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11 Essential Motorcycle Safety Tips to Help You Stay Upright and Avoid Accidents

We all love riding our motorcycles, right? Few things are more exhilarating than a good ride on an open road.

And while motorcycle riding is good, clean fun, it’s not always safe. If you’ve been riding for any amount of time, you know that drivers of other vehicles don’t always see motorcycles.

The number of people killed on motorcycles fluctuates yearly but is generally around 5,000. In fact, motorcycle fatalities are 28 times higher than passenger vehicle fatalities.

We want to keep you safe. So we’ve put together 11 of the best motorcycle safety tips to help you avoid accidents. Keep reading and ride on safely.

1. Be Visible

Most motorcycle accidents occur because other drivers can not (or do not) see you. Take caution to make sure you are noticeable, even from far distances.

Keep your lights on high during the day and wear bright or reflective gear that attracts attention. 

Don’t get caught in another driver’s blind spot and always use your turn signals.

2. Be Awake

This one goes without saying. A tired rider is an unsafe rider.

We get it, we all like to push it and go just a little bit farther. But do yourself, and others, a favor and stop every 75-100 miles. Figure out what your tolerance is and stick to it.

Stop. Get off your bike. Stretch a little and take a short walk to refresh your senses before you jump back in the saddle.

3. Wear Protective Gear

Once upon a time, it was “cool” to ride without a helmet. We know better now. It’s not smart to ride without a DOT-approved helmet to protect your dome.

Guard yourself with appropriate protective gear including a leather jacket and pants, riding boots, non-slip gloves, and goggles. 

4. Take a Safety Course or Advanced Riding Course

You probably took a safety course when you got your motorcycle license. But if it’s been a while, a little refresher course never hurt anybody. You’re almost guaranteed to learn something new.

Taking an advanced riding course is an excellent way to improve your riding skills. More training helps you overcome riding fears and improves your confidence as a rider.

5. Follow the Law

The laws exist for a reason; to keep you and others safe. Obey the rules, use your signals appropriately and drive the speed limit. The latter is especially important as your chances of speeding increases the likelihood of a fatal crash by 36%.

If you’re in an accident, it won’t be your fault if you obey the law. And when motorcycle accidents do occur, call an attorney as they can help you protect your rights.

6. Pay Attention to the Weather

Don’t compromise your life in bad weather. Riding safely is hard enough without rain, ice, snow and excessive wind complicating things.

Harsh weather lowers your visibility and reduces your traction more so than other vehicles.

If your motorcycle is your only mode of transportation, call Uber, Lyft or a cab. Don’t take a chance with your safety.

7. Scan, Scan, Scan

Did we mention scanning?

Keep your eyes active, scanning for road hazards, unattentive drivers and potential risks. Also keep an eye on your bike’s instruments, mirrors and blind spots behind you.

When you’re aware of your situation, you are in control. Locking your eyes on one particular object leaves you in a vulnerable position.

Watch drivers through their windows to help you anticipate trouble. For example, most drivers will quickly turn their heads when they make a sudden turn. That split second of recognition could be the difference between life and death. 

Which leads perfectly to our next motorcycle safety tip.

8. Be Brake Ready

When you’re in traffic, you have to always be ready. You have to assume no one sees you.

That means you are ready to react quickly. Save time looking for your brakes by always keeping a couple of fingers on the brake lever and your right toe on the rear brake. Now you’ve got your brakes covered and you’re ready to act. 

9. Have an Escape Route

Really this tip holds true for cars as well, but motorcycle riders have more escape options.

When you come to a stop signal, stay in gear and keep an eye on the traffic coming up behind you. Identify your escape route and leave room in case you need to move fast.

How about when traffic suddenly slows or even comes to a stop? We’ve all been in this situation before. Stay to one side of the car in front of you to create a necessary escape route.

Once you are at a complete stop, get your clutch in and your bike in gear and monitor your mirrors. It may seem unthinkable, but most accidents seem unlikely until they happen. Prepare for the worst to keep you safe.

10. Beware of Offramps

Do not ever get in the way of a car and an offramp. Even as the car in front of you passes the offramp, don’t assume it’s safe. Way too many accidents occur because a knucklehead in a car decides to exit at the last minute, taking out whatever, and whoever is in the way.

It’s illegal to pass on the right, but sometimes we have to use the right as an escape route. Still, don’t pass on the right at the offramp if at all possible.

11. Always Have a First Aid Safety Kit

It’s always a good idea to keep a first-aid kit on your motorcycle just in case you suffer an injury on the road. Your kit should have the following items: bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes.

Motorcycle Safety Tips: The Bottom Line

Most motorcycle safety tips are common sense. Drive defensively, always thinking of the unthinkable. Scan the road, and other drivers at all times. And obey the law, use your turn signals and keep your speed down.

Your future self will thank you if you are involved in an accident. Wear protective gear to keep your head and body as safe as possible. And have a first-aid kit on hand – you never know when you’ll need it.

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