Motorcycles may be inherently less safe than cars are, but there are a lot of things motorcyclists and drivers in cars can do to keep everyone safe.
Let’s face it: While motorcycles are cool, they just aren’t as safe as cars. To some people, that’s part of the appeal. Living life on the edge and taking risks can be part of what makes riding a motorcycle rewarding.
Motorcycles can travel as fast as cars do, but lack car safety features most people take for granted. Motorcycles don’t have an exterior frame to absorb crash forces. Instead, the forces of a collision are born directly by the bike and the rider. Motorcycles also don’t have seatbelts, which increases the rider’s risk of being thrown off the bike in an accident. Finally, there’s that little matter of being on two wheels. Motorcycles are simply not as stable as cars.
But, riding a motorcycle doesn’t have to be an exercise in cheating death. Motorcycles may be inherently less safe than cars are, but there are a lot of things motorcyclists and drivers in cars can do to keep everyone safe.
10: Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
In most states, if you’re going to get a motorcycle license, you need to take a skills test. In many states, you also have to take a motorcycle safety class – think of it as driver’s education on two wheels. Even if your state doesn’t require you to take a motorcycle safety course, you should. The class will teach you about the traffic safety laws that apply to motorcycles in your state, how to respond to emergency situations on a motorcycle, and give you a chance to try out your new skills in a controlled environment. The instructors will also give you tips about motorcycle maintenance and how to avoid unsafe situations. After all, the time to learn how to recover from a skid on a bike is not when you go into one for the first time. Taking a motorcycle safety course prepares you to hit the road safely and with more confidence.
The good news is, most motorcycle dealerships offer motorcycle safety courses, and some even give discounts or other promotional materials to people who have completed their course. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular brand of bike, taking a motorcycle safety class from that dealership is a good way to get to know the brand better, and you may even be able to try out some of their models.
9: Get the Right Gear
We’ve all seen people on motorcycles in shorts and flip flops. Those people are not being safe. Since a motorcycle offers little protection in a crash, what riders wear is part of the crash protection system. Even if you aren’t in a crash with another vehicle on your bike, you could simply lose control and lay the bike down. In that situation, you’ll be sliding along on asphalt. That’s not something you want to do in shorts.
There’s a reason a lot of bikers wear leather: it’s strong enough to protect their skin if they slide along the road surface. Plus, motorcycle riders are exposed to other road hazards, like small rocks, bugs and cigarette butts, that people in cars are protected from. At 60 miles per hour (96.6 kilometers per hour), even a small rock can sting. Leather gear can help protect you.
Of course, you don’t have to look like a reject from “Easy Rider” to ride a motorcycle. A lot of companies specialize in armored motorcycle gear, and it’s not all leather. You can get vented motorcycle jackets that keep you cool while keeping you safe. These jackets are made of lightweight, breathable material, but have heavy-duty amour panels in key places (along the spine, torso, shoulders and elbows) to protect the wearer.