As the days get longer and the temperatures begin to rise, many people feel the need to hit the road. There is nothing quite as exhilarating and freeing as getting on your motorcycle for a ride. Unfortunately, there are also an increased number of reports of people becoming injured while riding on their motorcycles. Being unprepared and hitting the road can greatly increase your risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident.
When you are aware of your personal limitations as well as your immediate surroundings while riding, you will have a more enjoyable experience. So, before lacing up your boots and swinging over that saddle, be mindful of these motorcycle safety tips.
Protect Your Lower Body from Injury
If you have ever ridden your motorcycle without covering your legs and ankles, you are aware that you can sustain a nasty burn from the exhaust pipes. In fact, some motorcycle riders have reported getting second degree burns from accidentally putting their feet or ankles too close to the exhaust pipes.
You can add a layer of protection between you and the pipes by wearing a pair of sturdy boots. These boots should be at least ankle length.
Inspect Your Motorcycle
An inspection of the bike should be completed before you start the ignition. Take a quick walk around the bike and give it an inspection to ensure it is road ready. Some of the things that you want to include on your inspection checklist are:
- Tire pressure
- Hand brakes
- Foot brakes
- Turn signals
- Tire tread depth
- Fluid levels
If you will be transporting cargo on your trip, be sure that it is properly secured to the motorcycle.
Even if you will be riding your motorcycle during daylight hours, you should avoid wearing dark clothing. Wear clothing that is reflective so other drivers on the road are able to see you.
Also, avoid riding in other drivers’ blind spots. A significant percentage of motorcycle accidents occur when car drivers are unable to see motorcycle riders.
Always Wear a Helmet
Many states have laws requiring motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear helmets while on the road. The helmet you wear must be a USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) approved helmet. If it is a government approved helmet, it should have a USDOT sticker on it.
A helmet will not only provide protection in case you are in an accident, but ones with face shields will also protect your face and eyes from rain, dust, insects, wind and stones that are kicked up from other vehicles.
Do Not Drink and Drive
You should not operate any motor vehicle when you have been drinking alcohol. Over 40% of single vehicle motorcycle accidents occur because of an impaired motorcycle operator.
Cover Your Arms and Legs
Wear fabrics like leather and denim that are heavy duty. These types of fabrics can provide protection against sunburn and accidents. You will also be able to prevent dehydration and maintain your body temperature.
Warmer weather means more time to enjoy outdoor activities. Avoid being a statistic this summer by practicing these motorcycle safety tips before you hit the road.