On any given day, there are probably at least a few people on the road with a motorcycle. That’s because motorcycles are some of the safest forms of transportation. They’re also convenient and fun to ride. But just because you can travel by bike doesn’t mean you should.
A motorcyclist has different duties than a car driver. Depending on your skill level and how often you share the road with other vehicles, you may want to keep reading for some helpful advice. You’ll learn some helpful tips for keeping your skills sharp while riding.
Avoid Distracted Driving
A distracted driver is responsible for 74% of motorcycle accidents, which were frontal collisions according to typical accident reports. So, while staying alert to your surroundings while riding a bike can be difficult, it’s not impossible. It just requires a little bit of practice.
First, there are a couple of things that all motorcyclists should remember. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebar when you’re on your bike. If you have to take your hands off the handlebar to grab something, put it back on as soon as you’re done. Ensure you’re not engaged in any other activity that could distract you from the road.
Be Vigilant in Bad Weather
When driving in poor weather conditions, you need to be especially careful. You may lose your concentration and swerve into the path of an oncoming vehicle. If you’re traveling during the day, you may not even be able to see the road in front of you because there’s so much cloud cover.
You also shouldn’t drive when the visibility is less than 50 feet. This is because the eye can’t see more than about 50 feet in front of it. If you cannot clearly see the road in front of you, you could swerve into someone’s path or clip someone’s vehicle as you drive by.
Don’t Follow too Closely
When you’re behind the wheel of a car, you’re responsible for everyone on the road. That includes following the speed limit, staying alert to potential hazards, and using your best judgment when making lane changes or crossing intersections.
But as a motorcyclist, you don’t have that responsibility. You can ride much faster, and since the other drivers in your lane probably won’t be doing anything more than following the same speed limit, you don’t have to worry about causing a traffic accident. Some bike riders follow too closely, though.
They ride so close behind other vehicles that they’re practically riding on top of them. This can be incredibly dangerous, especially when you’re fighting against the wind and the rain to stay on your bike. You don’t want to end up in a heap of the bike and car parts while trying to stay on the bike.
Check Your Blind Spots Frequently
Some people get nervous when they see other motorcycles in their blind spots. That’s because other motorcycles might be driving next to you. If you’re not paying attention, you could swerve into other traffic lanes or hit a parked car or truck. You could cause an accident or even a traffic ticket if that happens.
Don’t just assume that other motorcycles see your bright lights and siren. Some riders are nervous enough to turn on their flashers even when they don’t see other cars or trucks. That’s called flashing, and it could be very distracting to other road users.
Learn the Traffic Hand Signals
The hand signals you use to communicate with other drivers are also very important. When you’re on a motorcycle, you can’t use most cars’ signals. So, instead of using a “right turn,” you would have to make a fist and raise your hand up in the air. That way, it looks more like a “two-finger salute” than it does an actual right turn signal.
There are also some other gestures that you can make with your hand when communicating with other drivers on the road. You can wave your hand in front of your face to let them know that they should be prepared for an emergency stop, or you can point at something and shake your head to indicate something wrong on the road ahead.
Ultimately, riding a bike is a safe, low-risk way to travel. Sure, you might misjudge a turn or miss a traffic sign, but those are all things that can happen to any motorcyclist. And compared to driving a car, you have much less responsibility when it comes to the safety of others on the road.