Motorcycle safety page
If you are like 90% of the people who ride motorcycles, then some of these might sound familiar:
- “Those things are dangerous!”
- “I used to ride a motorcycle back home, but I'll never ride one in this city!”
- “My father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, uncle, friend died on one of those things so you shouldn't ride one!”
- “It’s not you that you have to worry about; it’s the other drivers on the road!”
There is no denying that riding a motorcycle can be considered a dangerous sport. However everyone who rides a motorcycle, contrary to popular belief, does not end up seriously injured or worse. There are number of people out there who have been riding for many years that have not seriously hurt themselves. What is the secret to their longevity? Are they just lucky?
Luck has very little to do with it. The reason that these riders, are still riding is because they take riding a motorcycle very seriously. They recognize that a motorcycle is not a toy, that there are risks involved. And take steps to minimize these risks. I use the word “minimize” because the only way to eliminate the risk associated with riding a motorcycle is not to ride at all. They prepare themselves both mentally and physically for every ride.
Mentally they are ready to ride because they are free from the effects of alcohol and drugs (even certain Prescription drugs), when they are riding their mind is where it should be, on the task at hand. Concentration is one of the most important skills someone riding a motorcycle needs. He/ she should be aware of what is going on around them, and have a plan of action incase something goes wrong. As well a rider should make a habit of practicing emergency maneuvers on a regular basis, so that they become second nature when they are needed.
Physical preparation deals with not just yourself but your motorcycle as well. Wearing the proper gear is essential. How many times have you see a rider wearing shorts and a t-shirt on a hot day? How much protection do they have in a crash?
I find it funny that some riders out there rider with full gear sometimes, and without it on other occasions. This tells me that they plan to crash at certain times, and not on others. I don't know about you but I have never said to myself, “You know today I don't think that I will have an accident, so I don't need to wear my gear.” Most experienced riders wear their full riding gear every time they ride. If you ask them, they would probably tell you that sweat is much easier to wash of than it is to get a skin graft. This is one of my favorite sayings when it comes to Gear,” It is better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! “
The condition of your motorcycle is also very important. Riding around on bald tires, a rusty chain, or broken parts is a recipe for disaster. It is definitely a good idea to keep your motorcycle in good working order. I personally do a visual inspection of my bike before I go for every ride. 2 hours from home is no place to find out that there was a nail in your tire, or that your engine is low on oil.
Over the last decade there has been a significant increase when it comes to performance. Bikes (especially the sport class) are faster and lighter than ever before, and will more than likely to continue to loose weight and gain more horsepower for some time to come. It is important to note that some middleweight (600cc) bikes of today have more horsepower and top speeds that are greater than some liter class (1000cc) motorcycles of just over 10 years ago. What does this mean? Basically it means that a number of the smaller displacement (600cc) motorcycles sold today have performance capabilities well above the skills levels of most experienced riders let alone those of novice riders.
This trend towards lighter and faster bikes can be viewed as a double edged sword however. On one side, it can be argued that the sport is safer today than in the past, due to motorcycles having better handling, brakes, tires etc. Modern motorcycles can accelerate faster, stop in less time/ distance and turn significantly quicker that ever before.
The other side to this however, is that as horsepower numbers increase, the number of “beginner” bikes available is decreased.
Why are there less beginner motorcycles available? The answer is that the demand for them is not there. Most riders today are looking for the biggest & fastest motorcycle they can buy. This is not because they have the need or skills to ride such a motorcycle however; it is most likely because they are in competition with their friends, to see who has the fastest bike on the block.