Well for some avid motorcyclists, you may be pretty bummed out that the annual Laconia Bike Week has been postponed to August. I think this is a great opportunity to discuss motorcycle safety! Although most of you have already been out riding so you may not need to hear this, but a nice reminder is always great!
Operating a motorcycle is quite a bit different than driving a car. There is a much larger room for error while operating a motorcycle. You fall into people’s blind spots, you tend to blend in, you have less protection, and a mechanical failure is more likely to be fatal. So… as a rider, we want to make sure we take all the precautions while riding. This week we are going to share a few safety tips to make your ride just a little bit safer!
1. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET WITH A FACE SHIELD OR PROTECTIVE EYE WEAR
Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect against severe head injuries. A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury.
2. WEAR APPROPRIATE GEAR
Make sure to wear protective gear and clothing that will minimize the amount of injuries in case of an accident or a skid. Wearing leather clothing, boots with nonskid soles, and gloves can protect your body from severe injuries. Consider wearing bright colors or reflective gear to make yourself stand out more to other drivers.
3. FOLLOW TRAFFIC RULES
Obey the speed limit; the faster you go the longer it will take you to stop. Be aware of local traffic laws and rules of the road.
4. RIDE DEFENSIVELY
Do not assume that a driver can see you, as nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider's right of way. You should always ride with your headlights on; stay out of a driver's blind spot; signal well in advance of any change in direction; and watch for turning vehicles.
5. KEEP YOUR RIDING SKILLS UP TO PAR THROUGH EDUCATION
If you haven’t taken the motorcycle safety course, you should consider doing so. This will help you understand road laws but also help you develop safe riding techniques. There are advance courses for sharpening skills as well.
6. BE AWAKE AND RIDE SOBER
Don't drink and ride, you could cause harm to yourself and others. Additionally, fatigue and drowsiness can impair your ability to react, so make sure that you are well rested when you hit the road.
Now, just like we evaluate the safety of our cars we must do the same with our motorcycles. Even more so. Let us talk about preparing to ride!
Here are our checkpoints:
Tires: Check for any cracks or bulges, or signs of wear in the treads
Under the motorcycle: Look for signs of oil or gas leaks
Headlight, taillight, and signals: Test for high and low beams
Hydraulic and Coolant fluids: Level should be checked weekly
Once you've mounted the motorcycle, complete the following checks:
Clutch and throttle: Make sure they are working smoothly
Mirrors: Clean and adjust all mirrors to ensure sharpest viewing
Brakes: Test front and rear brakes (each brake should feel firm and hold the motorcycle still when fully applied)
Horn: Test the horn
Ultimately whether you ride motorcycles or not, motorcycle awareness is incredibly important. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. Try to imagine the motorcyclist you are riding behind, in front of, next to, or are passing is a loved one. It takes only a second to cause an accident and as I said in the beginning, a motorcycle accident is far more likely to be fatal than a car accident.