For motorcycle enthusiasts, there's nothing quite like hitting the open road – especially on warm, sunny days.
But motorcycle riding comes with risks. For one, a bike doesn't provide the protection of larger vehicles, and it isn't as stable as a car.
Fortunately, you can still ride your bike and stay safe. Here are nine ways you can help prevent wrecks.
1. Be Seen
The best way you can stay safe is to simply be seen. Do everything you can to ensure that drivers can see you clearly, since many accidents occur because the person driving the car couldn't see the motorcycle.
A couple of things you can do are to use your cycle's high beams as much as possible - including during the day - and wearing a bright riding jacket. You should also avoid driving in another vehicle's blind spots as much as possible and always use your turn signal when switching lanes.
2. Turn Corners Slowly
Many motorcycle accidents occur when the driver loses control in a corner because they're driving too fast. Ride only as fast you comfortably can, preferably less than twenty miles per hour.
3. Master The Front Brake
The front brake is perhaps the most difficult component to master on your motorcycle. Many accidents occur when riders must come to a sudden stop and apply too much pressure to the front brake, which causes the cycle to go out from under them.
Remember: your front brake can alter your speed much faster than your engine.
Practice applying the right amount of pressure to front break as much as possible, and train yourself not to slam the brake when slowing down.
4. Don't Drink And Drive
Never operate a motorcycle or any vehicle if you've been drinking. Statistics show that riders who've had even just one drink before they ride are almost twice as likely to crash as those who are sober.
Many motorcycle fatalities occur because an impaired driver veered off the road and into fixed objects. This is just as dangerous as getting into an accident with another vehicle.
5. Watch Your Blind Spots
A far-too-common accident happens when a car abruptly changes lanes in front of a motorcycle. Watching your blind spots is just as important as avoiding other drivers' blind spots.
A good rule of thumb is that, if you can see the driver's eyes, they can see you. Watch for signs that a car is changing lanes, such as turn signals, turning wheels, the car moving, or the driver turning his head.
6. Beware Parked Cars
Never ride between an active traffic lane and a row of parked cars. Although this may seem like a good way to get ahead of traffic, it can be extremely dangerous.
You could be hit by an opening door, a pedestrian stepping out from between cars, or a car pulling out because its driver didn't see you coming. Always ride behind other cars in active lanes and don't try to take short cuts to get ahead.
7. Maintain Your Tires
Motorcycles drive well in wet conditions – unless their tires are worn out or aren't designed for freeway driving. Check your tires regularly for signs of wear, and periodically check the air pressure to prevent flat tires.
There's no reason to panic when the pavement gets wet as long as your tires are good and you're driving at a reasonable rate of speed.
8. Stay Off Surface Streets
You probably won't be able to avoid all surface streets, but you'll be safer sticking to highways and freeways as much as possible. The roads are typically better maintained on these roads. Areas around busy shopping districts should be avoided whenever possible.
9. Be Patient In Slow-Moving Traffic
It can be tempting to pass every slow vehicle – especially if they're driving ten miles below the speed limit. However, when you pass another vehicle, you put yourself in their blind spot, increasing the chance for accidents.
Try to limit the number of times you pass other vehicles. When possible, be patient and stay in your lane.
Personal injury accidents such as motorcycle accidents are stressful for everyone involved. Let the lawyers at Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo handle your claim.
Even if you follow the tips above, you could still end up in an accident. Be prepared for the worst case scenario. Download our FREE Car Crash Checklist below!