Are you wondering what you can do to stay safe while riding your motorcycle? Looking for the top motorcycle safety tips you can use to prevent any risks? Or do you just want to refresh your memory on how you can maintain your bike? Then read on, as we have crafted the perfect guide for you!
Below you will find everything you need to know about motorcycle safety. From what clothes you should wear whilst you ride your bike, to how you can avoid accidents with another motorcyclist riding pillion. Keep yourself and other riders safe, with these fantastic motorcycle tips!
Wear the right gear
A vital bit of gear for any motorcyclists, a motorcycle helmet, can save your life. Offering incredible protection from any potential head injuries, every time you get onto your bike, you should make sure your helmet is properly fastened.
There are a range of different types of helmet available, but as long as the one you choose offers high levels of protection, you will be able to ride your motorcycle in safety.
Typically, more expensive helmets will tend to offer more protection. Whilst we wouldn't recommend going out to buy the most expensive helmet you can, we would suggest that you spend a little more than you usually would as this will get you the best protection!
Providing warmth and protection, leathers are a quintessential part of motorcyclist culture. Almost every bike rider will have a reliable set of leathers that they will wear on every ride.
Motorcycle leathers offer a range of incredible benefits that all bikers will be able to appreciate. From offering protection from rain to providing the flexibility needed to keep your bike balanced, riding long distances without leathers would feel strange.
Another great benefit is you won't need to spend a fortune to get decent gear. Practically all branded leathers will offer high levels of protection without the need to spend an arm and a leg. So whether you are new to the world of motorcycles or you have been riding a motorcycle for years, consider adding leather riding clothes to your wardrobe.
On top of your leathers, you may also want to consider wearing different sections of body armour. Additions such as knee and elbow pads can help prevent injury such as road rash. They will also offer support and comfort for long-distance journeys.
Although not necessarily classed as body armour, you may also want to invest in a decent set of goggles. Some helmets won't offer eye protection, depending on their style, so wearing face protection is a must.
Motorcycle boots will offer the same benefits that a good pair of walking boots will. Sturdy designs will prevent blisters and aches from longer rides, and they can also offer protection on the off chance that something does go wrong.
Much like a lot of motorcycle attire, you won't need to spend a fortune to get a pair of boots that you can rely on. However, pricier pairs will let you constantly change gear without wearing down too quickly. But as long as you have a pair of boots that fit, they will be suited for motorcycles.
One of the biggest advantages gloves will offer, which is often overlooked, is added grip when riding your motorcycle. Biking gloves are designed to ensure you ride with surety and keep your hands on the handlebars at all times.
But on top of this, they also offer protection from other hazards such as road rash and protect your hands from going numb from the cold. Riding a motorbike while wearing gloves also provides a far more comfortable experience - So motorcycle riders are really not losing on anything from wearing gloves.
You can never be too careful when it comes to protective equipment when riding your motorcycle. So whether that's a padded helmet or armour over your leather jacket, keep these gear safety tips in mind to minimise any potential roadside risk.
Keep your motorcycle maintained
Determining the best pressure for your motorcycle's tires is the surest way of ensuring grip on the road. On top of this, you will also want to make sure that the tread is constantly maintained and that you frequently check for any accidental damage such as punctures.
There is a set minimum tread that your motorcycle tires need to match to be road legal in the UK. Your tires' tread is required to have a minimum thickness of 1mm across 75% of the entire read area, and a visible tread on the remaining 25%.
By constantly keeping on top of any tire repairs and maintaining the correct levels of pressure and tread thickness, your motorcycle will be far safer on the road.
There are a few issues that can come into play when it comes to your motorbikes brakes. Firstly, you will need to check the thickness of your brake pads before setting off on a long motorcycling ride. This is especially important if you have owned your motorcycle for a long time as pressure will begin to wear them down.
You should also keep your brake fluid at a decent level. Brake fluid is will help your brakes apply the pressure to the wheels of your bike needed to bring it to a stop. If your brake fluid isn't constantly renewed, it won't offer enough force to stop your motorbike.
If you own a vintage motorcycle, you will have to maintain your brake cable in the same way as the clutch cable or others. The best way is to check the brake cable for any damage before every ride and twice a year add suitable lubricant or motor oil into the cable sheath to ensure smooth motion.
Checking your chain before hop onto your motorcycle can help prevent disaster. When it comes to motorcycle chains you will want to find the ideal middle ground between a tight chain and a loose chain.
A tight chain may not be as problematic as a looser one, but it does come with its own risk. Due to added stress due to its tightness, your chain will be prone to potential breaks. The increased pressure will cause your chain to wear away, so it's ideal to loosen it up a little.
On the other hand, a loose chain can be even more dangerous for motorcycle riders. A chain that is sagging may fully come off the sprocket, or even get tangled up with your motorcycle's wheels. Ideally, you will want between an inch to an inch and a half of room at the lowest point of your chain.
Two of the biggest safety features that headlights provide is they light up the road in low-light conditions and they also offer other drivers a way to see you at night. Faulty headlights can lead to a lot of potential risks, which is why it is important to make sure they are constantly working.
