Safety Tips For Riders
Safety Tips For Drivers
Some types of bikes can be tricky on corners. For example, cruisers and dressers ride low to the ground, which means it can be easy to drag the pegs, floorboards, pipes, etc. in a turn. Do this too much and it will pull the weight off the tires which can put you into a slide. Be careful when cornering and slow down if needed. One solution is to adjust the shock absorbers to the maximum spring preload possible. Longer shocks or fork springs are a possibility too.
If you’re riding as a passenger, remember these tips:
- Do not mount or dismount until the driver gives you the OK.
- Squeeze the rider’s arm before speaking into his or her ear.
- Remain still when approaching a turn. (you can probably look over the driver’s shoulder in the direction of the turn)
On loose or unstable surfaces, be careful. Avoid dropping your feet since the motorcycle’s low center of gravity makes riding very stable.
Always keep your eyes on where you want to go, not what you want to avoid. If you stare at something, you’re likely to hit it. This is called “obstacle fixation.” Your body simply tends to steer in the direction you look, so keep your eyes on the road.
Rule #1 for safe riding is to use protective gear, yet it’s ignored all the time. In a crash, good safety gear can make injuries less, and even protect you from death.
Riding a motorcycle is a skill that takes practice to master. When first starting out, practice in an empty parking lot or very quiet street. Practice stopping and starting, slow turns, and other low speed maneuvers. Good riding habits can make you react well in the case of an emergency. Here are some things to try:
- Make tight turns with feet up
- Learn to hard brake. (start at low speeds, then build up to 30 mph)
- Ride over a 2×4 board on the ground
- Learn to handle your bike with a locked rear wheel
Don’t drink and ride. It’s that simple. DUI / DWI laws apply to riders and when drink is involved the amount of fatal accidents increases.
Share the road
Most of the time the law is that you must stay in your own lane anyway, but sometimes people forget this when approaching or driving the same direction as a motorcycle rider. You need to allow the rider a full lane of space. Motorcycle riders need lots of space for cornering and avoiding hazards like pot holes which can force them to move unexpectedly. Resist the urge to move into the lane next to a rider, even if it looks like he or she is making room for you. This is never safe.
Motorcycles are harder to see than traditional motor vehicles. That means that, even if you’re sure nobody has moved into your blind spot, you need to check your blind spots before you change lanes – you might not have noticed a motorcycle near you. At night this is doubly important, since a motorcycle has only one headlight, which can sometimes trick your vision into thinking it is a far-away car or truck.
Signal with plenty of time
If you are making a lane change or merging, be sure to signal to let the motorcycle rider know what is going on. If a rider is behind you, tap your brakes to let him or her know that you’re about to stop or slow down.
Motorcycle turn signals
Don’t assume a motorcycle is about to turn if you see it signaling. Motorcycles don’t always have an automatic shut-off feature for turn signals like cars do. This means a signal may be on, but forgotten. Drive extra carefully when you see a signal light on for an extended period.
Following motorcycles requires the utmost of attention. Many non-riders don’t understand how quickly motorcycles can stop, or how they can slow down without showing brake lights. Motorcycles only weigh a tiny portion of what cars do, so stopping takes much less time. Additionally, many experienced riders slow down by “down shifting” rather than braking. If you’re not paying attention or following too closely, you can be caught unaware. Try to allow twice as much space between yourself and a rider as you would between yourself and another vehicle.
Passing on a curve
Always follow the laws, including the law to never pass on a double yellow line. If you can’t see clearly beyond the vehicle in front of you, don’t pass. Motorcycles take corners by coming in close to the line at the apex of the curve, this means if you pull out to pass you will almost certainly hit – and kill – a rider. Just don’t pass on a curve.
Checking the mirrors is not always enough when changing lanes. It’s important to make a visual check to ensure there is not vehicle in your blind spot. Make a full head turn to the left and right before changing lanes to make sure there are no vehicles in your blind spot.
Ride The Line
When making a turn, a rider should approach the turns wide. That means starting a right turn form the left side of the lane, or a left turn from the right side. This allows you to make the turn angle more gradual and thus a little safer. Following this type of line uses a minimal amount of braking and lean while giving the best view around the turn.
When braking, remember that momentum moves the center of gravity forward. Hard braking shifts the weight to the forks. This makes the front compress as the rear end lightens and begins to lift up. This makes the rear brake easier to lock. For this reason, front brakes are designed to manage a heavier braking load than rear brakes. It’s important to practice braking before you hit the road. Find a quiet, well maintained road to practice hard stops at low speeds and under controlled conditions. Some riders prefer to keep the bike in gear while braking, pulling the clutch just before coming to a complete stop.
Intersections and left turns
In heavy traffic, the relatively smaller motorcycle can seem to disappear, especially when they let off of their brakes. Many low speed rear-end accidents happen in heavy traffic when a driver stops paying attention to where a motorcycle is. Keep aware of riders in your area and don’t get too close.
Riders have to react quickly to unexpected road conditions such as potholes, debris, or uneven surfaces. If you see a motorcycle on a road with hazards, pay extra attention since the rider may have to make very sudden changes including swerving, and stopping.
Be responsible. Don’t drink and drive ever. Your ability to notice something as small as a motorcycle when drunk is severely impaired and could lead to an accident you would regret for the rest of your life. Respect riders, other drivers, and yourself enough to hand the keys to somebody else.