Motorcycles are a fun and efficient way of traveling. But, did you know that they’re more dangerous than a car? A study conducted by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety revealed that motorcyclists are thirty times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, and roughly half of all motorcycle fatalities are the result of one-vehicle crashes.
However, don’t let these statistics prevent you from enjoying a ride on your day off. Data indicates that 48 percent of fatalities in 2010 were a result of going over the speed limit, and alcoholic beverages were a factor in 42 percent of cases.
If you take the preventative measures and follow your state’s motorcycle safety guidelines, you can significantly reduce your risk of motorcycle-related accidents. Here are some things to keep in mind in order to stay safe while you ride.
Wear the Proper Helmet and Clothing
Motorcyclists that choose to ride without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to sustain a fatal cranial injury and three times more likely to suffer from an “in general” brain injury than riders who choose to wear one.
Wearing a helmet is arguably the most important safety measure there is. Look for a full-face helmet that has been properly tested and meets federal safety standards. The recommended helmets will have a DOT sticker of certification to show that it has passed inspection and meets safety requirements.
It is also important to note that shorts and a tee shirt will not protect you in the event of an accident. Wear leather or another reinforced jacket, full pants, gloves and ankle-length boots, even in hot climates. There is specially designed gear for motorcyclists which provides adequate protection. It’s made out of a breathable material and is well ventilated for wearing in warm temperatures.
Be Extra Alert
Other drivers aren’t always as cautious around motorcyclists as they should be. It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings on the road. This is especially true when you ride. Following all of the rules of the road, including posted speed limits, will help keep you (and your rider) safe.
Watch out for sand, pot holes and other road hazards that may cause you to lose control. Pay close attention while you pass people on the highway. Watch for signs that tell you which lane to be in ahead of time to avoid making a sudden lane change. If you feel like you’re losing focus on the road during a long trip, don’t be afraid to stop and rest.
You need to make sure that both you and your motorcycle are prepared every time you use it. Before you leave, make sure the horn, lights and turn indicators are all functioning properly. Also inspect the brakes, as well as the belt, shaft and chain for signs of wear. Finally, check the tires for signs of wear and make sure they are filled to the correct pressure.
Underinflated tires have an effect on the bike’s handling and steering, and can lead to an accident. As for preparing yourself, make sure that you are well rested and clear-headed. Operating any vehicle while intoxicated is dangerous to you and those around you.
Motorcycling is fuel-efficient and enjoyable. But, remember, it is also more dangerous than driving other motor vehicles. Two of the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents are alcohol and speeding, which can both be avoided by driving safely. If you are cautious, practiced and prepared, you can minimize any risks you may face on the road.