The weather is nice and it’s that time of year again! Motorcyclists are enjoying the open roads and lots of charity motorcycle rides are taking place. Charity rides are events that attract motorcyclists of all skill sets and ages. They create situations where ignoring the rules of the road can have serious consequences.
Before you head out this year read up on these motorcycle safety tips, wear protective gear, and be sure to drive defensively.
We know you want to have fun while spending time with like-minded folks for a great cause, but we also want you and your friends to be here tomorrow! Here’s some sobering statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):
- Motorcyclists are 30 more times likely to die in a crash than people in cars.
- Motorcyclists over 60 years old are at greater risk.
“Because of slower reflexes, weaker eyesight, more brittle bones, and other disadvantages, riders over 60 years old are three times (3x) more likely to be hospitalized after a crash than younger ones.”
- “In 2014, fatally injured motorcycle drivers were 28 percent more likely to be operating without a valid driver’s license …”
- Fatalities from motorcycle accidents are bunched at the ends of the age spectrum: (2014 stats) 36% of the motorcycle fatalities were motorcyclists age 50 and older, and 30 % of the fatally injured motorcyclists were younger than 30.
- Speeding and alcohol are frequently involved in fatal accidents.
Motorcycle safety tips to help you optimize the odds of a safe and healthy ride
Drivers of vehicles need to be vigilant for motorcyclists, and motorcyclists need to make themselves more visible.
Drive within a lane, occupying the same spot as an automobile. Resist the temptation to ride with multiple motorcycles across one lane. Avoid riding in between lanes and weaving in between vehicles.
Avoid riding behind trucks and larger vehicles.
Doing so makes it more difficult to be seen; you may be in the vehicle’s blind spot.
Keep your headlight on while riding.
Flash your brake light when slowing down and signal before changing lanes.
Be vigilant about the vehicles around you, especially coming from side streets.
Clothing, gloves, footwear, and helmets made for riding motorcycles are your first best choices for riding gear. They are made for safety first, comfort second.
Invest in a full-face, DOT certified helmet.
Helmets are mandatory in Massachusetts. “Helmets are about 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries. “
Wear protective clothing.
Resist the T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. Wear leather that will protect you from road rash, and over-the-ankle foot gear.
Ride a bike with ABS brakes.
IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it. “No matter what kind of rider you are, ABS can brake better than you,” says Bruce Biondo of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Safety Program.
Ride a bike you can handle.
Inspect your tires before each ride.
Under-inflated tires make the bike harder to control, impacting response time.
Take formal motorcycle safety training or a refresher course.
The Massachusetts RMV maintains a comprehensive list of businesses and organizations in many cities/towns offering motorcycle safety classes.
Download more motorcycle safety tips (PDF) recommended by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Share the road…
- Motorcycle Fatality Facts (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- 10 Motorcycle safety tips for new riders (Consumer Reports)
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation