The latest available data shows that 8.02% of US households owned at least one motorcycle in 2018. This signifies an increase of over 1.5 million motorcycle-owning households from 2014.
The sense of freedom from riding a motorcycle is one of the top reasons folks choose them over cars. There’s also the sheer enjoyment of operating a speedy bike. Plus, most motorcycles cost less to buy and maintain than cars.
However, motorcycles can be risky, especially if ridden incorrectly. So, to help you get started on motorcycling, be sure to keep these beginner motorcycle tips in mind.
- Understand the Potential Hazards of Motorcycling
Motor vehicle fatalities are some of the top reasons people hire a wrongful death lawyer. Many of these deadly crashes result from the fault of two or more drivers crashing into each other. However, as motorcycle use has gone up over the years, so have motorcyclist fatalities.
To give you an idea, less than 5,000 motorcyclists died in accidents from 2009 to 2014. The numbers have then gone beyond 5,000 since 2015. That translates to 14% of all motor vehicle deaths that year.
Now, 14% may seem low, but keep in mind that motorcycles only represent 3% of all registered vehicles. This disproportion has much to do with how motorcycles are open and have no restraints. As such, a collision can send a rider flying through the air, which is less of a risk in seatbelt-equipped cars.
- Get Educated By a Pro
Since motorcycling comes with more hazards than driving a car, it’s best you get an expert to train you. Enroll in a safe motorcycle riding course administered by a licensed instructor. Do this even before you buy your first-ever bike so that you can get as much practice as possible.
Besides, studies found that trained motorcyclists tend to get involved in fewer accidents. There’s also evidence that professional schooling is effective in lowering motorcycle crash risks. While education doesn’t eliminate all risks, it may help reduce injury severity.
Moreover, beginner motorcycle courses will give you hands-on access to insured bikes. In-class lessons will teach you the basics, such as motorcycle types and how to operate them. Your instructor will also educate you on proper bike maintenance.
- Dress the Part
Invest in the best motorcycle helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads, riding pants, and biker boots. All these are motorcycle safety gear must-haves that can keep you alive if you get into a crash.
For starters, the use of helmets can reduce fatal crash risks by 37%. These head protectors can also lower head injury risks by 69%. These safety benefits are some of the top reasons most states have helmet laws.
Other motorcycle apparel can also protect the skin from road burns. They are more resistant to scrape damages than normal clothes.
- Always Keep a Safe Distance
When motorcyclists get into multiple vehicle crashes, the riders often aren’t at fault. They result from the other drivers violating the motorcyclists’ right-of-way. In many cases, the at-fault motorists claim they didn’t see the motorcycle.
That’s true, though, given the smaller size of motorcycles. Mirrors may not always make them visible, so drivers may dismiss the possibility of a bike near them. The enclosed nature of cars and trucks gives rise to blind spots, including the sides and the rear area.
That’s why you should always assume that all other drivers can’t see you right away. Avoid wedging your bike in a lane, even if you think there’s enough space on it for you and another car.
Vehicle operators follow a two-second rule, but for riders, it should be four seconds. This means you should keep about a four-second worth of distance from all other vehicles at all times.
- Make Your Bike Easier to See
Raising your bike’s visibility is also one of the primary motorcycle safety tips to live by. Use reflectors, such as reflective decals on your bike, your person, and your helmet. There’s a lot of great-looking biker jackets that come with reflective materials, too.
- Keep Your Bike in Tip-Top Condition
Previous studies found that weather doesn’t have a great influence on motorcycle crashes. In one California-based research, weather was less influential in 98% of such accidents. In a European study, the weather didn’t play a role in over nine in 10 motorcycle crashes.
By contrast, defective motorcycle components could be a bigger contributor. Improper tire pressure, non-working signal lights, and faulty brakes can all be deadly. An engine that sputters in the middle of the road can also lead to fatal accidents.
So, always give your ride a thorough inspection before you straddle the seat and head out. Keep your tires well inflated, not only for safety but also for fuel-efficiency. Make sure your engine runs smoothly, all your lights run, and your brakes respond right away.
- Don’t Ride Even After Just a Single Drink
Many vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes, involve impaired motorists. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% to 0.079% can already lead to a slower reaction time. That’s why scientists say this BAC level can already increase fatal crash risks by 7 to 21 times.
BAC levels rise based on factors like the type of alcoholic beverage and the number of drinks taken. It also depends on a person’s weight, gender, and if they’ve had something to eat before drinking. A single drink won’t make your BAC rise to 0.05%, but it can impair your senses nonetheless.
So, to keep yourself safe, don’t ride even if you’ve only had a single standard drink within the same hour. If you plan to drink that day, don’t take your bike out at all, and instead, hail a cab or book an Uber ride.
Stay Safe and Keep Riding With These Beginner Motorcycle Tips
Always keep in mind that motorcycle riders can sustain more severe crash injuries. So, for your safety, abide by all the beginner motorcycle tips we discussed in this guide. This way, you can reduce your risks of getting into an accident, but rather, keep enjoying all your rides.
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