hard for other drivers to see you. Rain means pain, and mud means blood.   
  • Traffic. Watch for the Other Guy. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by inattentive drivers, according, to Andrade Law Offices. They might not see you, so you need to see them. Keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles, and, of course, always obey posted speed limits.
  • Road conditions. Avoid bad, bumpy, poorly kept roads, especially if it’s wet out. The DMV advises that things like manhole covers, train tracks, and potholes can all become quite hazardous.  


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