When it comes to riding your motorcycle, you have probably gotten well-meaning advice from just about everyone from the salesman who sold you your bike to your Aunt Jennifer who watched a scary episode of Dr. Oz about the dangers of motorcycling. Chances are these tips include not riding while drunk, riding under the speed limit, staying off the road when it’s wet, and of course that old chestnut, always wearing your helmet.
Are these tips no-brainers? You betcha. That’s why we turned to some seasoned motorcycle riders and other experts to help us compile this list of truly useful safety hacks. Read on to learn something new about how to ride your bike and still get there safe and sound!
Steer Clear of Semis
Talk to many experienced riders and you will likely hear that semi-trucks are to be avoided at all costs. That’s because you’re so small relative to their vehicle that they may have a hard time seeing you. In addition, they can cause some serious wind turbulence that can be hard to handle.
Pass big rigs as quickly — but as safely — as you possibly can. If you find yourself on the highway next to one and are prevented from passing right away by other traffic, make sure to get into the driver’s line of vision, either directly or in their mirror. This will alert them to your presence and, hopefully, keep you safer.
Where You Look Is Where You’ll Go
Just like when you shoot pool, shoot a gun, throw a baseball, or drive a golf ball, where your gaze goes matters. Where you are looking is where the ball, or bullet, or your bike, will go. If you are captivated by that muddy ditch on the side of the road, you’re going to end up in it. Too busy looking at the beautiful mountain view and you might go hurtling down. So make sure to look for, and at, clear spots ahead and safe pathways through traffic and through the turn you’re taking. It will keep you upright and heading in the right direction.
Take Breaks, and Plenty of ‘Em
Never ride when you are tired or sleepy. Don’t ride when you have to use the restroom, you’re so hungry that the sleeve of your leather jacket is starting to look juicy, or you are anxious to call your sweetheart and wish her goodnight. Instead, take plenty of breaks and take care of all your needs.
Even if you don’t feel the need to stop for any of those reasons, it’s still a good idea to take a breather every 75-100 miles or so. If you’re on the interstate, take advantage of rest areas where you can get creature comforts. Park your bike, stretch, walk around a bit, use the facilities, call home, check the traffic and weather ahead, grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee. It will do you good and you will feel refreshed and ready to ride again.
Be Bright — Literally
Quick — glance down at what you’re wearing. Is it black leather? Brown leather? Yes, it’s easy to dress in all black or brown, but it’s not particularly safe. If you are in dark, monotone colors, it will be harder for drivers to see you on the road, say the Denver motorcycle accident lawyers at Lampert & Walsh.
Opt for a brightly colored bike or wear something that is attention-grabbing, such as a reflective vest or neon windbreaker. Choose a helmet or other accessories that have high-viz colors. You’ll stand out on the road, which just might save your life.
Ride with People You Trust
Traveling with a companion? Make sure they’re your ride or die. Sharing a lane with a relative stranger or someone you just met is asking for trouble. Otherwise, you can never be sure if that person is sober, careful, and a smart rider.
No matter how experienced you are, being close in proximity to someone who doesn’t know how to handle their bike or who acts unpredictably is always a dangerous situation. If necessary, this might mean riding alone most of the time, but it will mean you reach your destination without incident.
What do you think of these safety tips? Do you have any words of wisdom from your years of riding a motorcycle? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below!