You should also clean your headlights regularly, especially after riding off-road as dirt can lower the brightness. Also, keep in mind that you should keep the brightness of your headlights at medium levels. Brighter lights may seem safer, but they can be extremely distracting to other drivers.
Battery and Electronics
Almost all batteries and electronics found on your typical motorcycle will be hidden away from sight. This can lead to motorcycle riders forgetting to keep them maintained, which can be a large risk if you aren't careful.
Thankfully, you shouldn't need to do too much to keep your motorcycle's battery in good condition. One of the things you can do to keep your battery chugging away is to clean it often and remove any dirt and debris.
It is always cheaper to maintain your battery than it will be to install a brand new one on your motorcycle. With a little effort here and there, you can save yourself a pretty high cost further down the road.
Follow traffic rules
Following traffic rules is just common sense, but there a lot of motorcycle riders who have tried to adapt the rules to suit themselves. It is incredibly important that when driving on public roads, you follow the standard traffic rules.
Much like when driving a car, you should always drive on the correct side of the road and ensure you have a constant awareness of surrounding vehicles.
The rules are slightly different when riding a motorcycle in comparison to driving a car, so make sure you familiarise yourself with them before you set off!
When driving at high speeds, especially on motorways, you will want to maintain a constant distance from vehicles in front and behind you. You have no control over when they suddenly brake, so giving yourself enough room to react is important.
You also have to consider this for drivers behind you too. It can be difficult to balance the distance between you and surrounding vehicles, but with enough practice, it can become second nature. Once you have taken your bike for a ride a couple of times, you will easily be able to figure out the right distance to maintain.
Stay aware of road conditions and weather
Especially concerning if you live in the countryside, the condition of a road should always be considered when on your bike. With the UK's infamy for poorly maintained roads, you will want to make sure you are matching your bikes speed with the type of road you are on.
This is also true when it comes to Brittish weather. You never know when you may be hit by a rainstorm or even hailstone in March, so preparing for all weather types can help lower any risks.
Winter is perhaps one of the riskiest seasons if you are a motorcycle rider as roads will ice over. This can lead to less grip on your tires and a far riskier riding experience. Check the weather forecast before you set off to save your motorcycles from the hassle of unexpected storms and changes in weather!
Avoid dangerous surfaces
Some road surfaces will pose more risks than others. For example, specific motorcycles are designed for off-road driving whereas others are built for cruising through the streets. Figuring out which roads are best for your specific motorbike can help you ride on the road safely.
When riding on dangerous or off-road surfaces, try to keep your front and rear wheels aligned to maintain high levels of control. Unless you have been a motorcycle rider for years, you will want to keep your bike on flat surfaces where possible!
Stay relaxed but alert
Hitting the roads on your motorcycle can be extremely relaxing, but you should also make sure you are constantly staying alert. Whilst you can be certain of your driving skills, you never know how other drivers will react to particular situations.
By maintaining constant awareness you will be able to avoid dangerous drivers and other threats outside of your control. As tempting as it may be to listen to music whilst driving your bike, it can be dangerous if you can't maintain concentration.
Riding safely with a pillion
When riding a motorcycle with someone sat behind you, there are a few motorcycle safety rules you should keep in mind. Firstly, riding pillion should only be done if there is support for both riders feet. A lack of support will require extremely high levels of balance, which isn't a risk worth taking.
The pillion rider should also try to wear similar motorcycling safety gear as the main rider. This includes a helmet, leathers and body armour if possible.
Riding pillion can be extremely fun and a great way to travel with someone you trust. Always stick with motorcycle safety rules and you will be able to ride your motorcycle for a long time to come!
Enrol in a safety course
A great option, especially if it has been a while since you passed your motorcycle test is to enrol in safety riding courses. They will teach you everything you need to maintain safety whilst driving on roads, and they can even enhance your riding skills.
No matter how many years you have been on the road, a safety course can help fill in any gaps in your road safety knowledge. From spotting road hazards to knowing the correct distance to maintain when passing vehicles, if you are worried about your motorcycle safety, a course is the right option for you.
Are motorcycles more dangerous than cars?
This depends entirely on the rider, but if you are proficient at riding your bike, then your motorcycle will be no more dangerous than driving your car to work. Riding a motorbike does require a little more focus than driving a car as you will need to be constantly balanced, but as long as you keep your head on the road you will be completely safe.
What type of motorcycle is the safest?
There isn't one specific type of motorcycle that is safer than the others as they are all suited to different rides. However, some beginner models will tend to be safer to drive than more intermediate designs, such as sportbikes.
Usually, the slower the bike and the smaller its cubic capacity, then the safer it will be for beginners. Motorcycles such as standards or naked bikes and touring variants are ideal starter types. As long as you are comfortable riding your bike and you ensure high levels of motorcycle safety, you will be able to ride safely.
Have you been riding motorcycle for a while? What other motorcycle safety tips would you add to the list? Please comment...
You made a good point that staying alert is a crucial part of riding a motorcycle. I'd like to look for a motorcycle safety training center because I'm interested in buying my own bike soon. Riding one might be more convenient for me to get around town easier than with a car.