Whether you're using your motorcycle to ride to the shops on a cold, wet winter's day or to take a nice cruise in the country on a sunny afternoon, motorcycle safety should always be a priority.
Take a look at our list of top ten safe riding strategies which includes things to do before you head out and things to remember while you're on the road.
- Look out for other road users that are not looking for you. Remember to ride conspicuously, avoid blind spots and assume that the other vehicle won’t stop for you.
- Unlike car drivers with air bags, collapsible steering columns and stability of 4 wheels, riders only have their hazard perception, advance skills and their protective clothing to keep them safe.
- Always wear visible, good quality, protective clothing from your head to your feet. Protect your extremities with a helmet, gloves and leg and arm protection in all weather conditions.
- Motorcycles require more time and distance to stop than cars in an emergency situation and even more so in wet conditions. Always keep a three-second gap to the vehicle in front of you.
- Always do a head check before changing lanes. Just checking your rear view mirror is not good enough.
- It is vital to ride at a speed to suit the conditions. In bad weather, this could mean a speed that’s under the posted speed limit.
- Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is suicidal. Your faculties need to be at a high level to ride a motorcycle successfully.
- Consider the safety of your pillion passenger as well as yourself. They will also need good protective clothing, plus knowledge of motorcycle dynamics and the best ways to assist the rider as a pillion passenger.
- Lending your motorcycle to riders who are unlicensed or inexperienced is a bad idea. There are severe penalties for riding an unregistered motorcycle.
- All intersections and junctions are high risk areas. Slow down when approaching an intersection and be ready to avoid a possible collision.
Riding in the Wet
Winter presents a whole different set of road conditions for motorcyclists. Here are some basic tips for wet weather riding.
- Rug up. Make sure you’ve got proper rain gear that’s breathable yet waterproof. If you’re riding long distances, consider thermals as well.
- Helmet. Make sure your helmet covers your face — a no brainer really.
- Hand grips. Consider investing in some heated handgrips or a pair of hand guards.
- Tyres. Check your tyres to ensure they’re in good condition and suitable for wet weather.
- Watch the road. Things like line markings, metal plates, potholes, tram tracks and wet, soggy leaves can be more dangerous than you think.
- Puddles. Water hides the surface and you just never know what you’re riding into.
- Oil. A coloured rainbow on a wet road is sure sign of oil. Use extreme caution.
- Brakes. You’ll need more time to brake and when you do, apply more rear brake than normal and brake gently.
- Be visible. Because rain makes it difficult for others to see you, now’s the time to put on high visibility clothing.
Motorcycle riders only have their helmet, the gear they’re wearing and their riding skills and ability to protect them from unforeseen hazards and other road users. Whatever the conditions, make safety your highest priority by doing everything you can to protect yourself before you set off on a ride and while you’re on the road.
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