There is no denying the fact that motorcycles hold potential danger for their riders. They can be tricky to operate for inexperienced riders, they offer less protection than a car in case of an accident, and they are more difficult to be seen on the road. Knowing how to safely drive a motorcycle and how to respond accordingly on the road can be the difference between life and death.
Know How to Ride
Understanding how to properly handle a motorcycle is crucial for every rider. First, learn how to smoothly shift between gears as well as the difference between upshifting and downshifting. Feeling comfortable with the shifting process takes time and practice. Make sure you are comfortable with the process and can operate smoothly before heading out on the road. Second, become familiar with how it feels to use your body and how to lean on the bike. Unlike cars, motorcycles require you to constantly change your body position while riding. The most basic tip to keep in mind when it comes to body posture is always to keep your torso in line with your hips. Lastly, understand how to utilize counter-steering. Above 12 miles per hour, you should no longer be turning the handlebars in the direction you want to be going. Instead, if you want to turn left, push the left handlebar. If you want to turn right, push the right handlebar. This is necessary because of the gyroscopic effect of the front wheel and forks.
Watch the Road
There are limitless dangers that any driver can experience while on the road. For motorcycle riders, it is even more important to be vigilant, as you are more vulnerable. First, make sure to maintain a proper distance from other vehicles, giving you time to see and respond to objects in the road or unexpected actions from surrounding cars. You should stay out of cars’ blind spots. Motorcycles are smaller than your average vehicle and it can be difficult for cars to see you if the motorcycle is not clearly visible. Second, you should always have escape paths in mind while riding. These are alternative routes that are immediately available should something unexpected, such as debris, enter your initial riding path. Lastly, ride defensively. Never assume that other cars can see you or will give you the right of way. Be cautious, stay visible, and always have an escape route.
Obey Motorcycle Laws
There is never an excuse for breaking traffic laws. They are put in place to keep all drivers safe, whether they are in a car or on a motorcycle. Although motorcycle laws vary from state-to-state, they are relatively similar, if not the same. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that driving under the influence of any substance whether it be alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal, is against the law in all 50 states. Although the exact regulations vary, 48 states require that riders wear helmets. 36 states require some form of eye protection. Lane splitting is illegal in 38 states. There are only 3 states that do not require the use of daytime headlights. 42 states require that motorcycles have mufflers, reducing the level of noise they make. Wherever you are riding, know and obey the state’s motorcycle laws.
These safety tips are just the start of what you can do to ensure safety while riding a motorcycle. Being cautious while riding your motorcycle and responsible when it comes to state laws will ensure everyone’s safety on the road.
If you have been in an accident while driving a motorcycle, contact Rob Levine. With over 20 years of experience handling motorcycle accident cases and as a motorcycle owner, there is no one out there better suited to get you the justice you deserve. Call us today to find out how we can help.