How to Stay Safe When on Two Wheels – Motorcycle Safety
Anyone who chooses to put their leg over a motorcycle is accepting a certain amount of risk when it comes to personal safety. When compared with a motorized vehicle, such as a car, there are no air bags or bodywork to reduce injury if you fall off or are involved in a road traffic incident. The ground can be very unweilding when hit at speed and it's bound to be our fragile bodies that come off worse. There are, however, a number of things a motorcycle rider or passenger can do to keep injuries to a minimum. But first, let's look at some figures, and put the risk into perspective.
Accident rates for motorcycles
We could look at all the different motorcycle accident rates around the world, but for the purposes of this section we've decided to stick with figures for the United States. Compared with cars, the rate for fatal crashes is much higher. For cars, as of 2006, the number is 13.10 cars out of 100,000 ending up in fatal crashes. Motorcycles, on the other hand, have a rate of 72,34 per 100,000 registered motorcycles. When compared with automobiles, motorcycles also have a higher fatality rate per mile travelled. The risk of being fatally injured when riding a motorcycle is 35 times higher than a car. For serious injuries, the figures are no more reassuring. With figures from the UK Department for Transport indicating that there is a 16 times higher risk of serious injury when riding a motorcycle. Age of the rider also has a significance as it has been shown that riders below 40 are 36 times more likely to be killed. While the figure for riders aged over 40 drops to 20 times.
What can riders do to reduce injury?
The best piece of advice we came across when doing our research is for riders to always be prepared. The first step is to learn and observe the rules and laws of the road. Ensure you know them inside and out and always follow them and practice calm and courteous riding.
Anticipate any problems that may occur on your journey by preparing and packing for your trip. Even if you're only nipping to the shops wear the correct protective gear and carry a mobile phone. If your journey is a little longer bring water, extra clothing, a map and anything else you might need as well as a basic first aid kit and a couple of basic tools.
Ensure you motorcycle is in the best mechanical shape, with all fluids checked and major systems such as brakes and lights in good working order. Wear the correct protective equipment, such as helmet, gloves, boots, trousers and jacket. Just because your journey is a short one doesn't mean you shouldn't protect your body. Shorts and a t-shirt may feel cool. But fall off and suddenly it's not so cool any more. And can cause serious injury and disfigurement. Even if its not the law to wear a helmet it's common sense to do it for your own and your passengers safety.
Defensive riding is an important skill to learn. We don't mean you ride extremely slow but we do mean you should always be cautious. Expect other road users to do the unexpected, because quite often they do.