Tips on Motorcycle Safety

There’s no point denying it, motorcycles are more dangerous to drive than a car. The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, and nearly half of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes. Contrary to what you might think, these numbers actually increase for older riders, who are increasingly taking up or returning to motorcycling after many years. Because of slower reflexes, weaker eyesight, more brittle bones, and other disadvantages, riders over 60 years old are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a crash than younger ones. Still, don’t let all this info scare you too much; many enthusiasts enjoy a lifetime of riding without injury. The key to making your ride as safe as possible is to be prepared and minimise risk. For example, around 48% of fatalities involve speeding or alcohol, so just be eliminating those factors you’ll slash your risk of being involved in an accident. Here’s a guide to help you stay safe on to wheels, and enjoy the ride.

Motorcycle Safety

Buy the Right Bike

It might seem like an obvious tip, but it’s definitely a good place to start – particularly if you haven’t ridden for a while, as even models with small-displacement engines are notably faster and more powerful than they were 10 years ago. You should buy a bike that fits you, not the other way around. When sitting on it you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without having to be on tiptoes, and the handlebars and controls should be within easy reach without having to stretch. Choose a model that’s easy for you to get on and off the center stand; if it feels too heavy, it probably is! A smaller model with a 250 to 300cc engine can make a great starter or commuter bike, and you can always upgrade later if you feel you’re ready for a bit more power.

Get Kitted Out

If the worst were to happen, you want to be as protected as possible – so the right kit is absolutely essential. Jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster when coming off a bike. You want to invest in high-quality gear that will protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, and, yes, lots of road rash if you should slide out. For maximum protection, go for a thick leather jacket, gloves, leather trousers specifically designed for riding, and reinforced over-the-ankle footwear… and yes, you have to wear all of this even in summer. Specially designed jackets with rugged padding and breathable mesh material provide protection as well as ventilation for riding in warm weather. Finally, equip yourself with fully comprehensive breakdown cover – there’s nothing more vulnerable than being stuck by the side of the road, so you want to make sure there’ll be someone to help.

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