We all know the dangers of riding a motorcycle and it’s something we all shy away from talking about. But let’s be mature about this: there are ways to make riding less of a risk, and we should talk about it more than we do. So let’s do it…
Here are 5 ways to make your motorcycling life that little bit safer, no matter what type of bike you ride.
1. Make sure you have appropriate riding gear
It sounds stupidly obvious, but the gear you wear can save your life.
Gloves: If you fell off your bike, the first thing you’d do would be to put your hands out – that’s why you need gloves – yes, even if it’s a hot day!
Trousers: Have you ever seen road-rash? At only 60mph, a fall could remove up to a centimeter-deep layer of your skin. Seriously, just wear some proper bike trousers.
Jacket: A good jacket, with body armour and rugged material could save your skin and keep you out of a wheelchair and on your bike. It’ll also keep you warm and dry too, which make riding more pleasurable – riding in a t-shirt doesn’t look that cool, anyway, so just put on a bloody jacket!
Helmet: I don’t need to talk you through this one.
2. Never ride in awful weather
Not only can rain and other weather conditions interfere with your ability to see when you are driving, it will dramatically increase your chances of slipping off the road and into a ditch. And anyway, riding is better in the sunshine!
3. Avoid driving when you are tired
You need to be about ten times more alert when riding a motorcycle as you do when driving a car. Why? Because you have to ride defensively – most people won’t even see you, so you need to be prepared to move out of their way. It’s a sad but simple truth. You must concentrate on your own driving, and be alert to other drivers and pedestrians on the roadway.
4. Always work on your riding skills – you can always be better
Part of riding a bike is the feeling you get when you feel totally in-tune with your machine. But this only comes with practice and dedication. Invest in riding courses, whether on-road and/or off-road and equip yourself with the riding skills to take you anywhere on the planet. I recently took a motorcycle training course in London, where I now live, to help me feel more confident whilst riding in the stressful city streets. Don’t be “too big” to sign up; it’s all about being a better rider – it was a lot of fun too!
5. Take your time… it’s not a race
Riding with mates can be lot of fun but it often leads to accidents. Picture the scene: you mate swings by your house and you take off on a day’s ride. He’s been riding for twenty years, you’ve been riding for 2 years. He has his knee down at every turn and is popping wheelies on every straight – you feel like you have to keep up. No one wants to be the “slow and boring” riding partner.
But hell, wouldn’t you prefer to stay alive and be considered the “slow and boring” riding partner than being dead and never riding again?
Seriously, take your time, enjoy your day’s ride at your own pace. It’s not the MotoGP.
Do you have any other riding tips? Leave them in the comments section below or join us on Facebook!