10 Quick And Easy Ways To Avoid Having A Motorcycle Accident!
Never had a motorcycle accident? Keep it that way by using these easy tips!
Updated August 23, 2018
You could be the best rider in the world, but on a public road you’re just as likely to have a motorcycle accident as a novice. Here are a few quick and easy tips that will help to keep you upright! It doesn’t matter how much you think you know or how well you think you ride, at the end of the day if you’re going to have an accident, it’s probably going to involve someone else – and being a fantastically skilled rider won’t count for much when someone else is involved. Despite what my teenage right hand vigorously tried to thrash into me (with alarming regularity) in my younger years: it takes two to tango. So the best way to stay safe on two wheels is to treat everyone and everything else with distrust.
Easy Tips To Avoid The Worst Motorcycle Accidents!
We asked a few experienced riders who have endured a motorcycle crash or two in their riding careers to impart some words of wisdom. I too have multiple crashes under my belt, some caused by my own recklessness, some caused by other road users. You can play the blame game all you like, but even when it’s definitely not your fault, you should still shoulder a little bit of the blame. Here are a few of the most common tips suggested. Commit them to memory, make them part of your routine, and it could help you avoid a motorcycle accident in the future.
Tip #10: Prepare Your Mind For The Ride
Pre-ride checks don’t just apply to your motorcycle, they apply to the rider too. We’re not talking about a few jumping jacks and a few hamstring stretches either – we’re talking about your mental health. You know those memes and pictures that buzz around bike pages and social media that say that riding a motorcycle is better than therapy? They’re not wrong, but they’re not right either. If you’re feeling like the world’s against you, leave your bike at home. Never ride in anger, because you’re likely to take more risks than normal. When you get on your motorcycle for that therapy ride, leave your troubles behind. Don’t take them with you, because they’ll literally drive you to distraction.
Tip #09: Prepare Your Body For The Slide
Keeping your mind healthy is one thing, but keeping your body protected is just as important. Again, we’re not talking about stretches and good cardio: we’re talking about wearing the best gear you can. It’s all very well having a $20k sports bike with ABS, traction control, launch control and 4 riding modes, but they won’t help you when your un-helmeted head, un-gloved hands, and un-jacketed back, are sliding down the highway. You should wear your gear. All the time. Because the day that you don’t…well, that’s the day you’re surely going to be involved in a motorcycle accident. Murphy’s law, right?
Tip #08: Pretend That You’re Completely Invisible
Many motorcyclists give fellow road users far too much credit. You shouldn’t trust anyone on the road. That goes for the car waiting to pull out of that junction up ahead, the truck behind you as you approach a stop light, and it also applies to your fellow motorcyclists too. Just because you’ve seen a car driver look, it doesn’t mean that they’ve seen. Just because you’re wearing a bright colored jacket, it doesn’t mean that you’re visible. And for god’s sake, just because it’s your right of way…You get the picture. By assuming the worst, you avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations. Assume nothing. Or if you’re going to assume, assume that you’re completely invisible to everyone around you. Even your riding buddies. Because sometimes they’re the worst offenders!
Tip #07: Practice What You Preach
If you’re continually annoyed by texting drivers, people pulling out in front of you, and your fellow motorist’s lack of care and attention, then you’d better make damn sure that you’re not making the same mistakes. It’s easy to get distracted: you might be enjoying the road so much that only the next corner matters rather than those around you, you might be captivated by the scenery, or your eyes might be drawn by a particularly outstanding member of the human race strolling along the sidewalk. Make sure you’re focused on the matter at hand: riding from A to B without having an accident. Keep your head in the game by regularly checking your mirrors, and performing over-shoulder checks. Do these checks, little and often, and you’ll keep your focus in the right place.
