Welcome to the Motorcycle Safety Guide
We cover all of the basic elements that you need to ensure you are as safe as possible when riding your motorcycle.
Everything you need to know about motorcycle safety
First of all let me introduce myself; my name is Roy Ford and I am a motorcycle enthusiast. I have been riding, buying, repairing and selling motorcycles since as far back as the 80s and I also write for several online publications including the Simple Motorcycle Guide. My favorite type of motorcycle is the Harley Davidson, which I have had a passion for since I was just a child. However, I do work on all different types of motorbikes and I also own several bikes including a Harley Davidson cruiser and a Yamaha XT 1200, among others.
Because I have been a motorcycle rider for a long time, I am well aware of the dangers out there for motorcycle riders compared to drivers of most other vehicles. Of course driving anything on the public road systems is dangerous, but as bike riders we have additional exposure and far more precautions that need to be taken to ensure maximum safety.
This website is focused on driving home those safety measures and this article is an introduction to those measures.
Purchasing the right safety equipment
The first and foremost principle when it comes to motorcycle safety is making sure you purchase the best equipment. This includes your motorcycle leathers to protect your body in case you crash, equipment such as dash cams that provide indirect safety benefits and of course, the primary peice of safety equipment; your motorcycle helmet. There are so many different types out there, they have some cool features and some great designs. However, it is important that you always choose the best motorcycle helmet based on safety first and foremost.
When looking at different types of helmets you will find full face, three quarter face and half face helmets and unsurprisingly the full face helmet is the safest one. This style of helmet offers maximum protection for your face as well as being able to absorb the impact more efficiently, should you crash or suffer some form of collision.
There are also safety standards that you can look out for when purchasing a motorcycle helmet. In America, FMVSS218 is the technical standard that defines the minimum criteria that a helmet manufacturer must certify against according to the department of transportation (D.O.T). You should look out for this standard whenever you are purchasing a new helmet.
As well as your helmet, your outfit is also very important for your safety. Ideally you should be looking for a full body leather suit so that you are protecting not only your upper body but also your legs.
Being aware of any damaged caused to your safety gear
It’s all very well having the best safety gear, but it is important to keep a check on your gear – in particular your helmet and your leathers. If you see any signs of damage – and in particular, if you have been in any sort of accident no matter how minor, then you should consider replacing your safety gear immediately. If your gear has been damaged in any way then it will not offer the same level of protection should you suffer another collision or accident. Integrity checking doesn’t finish with your safety gear, you also need to carry out similar checks on the motorcycle itself including regular checks of your engine, oil levels, bike chain condition and of course your motorcycle tires.
General motorcycle safety
It is important that you ride on a road safe motorcycle as not doing so can put you at high risk, even if you are wearing all of the correct safety gear. When you purchase a motorbike make sure that it has a full service history as well as details of any other relevant information. Basically, when you purchase the bike you need to be certain that you know its history and in particular that it has not been involved in any crashes, that it is in full working order and that it has been deemed road safe.
In addition to this, it is a good idea to get the motorcycle checked over by a certified bike mechanic. You can do this before purchasing if possible, otherwise it is fine to do after you have purchased but definitely before you start riding the bike. Having a full checkup ensures that the bike is going to be perfectly safe and even if it has a full service history, a checkup will highlight any minor issues such as engine problems or tyre wear.
Brushing up on the highway code
This is particularly important if you are a new motorcycle user. You would be very wise to brush up on your highway code and make sure that you understand all of the road rules, signs and driving best practices. You should consider that even if you have been driving for many years, there are rules and regulations on the road that are specific to motorcycles so if you have driven cars up to this point then there will likely be specific things you are not aware of when it comes to riding a bike on the road.
Being aware of other road users
Even if you have taken all of the neccesary steps to ensure your safety whilst out on your motorcycle, there is always a chance that you will come across another road user who is not acting sensibly on the road. You may be the safest driver in the world but if there is a dangerous driver out there and you come across them you could still find yourself in big trouble. The best way to minimise this risk is to do everything properly yourself and the key thing is to be extremely aware of other road users. If, for example, you see someone driving erratically or perhaps driving too closely to you, then try to get away from them. Even if this means slowing down, or perhaps speeding up to pull away from them, the best thing you can do is increase the distance between you and them.
Equally, you should always be very alert for other road users who might not have seen you. The obvious consideration here is when you are coming out of a junction – or even when you are driving past a junction yourself. In these scenarios don’t ever take it for granted that another road user will observe the rules of junctions, or even that they will know you are there. In fact its better to assume they haven’t seen you and don’t know you are there. This will make you proceed with caution and can help you to avoid unecesary accidents, rather than leaving it as the responsibility of the other road user to see and avoid you.
If you are reading this as a car or other vehicle driver and you want to be more aware of motorcycle users that is fantastic. You can apply these same principles by looking at things from the bike riders perspective. It is a dangerous place for a rider who is just purchased on the top of a super-fast machine with nothing more than a helmet and a leather outfit to protect themselves. If you did have an accident or colision involving you in a car and the rider on a bike, you can imagine who would typically come off worse.
As such, you should consider it your responsibility as a road user – be it a car, lorry or bike driver – to look out for motorcycle riders when you are out on the road system; be extra vigilent for them, give them plenty of room and always be aware of anything that might come out of the blue. As the saying goes – look once, look twice and then look again. This advice can help to avoid a bad accident on the road and keeps everyone as safe as possible.
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