While motorcycles can be exciting and invigorating, they can also be dangerous if safety precautions are not taken.
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle fatalities claim the lives of over 2,100 riders each year. In addition, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely than car occupants to die in a traffic crash and about four times as likely to be injured per mile traveled.
In order to protect yourself from being another motorcycle crash statistic, here are some factors to consider:
First Six Minutes:
According to the Hurt Study, 90% of all motorcycle crashes happen within the first hour of riding; 50% happen within the first six minutes. The reason for this is that the mind requires time to adjust to the road. Mindset and concentration are of utmost importance when riding a motorcycle. Take a few minutes to focus before you get on the bike. It could save your life.
Deer, squirrels and other types of wildlife have an awful habit of fleeing across roads and highways and into oncoming traffic. Keep an eye out, especially in the early hours of the morning, and slow down to avoid them.
Surprises in the Road
In addition to wildlife, other surprises in the road can be potholes, gravel, sand, rocks and even grass clippings. It is important to pay attention to signs in road for broken pavement and debris, as they can diminish your traction or worse, cause damage to your motorcycle and yourself. Slow down and find a way to avoid it.
Beware of Sharp Turns
Especially in areas of slow speed limits and sharp turns, it is important to follow the speed limit and to not look down during a turn. If a motorcycle is going too fast, the tires could lose the grip needed to make the turn.
Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to bad automobile drivers. There is very little that even the most conscientious motorcycle rider can do other than to slow down and keep his or her eyes open to protect against other drivers on the road who are not cautious.
Pavement Edges, Trolleys and Railroad Tracks
Hitting a pavement edge or any type of track at less than a 45 degree angle can turn or stop your front wheel and heave you off your bike and into the road resulting in serious injuries. You need to take the weight off your front tire (using a slight throttle) and keep your tires at a 90 degree angle for successful encounters with changing gaps and terrain.
Weather and Humidity
Even if it is not raining, morning dew can make the pavement, and especially painted road markings (such as traffic lane indicators, crosswalks, and stop bars) very slippery. Try to keep to bare pavement in this kind of weather condition and avoid sudden turns.
For more safety tips on riding motorcycles, here are 5 Answers to Some Commonly Asked Motorcycle Safety Questions.
Also order a FREE copy of Stuart A. Carpey’s book The Good, the Bad, and the Law: A Guide to Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania. It is available to order or download on the Carpey Law website.