Much like our team of Harley-Davidson fanatics, there are many motorcycle fans and enthusiasts out there. And once you’ve gotten out on the open road with one, it’s no wonder why; between the wind on your face, getting your adrenaline pumping and the vehicle’s gas efficiency, you’re sure to be in for a great time.
However, it’s also no secret that motorcycles can be extremely dangerous. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcycles are 30 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than someone in a car. And almost half of these accidents are the product of single-vehicle crashes.
While these numbers can be intimidating, taking certain precautions can greatly reduce your chances of injury. You can’t always avoid danger, but understanding the risks will help.
The first things to consider is the bike itself. When shopping around, be sure that when you’re seated on the motorcycle, your feet can touch the ground flat. If you find yourself having to stand on your tip-toes, this bike is too big for you and will lower the amount of control you have.
Once you’ve found a bike that allows you to plant your feet firmly on the ground, check to make sure your arms can comfortably reach the controls and handlebar. If you have a hard time reaching, again, keep looking.
Weight should be an important consideration while shopping around as well. If you find it difficult to get on and off of your bike, chances are, it’s too heavy for you. You should find a lighter-weight bike that will be more manageable for you to maneuver and control.
Now, having a bike that fits doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to hit the road just yet. Especially if you’re a new rider, before getting yourself into a heavy traffic area, which is when most cyclists panic and wind up making poor decisions which result in incidents, be sure you’ve familiarized yourself with your bike. The best way to do this may be to take a course that will train you in everything you need to feel comfortable on the road. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation holds classes all times of year all across the country. You can discover the closest training course in your area, as well as plenty of other safety material, through their website.
Of course, there are situations where simply having this comfort and knowledge level won’t be enough to help. This is why investing in antilock brakes could be one of the wisest decisions you could make towards your safety on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are particularly difficult to stop abruptly, especially on wet and slick roads. But with the help of antilock brakes, you have much more control of the bike.
In case your state doesn’t require the use of helmets while riding a motorcycle, you should require this mandatory anyways. Although helmets can be a touchy subject for many riders, studies have proven how vital an accessory they are time and time again. Wearing heavy duty clothing that would protect you from direct exposure to the road in case of an accident is also important. You should always be sure to have on the appropriate gear before even considering hopping on your bike.
The last tip we’ll touch on here, and perhaps the most important one, is that all riders should always be aware. Know your surroundings. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted, even if for a split second. That small lapse in time is all it take for you to wind up in a potentially fatal accident. Keep your eyes on the road. And always use your best judgement.
All-in-all, from a team of experienced riders to you, if you keep safety at the forefront, all that’s left is to enjoy the ride.