Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cycle Season: Top 10 Safe Motorcycling Tips

With springtime weather, motorcyclists are beginning to pull their bikes out of winter storage to hit the road for the season ahead. According to U.S. Federal Highway Administration data, motorcycles make up 3% of registered U.S. vehicles and account for 0.7% of vehicle miles traveled, but account for 15% of vehicle related fatalities.

In anticipation of motorcyclists hitting the road in the coming season, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers its top 10 tips forensuring a safe motorcycle ride. “If it’s your first ride of the season, do a complete check of your motorcycle or take it to a dealer for a tune-up,” says IBC’s Steve Kee. “At the very least, check and clean your battery terminals, and check the oil and other lubricants. Also, check the tire inflation and inspect your tires for cuts and cracks.” IBC’s Top 10 tips are:
  1. Drive what you can control. People often buy motorcycles that are too powerful for them to handle.
  2. Take a safety course. Be aware of your limits. What would happen if you had to quickly avoid an incident?
  3. Ride according to conditions. Check the weather forecast and keep your eyes on the road ahead.
  4. Wear an approved helmet best suited for how you ride, and replace it every 5 years.
  5. Wear clothing that will protect you in a fall. Heavy denim or leather can prevent cuts and burns in a fall.
  6. Stay focused on the road. Motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a collision than people in a car.
  7. Always be seen. Assume car drivers cannot see you, so leave plenty of room and wear bright or reflective clothing.
  8. Ride in the proper lane position. Never drive along the middle of the lane where oil from cars builds up.
  9. Practice riding with others. When riding as a group, form a staggered pattern and establish hand signals that all riders understand.
  10. Stop frequently. Being rested will help you focus on the road.

“Stay alert to all potential dangers,” adds Kee. “Riding a motorcycle requires skill, control and a different level of focus than driving a car.”