Motorcycle Safety 101

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association [NHTSA], in 2006, motorcyclists were 37 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car.

Whether you are a seasoned rider or a rookie, riding a motorcycle comes with considerable risk and responsibility, more so than driving an automobile. For riders, even small mistakes can cause horrific accidents because motorcycles have less protective cushioning and bulk to soften the impact of accidents.

In addition to taking all the necessary precautions of driving a car, motorcyclists must be particularly vigilant while on their bikes, especially when there is heavy traffic.

Here are some common mistakes riders make, courtesy of the NHTSA:

Failing to use defensive driving techniques

While defensive driving is important for all drivers, riders, in particular, should be aware of their surroundings and expect the worse. Don’t assume other drivers will yield to you and always be aware of traffic patterns. Anticipate problems and road hazards so you can slow down before reaching the problem.

Lacking braking and cornering skills

While motorcycles are lighter and more agile than passenger cars, there is also a learning curve associated with operating a motorcycle. Be especially alert when you are near intersections because approximately 50 percent of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur there.

Selecting a motorcycle that’s not a good fit

While a large motorcycle with immense power may be appealing, you should buy a motorcycle that you can handle safely. Large motorcycles are heavy and you must be strong enough to push it or pick it up when you fall over. You should also consider the functionality of your bike.

Forgetting about the limitations of a motorcycle

Always remember to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual and attend a motorcycle training course. A professional class can provide you with the knowledge and skills you may not learn when your friend teaches you how to ride.

Being inconsiderate

Avoid weaving in and out of stalled traffic and riding on shoulders. Being inconsiderate can aggravate other drivers and cause them to react negatively, putting both of you at risk.

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