Two Points of Contact: Safe Driving Strategies for Motorcyclists

The likelihood of motorcyclists dying from a crash is 30 times more than those in cars, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In addition, close to 50 percent of all deaths in motorcycles involve a single-vehicle crash. An in-depth look at the causes of motorcycle crashes in the United States can be found in this study by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology. For state-specific motorcycle crash statistics, refer to Department of Transportation websites such as these in Wisconsin and Tennessee.

Considering the harsh reality of motorcycle driving should go hand in hand with the task of researching how to get motorcycle license in your state. Here are safety precautions for taking your motorcycle on the road.

Buy a Model that Suits You

When shopping for a new bike, consider opting for one whose make and model is a good physical fit for you. Both of your feet should be flat on the ground when you’re seated on the motorcycle. The controls and handlebars should also be within reach. Basic commuter bikes are usually models with a 250-300-cc engine. If you’re going to use your bike on the highway, you need one with a bigger engine to keep up with the usual traffic speeds.

Always Use Protective Gear

Your protective gear is your one and only barrier against the road. It’s wise to choose a high-quality, full-face helmet, protective eye gear, and thick clothing. Helmets, in particular, are crucial. Government studies have shown that compared to motorcycle riders who wear helmets, those who don’t are 40 percent more likely to end up with a fatal head injury in a crash and three times more likely to sustain a brain injury. Bright-colored gear for motorcycle riders is also a must, so motorists can spot you from afar. Reflective decals can be potentially lifesaving, so use them whenever possible on both your motorcycle and your clothing.

Pay for an Anti-lock Braking System

Invest in a motorcycle safety feature that’s a proven lifesaver–an anti-lock braking system (ABS). According to IIHS, bikes with ABS brakes are 37 percent less likely to end up in a deadly crash compared to motorcycles without such brakes. With an ABS brake, you can still steer the motorcycle during an emergency stop, thus preventing the potentially deadly sequence of skidding and crashing. High-end bike models are equipped with this safety feature.

Enroll in a Riding Course

Advanced maneuvers during emergency situations can be learned from a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course or any similar riding course being offered in your area. You may be able to attend a free safety riding course, depending on availability, but be prepared to shell out around $350. This worthwhile and lifesaving investment can pay off. For one, it can qualify you for an insurance discount. In some cases, it can even get you a discount from the bike manufacturer.

Aside from doing rote maintenance on your bike so it stays in tiptop shape, it helps to be alert at all times when riding your motorcycle. Watch out for any road hazards and stay safe.

About the Blogger 

Emily Hart helps to run instructional courses as part her work role and likes to offer her insights to an online audience. She has written for a variety of safety and driving blogs.

 

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Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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