Motorcycles may be fun and fuel efficient but it’s no secret riders are a lot more vulnerable than in a car especially in busy city streets. Sadly over 200 motorcyclists and passengers are injured every year in road accidents. But the good news is you can lessen the risk considerably if you follow these safety tips.
Protective helmet and clothing
Wearing the right gear can go a long way in preventing serious injuries. Invest in a good quality Australian standards helmet that’s the right size for optimal head protection. Protective clothing is a must for every ride, including riding boots and gloves, and a motorcycle jacket and pants, and reflective clothing is a good idea for night riding or in poor conditions.
Staying alert can save your life. Experienced riders look and think ahead, checking the road at least a block in front for possible hazards to give themselves enough time to react. Check for potholes, wet surfaces, speed bumps and debris, as well as pedestrians, animals and motorists. When changing position on the road also remember to check behind in your mirrors and over your shoulders to eliminate blind spots.
Never assume that other motorists have seen you. Always think about your position on the road and consider if it is the safest place to be in and if you can be clearly seen. To maximise your visibility turn on your headlight and keep a safe following distance between yourself and the car in front, three seconds as a general rule of thumb and six seconds in wet conditions. Adjust your position at intersections and move to the far side of your lane away from turning cars.
Riding to the conditions
City streets are hazardous for motorcyclists, not only because of traffic but because different surfaces can affect your control of the bike. Particularly watch out for: wet roads, gravel roads, painted lane markings and steel surfaces when wet, and slow down.
While you can’t control the traffic, you can control what condition your machine is in and this can make a huge difference to your safety on the roads. Here are some of the things you need to do to make sure your motorcycle is in top condition:
- Make sure tyres are inflated to the right pressure and aren’t damaged or bald
- Check brakes, clutch and throttle are working properly before heading out on the road
- Keep lights clean and fully functional
- Make sure the horn is working and side mirrors are clean
- Check and top up oil and that you have enough petrol for where you’re going.