Flip flops, shorts and a T-shirt are great to wear at the beach, but if worn while riding a motorcycle, they look silly and are truly dangerous. Unfortunately, everyone has seen someone on the road who seems to be under the false impression that riding a motorcycle is about being reckless and narrowly cheating death.
However, experienced bikers know how to enjoy the exhilarating freedom of the open road with responsibility, skill and confidence. This is because they know how not to ride.
Inspired by DISCOVERY NEWS’ article on motorcycle safety tips, here are six ways you shouldn’t ride your motorcycle:
Motorcycles are powerful vehicles, and you need to educate yourself if you want the responsibility of yielding that power. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation® has riding courses all over the country that will teach you useful techniques, maintenance procedures and evasive emergency maneuvers. It’s important to have these skills and knowledge before you take to the open road.
Skillful bikers are always focused, alert and defensive. Especially in situations with heavy traffic, you should always assume you are invisible to other vehicles. According to Consumer Reports, it was found that in collisions between motorcycles and cars, the car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. Therefore, paying special attention to car drivers who are on cell phones, maintaining a safe following distance and being on constant lookout for upcoming road hazards will help you protect yourself from the unexpected.
When preparing to ride, you should don your finest threads… your finest leather gear, that is. Jackets, gloves, full pants and over-the-ankle footwear are what you’ll need to protect yourself from wind chill, bugs, debris and road rash. Helmets are also essential. Consumer Reports states that riders without helmets are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash. Purchasing a strong, lightweight and comfortable helmet is one of the best investments you can make.
To ride safely and make the most of the experience, your bike should be the perfect fit for you. Make sure the handle bars are within reach, the bike isn’t too heavy and that you have the right engine for how you plan to ride. Also, ride within your skills. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything you are uncomfortable with, like weaving in and out of traffic or accelerating to fast speeds.
- Under the Influence
Though it may seem obvious, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to always ride sober. According to the CDC, 27 percent of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2013 had BACs of 0.08 percent or greater. Focus, balance and coordination are required for safely riding a motorcycle, but, as this statistic sadly illustrates, alcohol negatively impacts all three of these abilities.
Oh, the indecency! You’d be surprised to learn how many bikers ride naked — or as some may say — without the proper insurance coverage. Like it or not, you won’t always be in control.