Motorcycle safety prevents accidents

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:43

Observing simple rules can keep the fun in riding Motorcycles have been around for decades and so have riding enthusiasts. Through all of the innovations and motorcycle design changes, safety while riding remains of the utmost importance. Very often motorcycle accidents are attributed to lack of rider skill. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that there are roughly 4 million registered motorcycle riders on American roadways. There may be many others who are unlicensed who still hop on a motorcycle as a preferred mode of transportation. There are several advantages to motorcycles. With some models, motorcycles offer a ride with good fuel economy. Cycles take up less space than cars, and they can be easier to park and maintain in an urban setting. NHTSA statistics indicate that motorcycle fatalities make up around 5 percent of all traffic fatalities. Eighty percent of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death, compared to the roughly 20 percent of other vehicles. That’s due to the minimal protection the vehicle provides. This further emphasizes the necessity to properly and safely operate a motorcycle to avoid accidents in the first place. Riding safely first involves purchasing a bike that is the right size and power for the rider. Larger bikes can be heavy and riders who are small in stature may not be able to maneuver or lift the motorcycle should it fall over. Also, riders should choose bikes that fit their lifestyles. For instance, a trail bike will not be safe on a highway. It is a good idea to enroll in a motorcycle safety course if this is a rider’s first experience with a bike. This course will give invaluable tips regarding maneuvering, learning about operating the cycle, defensive driving techniques and other tips specific to motorcycles. For example, intersections are one place on a roadway where many accidents take place. Bike riders should try to enter an intersection with a larger vehicle on the right of the motorcycle or at least in the left-most lane to provide a space cushion from oncoming traffic. Of course, protective clothing and equipment are essential to minimize injuries if an accident should occur. Helmets, goggles, boots, long pants, jackets, and the like should be worn at all times. Injuries can often be prevented with protective gear, but many riders still don’t embrace such gear. Another important safety tip is to recognize that traveling with another passenger is much more difficult to do than riding alone. A passenger can throw off the balance of the bike and add weight, two factors that may be different from what the rider is used to. Before taking another passenger out for a spin, riders should be extremely experienced in handling the bike and proficient in all controls and safety maneuvers. Here are some other safety tips motorcycle riders can heed. Treat other motorists with courtesy. Do not tailgate. Do not cut through the middle of lanes or pass cars on the right while traffic is stopped. Be especially alert at intersections. Use signals whenever appropriate. Avoid driving during inclement weather. Assume the motorcycle is invisible to other drivers; position yourself to be seen. Avoid sudden braking or turning. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles. Use headlights during nighttime and daytime hours. Watch the road surface to anticipate potential hazards. Following safe driving methods helps prevent motorcycle-related accidents, injuries and death.