Riding a motorcycle is a great experience. The cool wind blowing in your face is liberating. No wonder riders love to go out on the open road whenever they feel like they need to get away from the stresses of life and refresh their minds.
If you do not have the right knowledge and skills needed to ride safely and enjoyably, riding a bike can have its risks. Motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in an accident than car drivers so being extra careful is important.
All Australian states and territories have adopted their own graduated licensing scheme for motorcycles comprising the following elements:
- Minimum age.
- Motor cycle rider training scheme including pre-learner and pre provisional training.
- Knowledge test and motorcycle operator skills test.
The basic and advanced motorcycle driving skills and theories like cornering, gear shifting, bike control, and traction theory among others. However, training in a controlled environment is very different from real road conditions so it is advisable to keep learning and hone your skills while on the road.
Here are some riding tips to keep you safe on the road;
Make sure to wear the right gear
Helmet – Choosing the right helmet could literally mean the difference between life and death. Most deaths from motorcycle accidents are caused by head injuries so make sure you wear an approved helmet and it fits you perfectly well. A loose fitting helmet will not give you the protection you need should you get involved in an accident.
Here’s a good guide in choosing the right fit from Revzilla
Look for these markings when buying a helmet.
Clothing – Wearing the right motorcycle clothing is also important to protect you from bruises, abrasions, and broken bones. Different parts of the body require different levels of protection and injury risk zones have been identified through the analysis of crash damaged riding gear.
“Most riders wear a motorcycle jacket (97%) but fewer wear motorcycle pants (45%). This is despite the fact there is actually far more risk of injury to the legs than to the upper body or arms. Four out of five motorcycle casualties (81%) have injured their legs and a third have broken bones (32%). Arm injuries are less common (56%) and less likely to involve fractures (17%).”
Boots – Like helmets, riding boots are also extremely important as legs and feet almost always get trapped under the motorcycle as it slides after a crash. These specialised boots protect your feet, ankles, and lower legs from injuries.
Now that you’re geared up and ready for the road, let’s talk about a few things that will keep you free from accidents. Though we all buy the most protective gear available, we wouldn’t want to test them out in real life, would we?
Be mindful of your surroundings – As a rider, you should always anticipate your next move and spot potential dangers like a car suddenly turning or stopping, a slippery road, an obstruction and potential trouble spots. Scanning your surroundings and looking in the rear view mirror from time-to-time will ensure you are aware of everything around you.
Keep a safe distance – it is advised to have at least a 3 second gap from the vehicle in front of you so you have time to react to any potential problems. More than 3 seconds if it is raining, snowing, or visibility is poor. If there’s a tailgater behind you, either speed up a little to increase your gap or let the other vehicle pass.
Here’s a good animation of the 3 second gap.
Keep your cool – Road rage is never justified and is completely unnecessary. Practice extended patience and respect and you’ll be enjoying your ride more so than many angry motorcyclists out there.
Safety, enjoyment, and relaxation is perfectly achievable when riding. It’s just a matter of preparation and having the right mindset and attitude. After all, that is why we choose to be two-wheelers, right ?
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