The best advice we can ever receive is from those who have more experience than we do. When purchasing a motorcycle for the first time, one cannot call themselves an expert, and therefore does not have the same experience in road safety and accident prevention that those who have been on the road for many years do. It’s important to heed advice from sources with insight such as those who prefer to use a motorcycle in place of a car most of the time, as well as motorcycle mechanics, reputable salespeople, and through doing your own research via online forums where bikers gather to discuss their hobby amongst themselves.
The best motorist is a well informed, defensive motorist. Defensive driving can help prevent accidents, protect you and others on the road, and is proven to be the most cost effective. Motorists who are aware of their surroundings at all times and have a sense of the world around them while out on their motorcycle are the motorists who are able to stop an accident before it even happens. The state of Florida offers Defensive Driving courses for those who wish to hone their skills before a long ride.
Motorcycles offer us the freedom to feel the wind and the freedom of the open road, but our eyes must be open to potential danger. All it takes is a second to cause a life changing accident or to sustain an injury, such as a TBI, due to recklessness. A motorcycle isn’t an excuse to break the rules of the road, nor is it a child’s toy to be taken lightly. In fact, many who ride motorcycles say it’s more difficult than driving a car. A substantial amount of focus and attention is required to safely navigate busy roads on a motorcycle. While driving a motor vehicle should be taken equally as serious, the car itself offers protection (doors and windows) that a motorcycle does not.
This Shaked Law Blog article will provide readers with our Top Five safety tips from experienced motorcycle riders, even when they’re just taking a trip to the store!
1. Full throttle… but not really
The throttle is the heart of the motorcycle. Using it carefully can alter your speed, suspension, transfer of weight on the bike, your ability to steer safely, and most importantly ground clearance. The latter is important for getting around tight corners, and knowing how to properly utilize the throttle plays a large part in that. Those who do their research before purchasing a new motorcycle will compare “ground clearance” on several bike models before ultimately making a decision.
2. Buy enough bike for you… but not too much!
If you’ve never ridden before, you should do proper research in selecting a bike that’s not “too much” for you. Bikes are heavy, powerful machines and can cause injuries for those unfamiliar with their handling. When shopping for that brand new bike, you should be able to place both feet flat on the floor without any tip-toeing around. All the gears should be within reach. Any bike that feels too heavy probably is too heavy. Inquire about engine size and compare models based on what you plan to do with the bike. Open road? Commuter? There are different bikes for different purposes!
3. Practice, practice, practice
Don’t take a brand new bike for a spin without proper training courses. Invest the time, invest the money, and invest in your safety! If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, but it’s a lifelong dream of yours to do so, don’t let that dream end in tragedy. There’s no rush to the road, and one should never try to race ahead of their skill level in order to impress their friends. A Traumatic Brain Injury is not impressive, neither is causing someone else bodily injury due to lack of experience in motorcycle handling.
4. Bikes and bad weather don’t mix
Road conditions can affect your ride for better or worse. Slippery conditions such as sleet, snow, and rain can reduce the tires’ grip on the road. This can make what’s known to motorcycle riders as “cornering” extremely tricky. When a rider cannot clear a corner, they’re at-risk for an accident that may send them careening into a pole, another car, or even a pedestrian–this can injure everyone involved. New riders may not know this, but even windy conditions can affect a ride. That’s because the motorcycle can be pushed from one side to another depending where the wind is coming from. Gusts of wind can nudge a rider, and if they don’t have proper handling of the bike, they may lose control and cause an accident.
5. Don’t forget the gear!
This one is simple: don’t ride without a helmet and other proper gear. Besides a properly fitted helmet with a face shield to protect the rider from debris, a pair of well-fitting sneakers or motorcycle boots with laces tucked in, so as not to tangle or catch on the bike are also important. Wear proper gear for the conditions you’ll be riding in. Wear sunscreen to protect exposed skin from sunburn during the summer. And no matter how scorching hot outside, sandals are never, ever suitable for a ride!
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