• 10 Ways to Be Safe on a Motorcycle

    I found this article on About.com, written by Walter Kern. Spring is in the air, and more and more riders are hitting the streets. I thought this would be a good, succinct way to remind all riders, beginners and experienced alike, how to stay safe out there. I believe these are truly good rules to live by.

    10 Ways to Be Safe on a Motorcycle

    1.) Assume Drivers Can't See You: Ride assuming that you and your motorcycle are totally invisible to motorists. That means you must never assume that drivers can see you. The odds are, they can't so believe it yourself and always have an "out" for dangerous traffic situations.

    2.) Maintain Safe Spacing: Leave plenty of space in front and back and to the sides from all other vehicles. Be an island. Stay away from traffic as much as possible. This gives you more visibility and more time to react to situations.

    3.) Anticipate Trouble: Anticipate trouble situations and know what to do when you see them. Analyze what vehicles are doing and try to predict the outcome. Then make sure you're ready to avoid a bad traffic situation.

    4.) Beware of Oncoming Left Turners: Beware of oncoming motorists turning left in front of you at intersections. This is the leading cause of death of motorcycle riders. I'm deadly serious here. I have personally lost many friends to this accident. If you only remember one tip here, let it be this one. Slow down before you enter an intersection. Have an escape route planned. Stay visible. Don't travel too close to cars in front of you. Position your bike so it can be seen by the left turner. Eye contact is not enough.

    5.) Ride Your Own Ride: Don't try to keep up with your friends who may be more experienced. Know your personal limits. Ride your own ride.

    6.) Watch Out for Curves: Beware of taking curves that you can't see around. A parked truck or a patch of sand may be awaiting you.

    7.) Don't Give In to Road Rage: Do not give in to road rage and try to "get even" with another rider or motorist. If you follow these tips, most likely you won't fall victim to road rage. It's better to calm down, slow down, and collect your thoughts first. Then continue on and enjoy the ride. That's what we're all out there for in the first place.

    8.) Don't allow Tailgating: If someone is tailgating you, either speed up to open more space or pull over and let them pass. Life is too short. Remember that a bike can stop faster than a car so you don't want a truck on your tail when you find yourself trying to brake to avoid an accident. Also, don't tailgate the vehicle in front of you. Oncoming drivers can't see you.

    9.) Don't Be Blinded by Sunglare: Beware of riding your motorcycle into sun glare. All it takes is turning a corner and finding the sun either directly in your face or passing straight through your windshield. Some helmets have shields to block the sun. Face shields help somewhat. But sometimes you just find yourself blinded by the light. Slow down, pull over, shield your eyes and look for a way to change direction.

    10.) Avoid Riding at Night: Avoid riding at night, especially late Saturday night and early Sunday when drunken drivers may be on the road. It goes without saying that you shouldn't drink and ride. Going bar hopping? Leave the bike at home and find a designated driver.

    What Am I Trying To Say?

    The best way to be safe is to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course to learn the basic ways to control your motorcycle and to learn how to recognize traffic situations that you need to be ready to handle.

    Always wear protective clothing and a helmet. A tiny beanie helmet held on by a thin strap and affixed with a fake DOT sticker is not enough.

    Maintain your bike so it is safe too. Keep records of the intervals when you replace tires, chains, clutch cables, batteries, brakes, etc. You don't want an equipment malfunction to contribute to a motorcycle accident.

    Practice riding under all kinds of traffic situations. Ride with a buddy if at all possible. Avoid riding long distances alone.

    Become a member of any of our Motorcycles forums and read what other experienced riders have to say about how to ride safely.

    I want you to become an aged motorcyclist because you know how to survive on a motorcycle. I don't want to read about you in the newspaper or on a motorcycle forum or mailing list as yet another motorcycle statistic. Learn how to be safe and responsible on a motorcycle. That's why this Web site and forums exist and that's why I'm writing these tips. The rest is up to you.

    Be Safe
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 10 Ways to Be Safe on a Motorcycle started by MaxiScoot View original post
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. newmonkey's Avatar
      newmonkey -
      Thanks for this. I am going to be riding my new bike (my first bike) by the end of April 2018. All of this is excellent information. Got it all set in stone in my mind
    1. newmonkey's Avatar
      newmonkey -
      I am about to take my MSTC in 8 days! I expect to learn definitely, but I wonder if I could get feedback from experienced riders re: seen the hazard, what is the best solution. I am assuming I will have a little case of the nerves my first official ride out - obviously I want to keep my own survival in mind, but any tips learned from experiences would be mucho appreciado
    1. AlwaysLearnin's Avatar
      AlwaysLearnin -
      Quote Originally Posted by newmonkey View Post
      .... I am assuming I will have a little case of the nerves my first official ride out - .....
      I would agree! Nervous is good. If you're riding without any nervousness - I won't say fear because that's not where you want to be - you're doing something wrong. You don't want to fear what you're doing, that will take the enjoyment out of it. It should be more like the first time riding a roller coaster. THAT feeling of nervous and anticipation.

