12 Road Safety Tips for Your Next Motorcycle Trip

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Are you preparing to take your bike on the road for a long-distance trip in the coming months. Unfortunately for motorcyclists, it’s riskier to get on a bike than to get behind the wheel of a car. Per miles traveled, motorcyclists are roughly 29 times more likely than passenger car drivers to be killed in a crash.

This makes safety of the utmost importance. Here are 12 road safety tips that can help you reach your destination without an incident!

Motorbike trip
Motorbike trip

1. Become properly trained and licensed

Riding a motorcycle is very different from driving a car. While you may feel comfortable on two wheels, it’s critical that you take a rider education course and hold a valid motorcycle license.

Failing to complete training and testing not only increases the chance of an accident but also puts you in hot water if you are ever pulled over.

2. Install a crash guard

If your motorcycle isn’t already equipped with a crash guard, consider making this modification before your next journey.

The purpose of a crash guard is to prevent your bike from fully tipping over in an accident. When it does its job, a crash guard can help prevent injuries and even end up saving your life.

These devices are available in all types of materials, from aluminum to mild steel to stainless. Find the right crash guard for your bike, budget, and safety needs, and get it installed as soon as possible!

3. Perform a bike check before riding

Motorcycle maintenance is an essential part of road safety. Neglecting your bike could result in a breakdown or malfunction that puts your life in jeopardy.

Before you ride, be sure to perform a quick check of all of your bike’s systems. Confirm that your brakes, tires, headlights, indicators, and fluid levels are all in good order!

4. Choose a full-face helmet

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists were saved because of helmets in 2017. Needless to say, making the decision not to wear one can be a lethal mistake.

Invest in a DOT-approved, full-face helmet that shields every area of your head, including your eyes!

5. Suit up with full protective gear

A helmet isn’t the only protective item a motorcyclist should be wearing. If you want to give yourself the most protection possible, you’ve got to make sure that you’re equipped with protective gear from head to toe.

Sturdy materials such as leather or nylon can soften the impact of an accident and help you avoid road rash. Protect your hands and feet by investing in a high-quality pair of gloves and close-toed boots, respectively.

6. Use reflective materials

Visibility, or lack thereof, is one of the most common reasons for collisions with motorcycles.

Particularly if you plan on riding during sunrise, after sunset, or through the night, it’s important to wear clothing that makes you fully visible to other drivers. Before investing in a black leather jacket and dark jeans, consider the additional visibility that bright clothing will afford you!

You can also increase the visibility of your motorcycle by adorning it with bright decals and other reflective accessories.

7. Pay attention to the weather forecast

Before you embark on your trip, be sure to check the forecast for the days when you’ll be driving. While passenger cars—and especially those with four-wheel drive systems—may be able to navigate adverse conditions, it’s not always safe for motorcyclists to test the elements.

Besides snow, ice, and rain compromising your bike’s ability to grip the pavement, inclement weather can leave you wet and cold—making for a miserable riding experience.

8. Stay away from drugs and alcohol

It should go without saying that motorcyclists should never be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when hitting the road, yet motorcyclists are overrepresented in drug-and-alcohol-related traffic fatalities. According to one study, motorcyclists were intoxicated in 36% of fatal crashes.

To avoid a tragic accident, keep drugs and alcohol out of your system whenever you anticipate needing to use your motorcycle.

If you plan to drink, make sure you also have plans for getting home that doesn’t involve you taking control of a bike or any other vehicle. Depending on your level of intoxication, it can take your body up to 18 hours or longer to become fully sober again. Allow yourself ample time to recuperate before getting on your bike.

9. Share the road responsibly

Motorcyclists are notorious for lane splitting, weaving in and out of traffic, and failing to use signals.

If you want other drivers and riders to cooperate with you, it’s important that you respect them and drive responsibly. Maintain safe traveling distances, drive defensively, use hand signals whenever possible, and avoid any aggressive behavior.

10. Obey all traffic rules

While there are many different types of vehicles that use the road—passenger cars, small trucks, large trucks, and of course, motorcycles—it’s critical that all drivers and riders obey traffic rules in order to maintain order and harmony.

What’s more, lane splitting—a tactic that many motorcyclists practice in order to avoid crawling traffic—is illegal in most states.

Road rules exist to keep all drivers and riders safe, including you! By following all of the rules of the road, you can help preserve not only your own life but also those of others.

11. Adhere to the speed limit

As a motorcyclist, it’s important to remember that you are bound to the same road laws and speed limits as all other vehicles.

Always obey the posted speed limit, even when you feel that you can safely exceed it. The faster you ride, the more you reduce your own reaction time and the reaction time of other drivers.

12. Watch out for road hazards

While many drivers may be able to escape a road hazard with little more than some minor damage to their vehicles, some motorcyclists aren’t nearly as fortunate.

Common road hazards such as potholes, bumps, uneven pavement, gravel, oil, or sand can easily cause you to lose control of your motorcycle and put you in immediate danger.

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Susan Melony

Susan is an avid writer, traveler, and overall enthusiast

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