Motorbikes can look impressive on the open road and for thousands in the UK they’re the chosen mode of getting from A to B. Unfortunately for their riders, bikes are considerably more dangerous than passenger vehicles. When motorcycles crash, riders get hurt.
With the high volume of vehicles on the road in the UK, there are bound to be daily accidents, which is why it’s so important for riders to have a strong understanding of road safety.
According to the Department for Transport, in March 2016 there were 36.7 million vehicles licensed for use in Great Britain, of which 30.5 million (83%) were cars. Cars outnumber motorcycles significantly.
Motorcyclists make up just 1% of road traffic, yet account for 19% of the road users involved in fatal accidents.
Riders therefore need to keep their wits about them at all times, particularly at junctions and when travelling on motorways, and other roads with higher speed limits.
Motorbike Riding Training
Riding can be safe, especially with the correct levels of training.
Nothing can beat experience when it comes to riding, but significant training will prepare riders for many potentially dangerous eventualities.
Training can help raise awareness of other road users including pedestrians and cyclists, and capability for hazards and difficult riding conditions.
Adhering to speed limits is also an important factor as they apply to motorcycles as well as cars and help in managing the inherent danger of both driving and riding alike.
Get your mind right
The most important thing to consider before taking to your bike, even prior to checking the weather, is your mental state.
If you’re in the wrong frame of mind, you could be prone to do the wrong things. From riding too fast to making basic errors in judgement, the wrong frame of mind is one of the most crucial factors to consider before setting off.
If you’re tired, irritable, annoyed or distracted; getting on your bike can be very dangerous.
Riding in shorts and a vest is to be absolutely discouraged - even on hot summer days when the thought of wearing leather isn’t favourable.
Your leathers are there to protect you, so let them do their job and just enjoy the ride.
They can prevent you from suffering serious injury, no matter how hard the fall, and they can also help to make you more visible to other road users if they've got hi-viz markings on them.
Check, check and check again
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation in the US calls it T-CLOCS, and it might just save your life.
T-CLOCS stands for Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Stands. It’s the quick safety inspection that you should perform before you ride.
Your lid is your life
Your motorcycle helmet is the most important piece of kit you’ll ever own. You never know when it may be called upon, so it makes sense to look after it.
A helmet generally has a life of around five years; three years if used regularly. To get the most out of the protection it offers, you need to keep it in the best possible condition.
Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and make sure you wear a full face helmet that actually works. Take some time to research the best fit and specifications right for you.
All helmets worn on UK roads must either:
Meet British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark
Meet UNECE Regulation 22.05
Meet a European Economic Area member standard offering at least the same safety and protection as BS 6658:1985, and carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark
The Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) shows you approved helmets and how much protection they offer
Day dreaming whilst taking a leisurely walk can be forgiven. The worst you’re likely to experience is falling over or softly bumping into an obstacle.
Things are slightly different on a motorbike. Lapses in concentration can lead you to much more significant danger.
With nothing but a thin layer of leather, some padding and your helmet between you and the tarmac at 30MPH+, it pays to pay attention.
Don’t ever drink and ride.
The limit for drinking before getting on a bike should be zero units.