Riding a motorcycle can be very dangerous, especially for the new rider. Fortunately, motorcycles can also provide you with excellent tools that can help you prevent an accident, including great handling, obstruction-free vision, powerful brakes, and tires that offer an impressive grip. But new riders don’t know how to handle their bikes like a seasoned rider does, and how to handle different types of road conditions. This guide on tips for preventing accidents on your motorcycle will go over the common mistakes most beginners make, what you can do to protect yourself, and the different things you should avoid to prevent a motorcycle accident.
Riding on the road can be dangerous depending on road conditions, weather conditions, and the rider’s experience. When you’ve been riding for years, you may not be on edge like a new rider is, yet you’re still at risk of a serious accident due to other drivers on the road. This guide will include some great tips on how you can avoid serious injuries, common dangers on the road, and more. A new rider will have plenty to learn in the beginning, from how to ride in wet weather conditions, to how to maintain their bike to keep it in safe running order. If you want to significantly minimize your chances of serious injury or dying in a crash, then you need to educate yourself on basic riding skills. A new rider will benefit from taking a basic rider course.
Using the safest motorcycle helmet and other types of safety gear will help prevent a serious injury in the event of a crash, and can also make riding a more comfortable experience while giving you improved control over your bike. Safety gear can also make you highly visible to other drivers and riders on the road. A brightly colored helmet and jacket can make it easier for drivers to see you, which can help to prevent an accident. Below, you’ll find a list of the most common accidents motorcycle riders are susceptible to and what you can do to prevent them.
When a Vehicle Makes a Left In Front of a Rider
This is the most common type of motorcycle accident. The vehicle’s driver fails to see the rider or they misjudge the motorcycle rider’s speed and turn in front of them at an intersection. You can blame blind spots, distraction, or simple inattention, however, the driver is mainly looking for cars and fails at noticing a motorcycle rider. Fortunately, this is a simple fix. To avoid this potentially serious accident, you need to anticipate this type of accident. Part of the rider’s job is to develop a type of sixth sense. When they’re on the road, they need to look for any sign that indicates that someone can potentially turn in front of them.
This can include a car that’s waiting to turn at an intersection, a large gap in traffic located near an intersection, or a parking lot or driveway. In situations such as these, make sure you cover your brakes, slow down, and be ready to take evasive action. You’ll need to be prepared to take something as innocuous as an SUV that’s waiting in a turn lane as an immediate threat. You’ll also need to take into account any objects outside of your view. A gap in traffic can indicate that someone may come through the gap, even if you’re not able to see another vehicle. Just be prepared for action when you’re surveying the road and you notice these signs of potential threats. Once you’ve identified these potential threats you’ll be able to determine the level of the threat. Can you tell if the driver sees you, without any obstruction from signs, trees, or their window pillars? Is the driver actually looking at you? How are they positioned in the road? How fast are they going? What direction are their wheels pointing in? If a driver turns into you, avoid laying your bike down. Shedding as much speed as you can pre-collision will give you your best chance of survival. To do this, you need to keep your bike upright and use both of your brakes. If you only have enough time to lose twenty to thirty miles per hour, it can still make all the difference between life and death.
Hitting a Rough Patch
When you’re out riding a twisting terrain you can end up heading around a corner only to hit a large patch of leaves, gravel or sand. A rider will typically put their front tire in one of these patches, wiping out. In order to prevent this type of accident, you should ride your bike at a pace that matches your reaction time, in addition to your ability to take action. Make sure you enter a corner wide, in order to increase your vision at an easier pace. Once you’re able to see you can pick up speed on the way out.
Do you know how to trail brake? Trail braking is considered a somewhat advanced skill that you should learn and practice before you apply it on the road. When using it, you’ll brake using the front brake before you swap the brake for the throttle. Because you’re already on the brakes, with the motorcycle’s weight distributed forward, increasing the size of the front tire’s contact pach and compressing the front suspension, you’ll be able to easily tighten the line, widening it by letting off or using a little more brake. This will help you avoid gravel and other types of obstacles.
You can also maximize your vision by using the full width of the road, regardless of what lane you’re in. Excellent vision will equal safety. Remember, you should practice this technique with an experienced rider before you use it yourself on the road.
Entering a Corner too Quickly
Entering a corner too fast is another common way a rider can wipe out on their bike. To avoid this type of accident, only ride as fast as you can see, using visual clues such as signs and telephone poles to judge the direction of the road, even if the road ends up disappearing over a blind crest. If you end up turning a corner too quickly, trust your bike and attempt to ride it out. A bike will be more capable than you are, so it’s basically you that is unable to make it around a corner. Try to take as much lean out of the bike as you can by hanging off and look where you want to go and try to be as smooth as you can on the controls. Avoid chopping the throttle, whacking the brakes, or trying to do anything that could upset the bike, causing it to lose traction. Keep your cool if a knee or peg or anything touches down, and instead, hold that lean angle and search for the corner exit, riding it out. This is another instance in which you’ll find trail braking can come in handy by allowing you to shed speed safely while you’re in the corner.
A Car Changes Lanes
If you’re in heavy traffic and a vehicle in another lane veers into you suddenly, you could end up seriously injured. A bike is able to fit into blind spots easily and a driver who is searching for cars may not even notice you. In order to avoid this, try to be mindful of where any potential blind spots may lie and make sure you spend as little time as you can in them. If you can see the eyes of the driver in their mirror, then they can see you as well. Scope out the area and take note of where lane changes become more possible. Is one lane moving faster as traffic slows down? People will want to change over to that faster lane.
