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    Part 2 - How To Prevent The Unforeseen

    Courtesy of Michaels & Smolak

    Prevention is better than cure...how true is that! Lets look at more ways of keeping ourselves safe while riding.

     

    6. ASSUME NO CAR CAN SEE YOU.

    Riding a motorcycle makes you less of a view-able obstacle on the road. Many motorcyclists tend to fall within a car driver’s blind spot. Also, car drivers are subconsciously paying more attention to other cars on the road than motorcycles. Many motorcycle accidents were caused because a car driver didn’t see a motorcycle and thought a motorcycle “came out of nowhere,” even though the motorcyclist was nearby for miles. It’s best to believe that none of the other cars on the road can see you so you don’t make a poor decision based on assumption.

     

    7. CHECK YOUR MIRRORS OFTEN

    It’s important to frequently check your mirrors to see what’s going on behind you as you ride. While it is important to check your mirrors before changing lanes, this safety tip is more about the other cars on the road. Your mirrors can help you see oncoming cars behind you, so you won’t get startled when overtaken. Cars behind you might also have their blinkers on, trying to warn you of an upcoming merge. Checking your mirrors will also help you better gauge your distance between you and the vehicles around you. This helps create a more accurate buffer between your motorcycle and traffic surrounding you.

     

    8. BECOME A BRAKING EXPERT. 

    Using your brakes to avoid a motorcycle crash might seem like a given, but many motorcycle accidents happened due to the poor reaction time of the rider using the brake. Always keep your hands over the front and rear brakes so you can slow or stop instantly. In fact, many experienced riders advocate that you find an empty parking lot and practice braking at various speeds, so at least you and your body can know what to do and what to expect if you need to make a unexpected stop. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also provides a motorcycle safety course to help you adept to braking and flexibility skills.

     

    9. WEAR PROPER GEAR. 

    Choose safety gear that is comfortable and does not hinder your ability to operate. The road doesn’t care about your face or any of your body parts looking the way it was genetically designed. So, at the very least, if none of the previous reasons for wearing proper motorcycle gear sounds good with you, dress for the crash. Don't wear gloves that are too tight or too loose on your hands as they might make it hard to work the controls on your bike. Wear insulated gloves when it is cold outside so that you don't freeze your fingers off. Riding out in 100-degree temperatures? Then breathable motorbike apparel that reflects the sun can help you stay hydrated and cool. Do you have proper eye protection for bright sunlight? How about clear glasses for after dark? Invest in a saddlebag on your motorcycle dedicated to tools, rain gear, garments and also glove options for different weathers and temperatures. We want you to ride smooth and far. 

     

    10. CHECK BEFORE EACH RIDE

    I can't stress enough on daily checking, and timely and regular service, repair and maintenance. When were the tires last changed? Do you see a sudden leak (oil or gas)? Are the lights working - front, rear and signals. What about the horn and brakes - are they working, normal? Mirrors - clean and well adjusted? Clutch and throttle are working smoothly? Each and every part of your bike is made to keep you safe and protected. 

     

    Part 1 - How To Prevent The Unforeseen

    Image courtesy of Health Voyager

    Riding a bike is not always dangerous. Fortunately, bikes also give you the best possible tools to avoid crashing — incredibly powerful brakes, obstruction-free vision, excellent control and extremely grippy tires. When motor bikers talk about how to stay safe on the road, it’s usually something on how to brake or how to lay ’er down which can cause very painful injuries. The problem is that depending on emergency braking to get you out of trouble is usually a really rotten plan. I know, learning how to use your front and rear brakes effectively is a critical skill every rider should develop and practice. And when all else fails, there’s no substitute for having a good DOT-qualified helmet on your head. But depending on emergency braking, alone or swerving to avoid an obstacle is, I think, not really a master plan to stay out of a crash.

     

    1. DO ALL YOU CAN TO MAKE IT EASY FOR CAR DRIVERS TO SEE YOU. 

    "I never saw the rider" is one of the most common things automobile drivers say after they've struck a motorcyclist. Around 90–95 percent of car drivers who messed up say the same thing. Car drivers don’t want to hit you as much as we don't want to crash into them but a majority of them need extra help to know that you’re there especially at night where everything is dark. Do everything you can to make it easier for them to see you. Use your high beam during the day. High beam is clearly more visible than low beam. Replacing that cool-looking black leather jacket for something neon bright wouldn’t hurt, either. The rider is a big part of a motorcycle's visual existence, and wearing bright or reflective safety gear is an easy way to stand out and look more striking. Choose bright colored gear, and try to find garments that are covered with a reflective finish. Some apparel now comes with a reflective finish that's only visible at night, adding a touch of style to safety gear.

     

    2. NO BOOZE BEFORE RIDING

    Never ever drink and ride. Ever. Not only is drinking and riding against the law, it's among the most dangerous things you could do and do to others. Alcohol interferes with your ability to think clearly, negatively influencing your ability to pay attention and make safe riding choices. Your risk of causing your own crash escalates when you drink and ride.  And a drinker’s favorite way to crash is by running off the road, which has a higher casualty rate than any motorcycle-car crash except head-on because there are so many rigid fixed objects waiting to, uh, welcome you. Trees, fire hydrants, parked cars, the list goes on and on.

     

    3. LOUD PIPES SAVES LIVES?

    Stop saying that! That's less true today. By the time you’re close enough for a car driver to hear you, he’s already in your path. In fact, you run the risk that the driver will be so alarmed he’ll stop dead in your path. On the other hand, loud exhausts sure work wonders for pissing off the people behind you and making ’em hate motorcyclists. If you’re serious about staying out of an accident, make yourself seen, not heard.

     

    4. SPLIT LANES ON THE FREEWAY

    It’s safer than trusting the guy behind you not to rear-end you. More riders on the freeway got nailed from behind while staying in their lane than riders who crashed while lane-splitting. But don’t go too much faster than the traffic flow and be really careful when coming up to a car with an open space in the lane next to it, especially if the lane with space is moving faster than the one with the car.

      

    5. DON'T LAY IT DOWN.

    You lose only about 8–10 mph every second you spend sliding on the ground while giving away your perfectly good skin. If you do a good job using both brakes, you can lose 15–20 mph every second you brake and save on band-aids, too. About the only time to put yourself down on the pavement is if you’re on an elevated curve (like a freeway interchange) and you’re about to hit the outside wall. The wall is usually high enough to save your motorcycle, but let you go flying off into the wild blue yonder. Well, it might also save you but this accident avoidance technique doesn’t come without costs. You’ll find that most bikes, even Harleys', are made to operate with their wheels, not their bodies and frames, in contact with the road. Before laying ‘er down, run a quick calculation of the costs in doing so. Components like exhaust pipes, headlights, fuel tanks, sweet tasselled-leather saddlebags, frames and chrome engine cover cost money. How much laying ‘er down costs is up to your affordability.