Tip #06: Look Out For More Than Just Traffic
While other road users are the cause of the vast majority of motorcycle accidents and crashes, there are other hazards that you need to keep your eyes open for. Uneven road surfaces, loose gravel, patches of sand, oil spills, standing water, trash…you name it, if it’s on the road, it’s a hazard. If you’re not sure your bike is going to perform well going through whatever is in front of you, you’ll need to make a contingency plan – not an easy thing to do at 60 mph, so it’s best to always scan way ahead in front of you and perform a little rick assessment well in advance. Sports bikes have been brought down by the dumbest of things, from the painted markers on the road, to a pocketful of sand, so do keep an eye out for these hazards, and treat them all with the respect they deserve.
Tip #05: Parked Cars And Pedestrians Are Not Your Friends
You don’t have to be going fast to suffer a motorcycle crash. In fact, a lot of them happen at slow speeds and they’re caused by… parked vehicles or oblivious pedestrians. The real tip here is to maintain a sensible road position. Give cars, even seemingly parked and unoccupied vehicles, a wide berth. Why? Because those doors have a habit of getting thrown open without the occupant giving a glance to see whether it’s safe to open their door into the road.
Same with pedestrians, even more so now we live in this so-called “smart” age. In parking lots, in city streets, and even at proper crossings, these days it’s not uncommon to see some idiot ignore the world around them because their eyes are glued to a screen, and step straight into your path. It’ll only end in a few scrapes for both parties involved, but it still classes a motorcycle accident.
Tip #04: Learn To Use Your Brakes Effectively
If some guy walks out in front of you like in the above scenario, you’ve got to know how to stop if you’re going to avoid an accident situation. But you can only stop if you know how to use your brakes properly, and if you’re prepared and not afraid to use them. A lot of accidents happen because the rider panics and grabs a fist full of front brake, or worse, ignores the brakes completely. It’s always a wise idea to get to grips with your brakes, your stopping distances, and learning how to use both brakes effectively and efficiently, without throwing you off of your bike. Learning how to brake properly is what makes the difference between an average motorcyclist and a great one. Going fast is one thing, bringing that speed under control is the real art.
Tip #03: Save Your Speed For The Track
Talk to anyone who takes racing seriously and they’ll tell you where the best place to go fast is: on the track. Once you’ve unleashed the full fury of your inline-four on the track, you’ll never think it’s cool to go stupid-fast on public roads ever again. The speed limit is fine for roads that have other people on them. Even if you run into some hot-head at the lights who wants to go toe-to-toe with you, just ignore them. If they think it’s cool to put lives in danger, let them carry right on. These little moments of bravado and macho-ism lead to nasty accidents, and motorcyclists tend to come off worse in these tangles than your average car driver. No seat belts, airbags, run off zones, or tire walls, see.
Tip #02: Ride In Your Own Way
Like above, you don’t want to be baited into an unnecessary road race but you don’t want to be forced into any kind of situation either. A lot of the time, it’s your own mind forcing you into dangerous situations, so take the time to stop, reassess, and think about what you’re doing. Rather than pulling away immediately when the lights change, allow yourself that extra second to really take in what’s going on around you. When you’re about to pull away from the kerb, take an extra moment to wait for the traffic to calm rather than speedily jumping into the first gap you see. It’s not a race, and there are no prizes for coming first, so don’t rush things and makes a mess of your maneuvers.
Tip #01: Keep It Cool And Be Friendly To Your Fellow Road Users
One of the best ways to stay safe and prevent yourself from having a motorcycle accident is to keep calm, stay cool, and respect the road and all who travel on it. It sounds a bit corny, but it’s true.
That car that cut you up? The chances are the driver wasn’t doing it on purpose…but if you take it personally and give them the finger, the chances are they will try to do something on purpose in retaliation. That truck that pulled in front of you probably didn’t see you – their mistake, sure – but take it on the chin. You don’t have to chase them down, riding dangerously in the process, to let them know they made a mistake. We’re all human and make mistakes, and getting aggressive and confrontational never ends well. And playing the game of “might makes right” with a big heavy car on a busy highway isn’t particularly clever, no matter how “right” you are!
Keep a few of these tips in your head when you’re out on your next ride, and hopefully you’ll be able to keep your motorcycle crash record clean…