7 Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Tips
There are few things in the world for many more liberating and freeing than riding the open road on a motorcycle. Failing to follow certain safety procedures, though, can quickly turn an amazing experience into a really bad day for you and your loved ones.
In light of May Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the Insurance Center of North Jersey hopes you’ll keep these seven safety and awareness tips in mind the next time you ride.
1) Be Seen
When riding a motorcycle, being seen is one of the most important things you can do to improve your safety. According to the New Jersey Department of Highway Traffic Safety, more than two-thirds of motorcycle accidents that involve other vehicles on the road occur when the driver of the other vehicle does not see the motorcycle.
Making sure you are visible is a multi-step process that includes brightly colored clothes and light helmets – not the traditional black. Ride with your lights on. Ride on the edges of lanes where you’re more readily visible than in the center. Avoid riding in vehicle blind spots.
2) Be Heard
You’ve probably seen bumper stickers reminding you that “Loud pipes save lives.” It’s true. They do. Ride loud and proud. It’s not a nuisance but an important safety feature that motorcyclists should view as just that. These loud pipes helps make others on the road aware of your presence so they can look out for you.
This is especially important when road conditions are providing low visibility. Most drivers want to avoid hitting you as much as you want to avoid being hit. These pipes help. Also, don’t be afraid to use your horn if the situation calls for it to make others aware of your presence.
3) Dress Appropriately
Riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car. There is no protection between you and the road. You may take a spill at some point. If you do, something as simple as strong denim and over the ankle boots can spare a lot of skin and a couple of months in an uncomfortable and itchy cast in a best case scenario.
The state of New Jersey requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets when riding as they can help to prevent traumatic brain injury and, in some cases, death. Also consider a leather or denim jacket and heavy duty gloves at all times when riding as they provide important protection for your hands and arms. Don’t forget the bright colors. Visibility is far more important than the coolness of wearing black.
4) Be Aware
The other vehicles on the road are much larger than you are and, often, don’t see you – despite your best efforts to be seen. Pay attention to blind spots and any indication that drivers are going to make moves that could place you in jeopardy.
Also pay attention to road conditions. Rain and ice can make for hazardous conditions on the best of days. Couple that with the oil slick that generally gathers in the middle of the lanes and those conditions deteriorate quickly.
5) Drive Defensively
In fact, it’s a good idea for even seasoned riders to take a motorcycle safety course every few years just to keep up-to-date with the latest information and safety tactics.
The fact is that if you’re riding a motorcycle on a roadway filled with cars, trucks, and more; it is in your best interest to drive as defensively as possible. Your life may depend on it.
6) Use Signals before Taking Action
Tap your brakes before you slow down. Signal turns before you’re ready to make them. This allows other vehicles on the road to adjust for your next action in a timely manner and greatly reduces your risks.
7) Don’t Ride Impaired
Driving impaired by alcohol, drug use, distractions, and extreme tiredness increase your risks of traffic fatalities. Over a five year span of time it was discovered that 33.5 percent of New Jersey motorcycle fatalities were the result of crashes involving alcohol.