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10 Safety Tips for Riders & Drivers During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

motorcyclists on open road

“Driving a motorcycle is like flying. All your senses are alive.”

Hugh Laurie

There’s no denying that motorcycles are tempting, fun and fuel-efficient. But it’s also true that riding a motorcycle poses more risk than getting behind the wheel of a car. With an enormous amount of space comes tremendous responsibility for motorcycle riders and the drivers of vehicles on the road. We all invoke a personal responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe. Read below for a few motorcycle safety tips for both riders and drivers to help along the journey.

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:

1. Take a safety course

Courses are offered in all states and ensure you practice the maneuverability needed to ride safely on the road. Practice makes perfect, so before you find yourself in a situation and panicked about your next move, have the necessary skills under your belt to handle yourself appropriately and your bike. Find a course near you at www.msf-usa.org.

2. ATGATT

All the gear, all the time. Regardless of your state’s laws, take the personal responsibility to protect yourself against accidents. Just because you do not have to wear a helmet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Long sleeves, boots, pants, and gloves are recommended to reduce road rash. Accidents can become fatal in an instant. Make sure you are doing all you can to minimize injury.

3. Weather Conditions

Even a slight change in the weather can alter your driving experience. Check the weather before you ride. If rain, ice, or snow are in the forecast, consider changing your dates.  

4. Inspect your bike and gear before riding

Remember T-CLOCS. Inspect your tire and wheels (T), controls (C), lights and controls (L), oil and other fluids (O), chassis (C), and stands (S). Your gear cannot protect you if it’s torn or you chose not to wear it.

5. Be aware of your visibility

Motorcycles are pretty narrow and are not seen as quickly on the side or rear-view mirrors. Always keep yourself visible. Do not tailgate.

Safety Tips for Drivers on the Road with Motorcyclists:

1. Be Aware 

When learning to drive a car, new drivers are taught to pay close attention to other vehicles at all times. Pay extra close attention when you see a motorcycle on the road near you. Over half of all motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle, and often, the driver of the car will say, “I didn’t see them.” See more than just the bike; see the person beneath the helmet and give the rider ample space.

2. Take Extra Time

Remember that motorcycles often slow down by shifting to a lower gear or releasing the throttle, and brake lights may not always be activated when doing so. It would be best if you kept a safe distance between yourself and the motorcycle to avoid a collision.

3. Limit Distractions

This is of key important whether driving alongside another vehicles or a motorcycle; limiting distractions is essential for the safety of all drivers. Minimize distractions such as eating, playing with the radio, and using your cell phone. Pay close attention when you are on the road with motorcyclists as their driving techniques are different from those in full-size vehicles.

4. Depth Perception

Motorcycles, because of their narrow stature, often appear further away in a mirror. When noticing motorcycles in a mirror, always assume they are closer than they are.  

5. Blind Spots

Again, because of the narrow stature of a motorcycle, they are not as visible as a full-size vehicle and can be easily hidden in blind spots, such as door or roof panels, or masked by objects or backgrounds. Take the extra time to look closely for motorcycles before changing lanes or making turns.

Always remember that being proactive and driving defensively is superior to reactivity when behind the wheel. Employ safe driving regardless of the vehicle you are maneuvering. Teach your children to count motorcycles on the road from a young age; this will allow them to be more aware of them when they begin to drive. Ensure you are awake and alert when driving, minimizing distractions, and being aware of who is sharing the road with your vehicle. And if you find yourself in a situation where you have been injured in an accident, trust that Brown & Crouppen will be there for you every step of the way.

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