      Your first time out (and possibly more), in traffic, will be an eye opener. The feeling is akin to riding a bicycle in the middle of traffic. The exposed feeling. The scents (is that cigarette smoke, ooohh I smell flowers!) It's not something you experience in a car. It's AWESOME!

      Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    1. newmonkey's Avatar
      newmonkey -
      Thanks!

      I do not fear it
      I am so excited.
    1. Sorg67's Avatar
      Sorg67 -
      If we could do a Vulcan mind meld, I suspect I would agree completely with Alwayslearnin, but when I think of "nervous" I do not want it when I ride. I want extreme awareness and importance of not letting my focus waiver. But I do not want nervousness. When I experience what I describe as nervous, I have more difficulty handling the bike effectively.

      As I said, I suspect this is exactly what Alwayslearnin means and we are just thinking of words differently. It is an example of how words can be extremely limited in conveying meaning.

      Part of what I think Alwayslearnin means by "nervousness" is what attracts me to riding. It captures 100% of my focus. It takes me away from everything else. It is like going to a different world. Nothing else matters.

      I think what "Alwayslearnin" means about riding without nervousness is avoiding complacency. Complacency is dangerous. It is important to appreciate the risk. Somewhere between nervous and complacent is where I want to be. Confident but not cocky. Careful but not tentative.
    1. newmonkey's Avatar
      newmonkey -
      Hi Sorg67

      I agree with you both. The nervous edge an Olympic athlete might have before the event is the one I mean.. Thanks so much for all you said. Complacency definitely has no place out there. I currently, and have for many years, ridden a bicycle on the roads and other places where hazard exist. Being aware and focused is key.

      Thanks again..The open road is a beautiful place with destinations in all directions. And a little vibration between the thighs should be just the creative boost I will love.
    1. Trials's Avatar
      Trials -
      "The nervous edge an Olympic athlete might have before the event is the one I mean.."

      When I am waiting my turn to ride a section, sometimes I can't even feel my legs when the checker signals me into the section. Usually happens on the first section when there is a long lineup and then from there on I just try to have fun. We can put an amazing amount of pressure on ourselves and sometimes over-thinking can get you into as much problem as out of it. Is why it is so important to practice riding until it becomes a totally natural action.
    1. Sorg67's Avatar
      Sorg67 -
      This is an interesting discussion of semantics and/or motorcycle safety. I might be very happy to have the kind of nervous edge an Olympic athlete might have before competing in a trials event. I might expect to fall. I might push myself to the very limit of my ability. Maybe on a track in full race leathers I might be that nervous and willing to take that risk given a more controlled environment and greater willingness to risk a crash.

      On a public road, I would not push myself anywhere near the limit of my ability. I would want a substantial margin of error to deal with the unexpected. If I felt that kind of nervousness before a ride, I would take it as an indication that I need more range practice before heading out on the road. Or maybe neighborhood practice.

      But, if the nervousness goes away when you get rolling, it would be a different matter.
    1. newmonkey's Avatar
      newmonkey -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sorg67 View Post
      This is an interesting discussion of semantics and/or motorcycle safety. I might be very happy to have the kind of nervous edge an Olympic athlete might have before competing in a trials event. I might expect to fall. I might push myself to the very limit of my ability. Maybe on a track in full race leathers I might be that nervous and willing to take that risk given a more controlled environment and greater willingness to risk a crash.

      On a public road, I would not push myself anywhere near the limit of my ability. I would want a substantial margin of error to deal with the unexpected. If I felt that kind of nervousness before a ride, I would take it as an indication that I need more range practice before heading out on the road. Or maybe neighborhood practice.

      But, if the nervousness goes away when you get rolling, it would be a different matter.

      Agreed on that perspective. Of course the mind of an athlete is to win. And win I want, but safety first. I expect to overcome the nerves with experience and I believe very strongly in mind over matter.

      Thanks for all this input.
    1. AZridered's Avatar
      AZridered -
      In MSF RiderCourses we discuss Confidence. Too much or too little often lead to a too much or too little caution.
      The overly cautious rider won't pull out onto a road when there is an approaching car in sight.
      The overly confident rider pulls out without making much note of how much space is available. Assumes they'll always make it.
    1. newmonkey's Avatar
      newmonkey -
      Excellent observation. This is true of ALL drivers as well. As riders, no cage means we are much more vunerable, but you are so right - does no one any good to be paranoid either.
    1. AlwaysLearnin's Avatar
      AlwaysLearnin -
      I agree with Sorg and Trials. It's all semantics. Those nerves are probably more self preservation than anything. It brings focus. Makes you hyper-aware. Then again, it's a brand new experience. Your mind needs some time to wrap itself around it, so some of it probably is just plain ol' nerves. But boy, are they GOOD nerves!

      Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    1. newmonkey's Avatar
      newmonkey -
      update! New riders are nervous. New riders need to forgive themselves for their stupid LITTLE errors. New riders need to remain calm, stay focused and remember to enjoy the ride all at the same time. Practise makes permanent - a wise quote indeed.
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