The thrill of riding a motorcycle has been an exhilarating experience for more than 13 million bike owners in America today. Whether it be the open road, the ability to become one with the machine or the adrenaline rush, bikers worldwide take the pedal to the metal for a variety of reasons. Not only is there a tight-knit community dedicated to the motorcycle lifestyle, but there is a common phenomenon of entering a meditative state after going for a bike ride. Motorcyclists opt for bikes as opposed to cars because of the agility and nimbleness to which no car can compare.
There is, however, an inherent risk in opting for a motorbike instead of an automobile. Motorcycles are the deadliest method of transportation in the United States, and it’s not even close. The car comes in second but motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die than passengers in a car crash. This begs the question: Why are motorcycles so dangerous?
Several factors contribute to the danger of motorbikes, like the lack of protection and safety features. Cars have steel frames and airbags to protect you in the event of car crash. The same can’t be said for motorcycles, which is why 80& of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death.
1. Protect Your Head and Body with Gear
Brain injury is the number one cause of death in motorcycle crashes, meaning protecting your head is essential to bike safety. Helmets reduce the risk of head injury in a crash by 69%. Helmets save lives so regardless of whether or not your state laws mandate wearing one, never ride without one.
Other safety gear, such as armored motorcycle boots, also reduce injury risk by as much as 90%.
2. Cover Your Brakes
Covering your brakes is a tactic that is used by both automobile drivers and motorcyclists. To prevent fumbling for the brake lever or pedal at the last second, it’s advised to keep a finger or two hovering over the brake lever.
Another tip is to keep your right toe in close proximity to the rear brake pedal to prevent a driver who may be on their phone from cutting across your path. That being said, wrong turns are responsible for 42% of motorcycle deaths, so this emphasizes the importance of being ready to pump the brakes.
3. Scan Your Environment
By being aware of your surroundings, you can drastically reduce the chances of injury or a fatal crash. Make sure to watch drivers’ heads to anticipate sudden moves, utilize your bike’s mirrors, or even quickly glance over your shoulder.
You should also consider the surface you’re riding on — stay away from wet or slick roads and keep an eye out for shiny pavement, gravel and sand. You can also smell fuel to anticipate the slippery surface when riding. But remember not to dwell on any one area for too long and stay nimble.
4. Don’t Ride Under the Influence
Riding under the influence is illegal and can be deadly. Both alcohol and drugs impair your ability to ride a motorcycle and increase your chances of a crash. In fact, injuries occur in 90% of motorcycle crashes that involve drugs or alcohol, whereas only 33% of automobile crashes involve substances.
5. Ride in Open Areas
When you’re in a traffic jam, it may seem like zipping through intersections will get you to where you want to go. However, 61% of motorcycle deaths happen in urban areas, meaning there are many cars, buildings, and pedestrians out and about.
Instead, opt to ride in open areas with less traffic. You’ll get ample space from cars and be able to avoid dangerous blind spots while having more freedom to enjoy the open road.
While being a motorcyclist is a lifestyle, there are also important safety precautions to be taken into consideration each time you get ready to ride. For more about motorcycle safety, check out this infographic by Dolman Law below!
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