Keep an eye out for signs that a vehicle is going to change lanes. This includes wheels turning, turn signals, or a vehicle that’s wandering around a lane as a driver checks their mirror.
When a Vehicle Runs into You From Behind
When you come to a full stop at an intersection, crosswalk, or stop sign, if the driver behind you doesn’t see you they may accidentally plow right into you at a high speed. This may sound like your average fender bender, but this type of accident can kill a rider. To prevent this type of accident, keep your eyes peeled. Do you see one car stopped at an intersection with more vehicles coming in behind them? Try to pull in front of the single car and you’ll be cushioned from a subsequent impact. You can also try getting between a line of vehicles as well. Another option is to stop to the side instead of riding in the center of a lane. Flash your brake light rapidly by tapping on your brake lever, keeping your bike in gear with one hand on the throttle. Keep one eye on what’s coming up in the rear and be ready to move away if it looks like someone could potentially plow right into you.
In situations where there’s terrible visibility, you should be on high alert. Also be prepared when you’re at a place where a stop may be unexpected, such as a pedestrian crosswalk on a street with heavy traffic.
You’re Riding with Other Inexperienced Riders
This situation is all too common. A group of motorcyclists are out for a ride together when one rider stops suddenly. His riding buddy is not paying attention and ends up plowing right into him. This can happen to anyone. When you’re riding with friends, make sure everyone is aware of the correct group riding etiquette and knows how to ride in a staggered formation. You’ll be surprised by how many people do not know how to follow this simple technique. Riding in a staggered formation will increase the rider’s vision and will move bikes out of line with each other. This way, if one person isn’t paying attention, the result will not be a collision.
Something has stopped traffic. You react by grabbing your front brake quickly and the next thing you know, you’re eating asphalt, lying on the ground and watching as your bike slides down the street. Learning how to use your front brake correctly will be the best way to avoid this type of accident. The front brake is the most difficult to master and the most powerful component on your bike. This brake is able to alter your speed much faster than the engine. If you’re new to riding and have never mastered this skill, then practice by finding an empty large parking lot to ride around in. At thirty miles an hour or less, begin braking at a certain mark, repeating the process until you’ve reduced the braking distance as much as you can. You’ll be able to feel the tire on the very edge of locking up, with the rear wheel lifting up. Once you’ve gotten the hang of braking, try it at a higher speed, until you’re able to use the brake’s max stopping power safely and reliably. You can also just purchase a bike with ABS and press the lever as hard as you’re able to when you need to make a fast stop.
How to Be Prepared: Gear and Bike Maintenance
As I mentioned earlier, wearing a helmet and other types of protective gear can protect your head and body from minor and serious injuries and can also increase your visibility on the road. Wear a bright-colored or reflective jacket if you’re riding at night in order to allow drivers to see you easily.
Aside from using the right gear, you also need to take good care of your bike. If your bike has been stored during the winter, then you’ll need to follow a spring motorcycle maintenance checklist, in addition to proper monthly or bi-monthly maintenance.
This can include learning how to change your motorcycle oil, or how to change and balance your motorcycle tire. Keeping your bike running smoothly can have a huge impact on bike safety and your ability to control your bike in order to prevent an accident or collision. You should always make sure your bike is in proper running condition before you take it on the road. Check your exhaust system, lights, brakes, and tires routinely. If you expect to take your bike out during the winter months then tire maintenance will be especially important.
Ride at a Safe Speed
Riding your bike at its top speed may feel exhilarating, but it’s also incredibly dangerous, especially when done on an active road. Make sure you always keep control of your pace and follow traffic laws. A rider should also ride with caution on icy, wet, or slippery roads. Additionally, make sure you use caution when you’re entering corners since turning too quickly can cause a wipeout.
Riding in traffic can be scary for the new rider, especially when it’s rush hour. But if you remain vigilant and learn how to anticipate the moves of other drivers on the road, you can remain safe and avoid situations where you’re basically a sitting duck.
Since motorcycle accidents are often caused by driver error, you’ll need to always remain on alert and assume that other drivers on the road are unable to see you. Stay on the lookout for any gaps in traffic where a car can easily veer right into you. Unfortunately, 2/3s of accidents occur when another vehicle violates the motorcyclist’s right of way. Because of this, you’ll need to be extra careful at intersections, stop signs, and crosswalks
Avoid Door Zones
A driver or passenger opening their door just as you approach is another common accident and one that can result in a serious injury to both you and the other driver.
Steer clear of the area between parked cars and traffic lanes. Not only can a passenger or driver open their door directly in your bike’s path, but a pedestrian can also walk right in front of you.
At the end of the day, there are some motorcycle accidents that you won’t be able to prevent. An accident can happen even to the safest rider on the road. A collision with a truck or car can result in a debilitating injury such as broken limbs, herniated discs, and brain damage. Many victims of motorcycle accidents are forced to take several months or weeks off of work in order to recover from their injuries and can quickly become overwhelmed by their loss of pay and the mounting medical bills. In order to avoid this type of disaster, always ride with caution and follow these tips for preventing accidents on your motorcycle.