When you earn your motorcycle endorsement the letter “M” is stamped on your driver’s license right next to height, as if ‘motorcycle’ was just another part of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition. You see, cars deceive us into thinking we’re safe, and in control. The air-conditioning fans murmur a sense of tranquility. Motorcycles tell us we are small and exposed, and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that’s no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.
Top Ten Motorcycle Safety Tips
- Eye contact. Never assume others see you. Always try to make eye contact with drivers who may be about to pull into your path.
- Read ‘vehicle language’. Even when drivers, cyclists and pedestrians see you approaching, they often misjudge your distance and speed. Don’t rely on them.
- Turning left. Getting hit by an oncoming vehicle while turning left is the most common type of motorcycle crash. Watch your mirrors.
- Be cautious of hazardous road conditions. Wet roads, fluid spills, sand, gravel, highway sealant, railroad tracks, and potholes reduce traction and may cause falls.
- Take it easy on curves. You could overshoot or cross the center line into oncoming traffic. Slow down and choose the correct lane position before entering a curve.
- Wear a good helmet. Helmets prevent head injuries in 67% of crashes. Helmets must meet current Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) safety standards. Avoid buying a used helmet, especially one that has been in a previous accident.
- Be visible. Avoid blind spots and always use headlights day or night. Wear bright, reflective clothing.
- Protective gear. Gear can provide some protection during a crash, as well as shield you from weather and debris. Wear protective eye and face gear. Never ride in lightweight pants or shorts.
- Keep your distance. No one likes a tailgater. Keep a safe distance between your bike and other vehicles.
- Use both brakes. When braking use both brakes at the same time by applying them slowly and steadily.
Motor Vehicle Drivers
As an operator of a motor vehicle we urge you to look twice and save a life. Every biker’s family deserves to see them ride home safely. Look twice before switching lanes, making turns, or pulling out of a driveway. Stay on your side of the road, especially around corners.
Don’t follow too closely; motorcyclists may brake suddenly to maneuver around road hazards that cars need not consider. Keep your eyes on the road, and off your cell phone. Take the time to learn motorcycle awareness habits to avoid using these four deadly words, “I didn’t see him.”