With 2014 just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about
New Year’s resolutions. Motorcycle riders in particular can use
this time to identify riding habits that need improvement and create resolutions
to practice safer riding. In an effort to help reduce the amount of motorcycle
accidents that occur, bikers can adhere to the following safety tips.
Motorcycle Rider Safety Tips
Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Slow down or change lanes safely if other vehicles cut in front of you.
Following at a safe distance will help provide sufficient braking distance
in case of an emergency and also provides a better window for evasive
maneuvering if necessary.
Ride Defensively: Looking twice is a major part of riding a motorcycle defensively. A rider
should never assume that that the other driver sees him/her. Check your
mirrors, signal, and then look again over your shoulder before changing
lanes. It is also important to look around the corner through a turn.
Assume the cars in front of you will not use their turn signals and be
prepared to react safely to cars that suddenly change lanes or abruptly
turn off of roadways without signaling. At an intersection, wait to proceed
until you are confident that other drivers see you.
Turn Safely: Slow down just before entering a turn. If you turn a little too fast,
gently drag the rear brake to control your speed and stabilize the bike.
Keep your feet up on the pegs at all times, with your knees in against
the gas tank. Do not stick your foot out and drag it on the ground and
do not turn your knee out. Keep the knees in and lean in with your whole
body. In U-turns, keep your weight centered. Keep both feet on the pegs
but shift slightly more weight to the outside peg. Drag the rear brake
slightly through slow, tight turns to help stabilize the bike and balance
out fork sensitivity.
Choose Visible Colors: Vibrant or fluorescent yellows and greens are most easily detected by
the human eye. Lime yellow is the most scientifically “eye catching”
color. Alternately, orange has a wide variety of hues and saturation levels
and ranks high on the visual sensitivity scale. If red is your preference,
opt for brighter reds and avoid dark shades like maroon. For a more subtle
look – consider white. White jackets, white helmets and white paint
reflect the full light spectrum and stand out considerably in low light
and darkness. Avoid tan, beige, and gray/silver.
Maintain and Inspect: Perform a quick walk around and look closely for gasket leaks, wet hoses,
loose belts, underinflated tires, and light-bulb functions. Keep a consistent
preventive maintenance schedule. The basics such as regular oil changes,
brake and chain adjustments, and air filter inspections can help keep
a bike running reliably while also keeping repair bills to a minimum.
Throttle Evenly: Operate the throttle smoothly and at a consistent rate. Cruising in the
proper gear with light, even throttling creates less wear on the engine
and powertrain components while keeping extra hp on reserve for quick
acceleration or engine braking. Steer smoothly and firmly. Never panic
and jerk the handlebars. Smooth, even inputs can help a rider maintain
stability while putting the bike through less wear and tear over the long term.
Check the Mirrors Often: Get into the habit of checking your rear-view mirrors every five to seven
seconds as well as each time you disengage the throttle and prepare to
brake. Watch out for vehicles following too closely or coming up quickly
behind you before braking or turning. If you’re concerned about
a distracted or aggressive driver behind you, change lanes or pull off
onto the shoulder (only if it’s safe) and let the driver pass you.
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