Being noticed while riding is crucial to any motorcycle rider. Too often motorists pull out in front of motorcycles, usually to make a left turn, causing deadly crashes – just because they don’t see them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 percent of two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle occur when another vehicle turns left while the motorcycle is going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle.
Sharing the Road is the responsibility of both motorists and motorcyclists – everyone can do their part.
- Reflective Clothing: With more daylight, good visibility for riding extends late into the evening in the summer. However, visibility is reduced drastically at dusk. Wear reflective clothing and apply reflective stickers or tape to parts of your motorcycle.
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape to be more visible.
- Check and Upgrade Motorcycle Lighting: Make sure all lights and signals are functioning before hitting the road, especially at night time. A modulating headlamp is noticeably more visible than a standard lamp. Consider installing auxiliary lighting or running lamps in addition to originally equipped lights. LEDs are also becoming more popular over conventional incandescent bulbs. Some newer motorcycles come equipped with full LED-panel tail lamps and turn signals. After-market LED bulbs can also be purchased to replace standard bulbs. LEDs last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs, emit 40-50% more intensity, use less voltage and do not generate heat. Replacing a motorcycle’s OEM bulbs with LEDs can help increase the visibility of brake lights and turn signals.
- Exercise Caution in Rainy Conditions: Traction becomes significantly reduced when riding a motorcycle during or just after a rain. Always make sure your PSI levels are kept at manufacturer specifications. Vehicles deposit oil, brake fluid, fuel and other residues on the road over time. When the rain commences, fluid residues and deposits are lifted and create slick areas on the road. Traction in these areas at the beginning of a rain shower can be similar to encountering a sheet of black ice.
- Maintain Proper Tire Pressure: Routinely check air pressure with a tire gauge, especially if the bike has been sitting for more than a few days. Slightly underinflated tires can drastically reduce a rider’s ability to brake and corner and can spell disaster in wet conditions.
- Use Good Judgment: Alcohol affects those skills essential to riding a motorcycle – balance and coordination. Please remember to always ride smart and sober.
At a moment’s notice, things can change on the road. Riding a motorcycle is very serious business and requires extra concentration and judgment. Having a sense of adventure is great, but it’s no substitute for common sense!
We can’t wait for the warm weather, but is your bike prepared? Follow these simple steps to make sure your bike is as ready as you are to get back on the road.
Traffic is a factor each time you get on your bike. Riders need to pay attention to what traffic is doing ahead of them at all times. Many drivers don’t always see motorcycles on the road, so riders need to notice all surrounding vehicles.
Road conditions can change in an instant – whether there’s rain, snow, oil or an over-sized pothole, 100 percent of a rider’s concentration is needed. Judging distances, speed and braking are just a few of things that must be done quickly to avoid a potential crash.
Laws also must be obeyed for the safety of everyone on the road. While many motorcyclists obey laws and operate bikes in a safe and reasonable manner, some engage in aggressive and dangerous riding behavior. Enjoy riding, but be smart about it.
Responsible Riding goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. With the amount of focus needed to operate a motorcycle safely, any bit of impairment will slow reaction time. The simple fact is that alcohol affects your judgment and riding skills. All it takes is one drink. So if you plan on drinking or take medications that may alter your ability to ride – find a designated driver or alternate method of transportation to get you there and back safely.
Be alert, aware and in control before you hop on your bike.