In collisions between motorcycles and other types of motor vehicles, the rider of the motorcycle is likely to be the most injured person. As motorcycle operators are without the walled protection of a vehicle’s exterior and the onboard safety features of airbags and seatbelts, they often face catastrophic injuries, and sometimes even death, when in a crash. Heavy clothing and helmets, while certainly helpful in mitigating injury, still have their limits of effectiveness. The best way to not be injured in a crash is to avoid the crash altogether, which is why many riders choose to practice defensive driving techniques to minimize their chances of being involved in a collision.
Here are four tips that motorcycle riders can use to become more defensive on the road:
- Stay alert: In large part this tip centers on avoiding distractions. Just like drivers of cars and trucks, distractions can impact motorcycle riders while in traffic. From cell phone conversations and manipulating a GPS unit to eating or drinking on a commute home from work, it is crucial that riders avoid distractions that pull their attention away from their surroundings.
- Observation and awareness: In addition to reducing their own distractions, riders must become exceptional observers of their surroundings. From watching their mirrors to looking through the windows of cars flanking them to spot trouble in other lanes, a rider must be aware of potential road hazards well in advance.
- Anticipation: Following directly from the first two tips, the rider must become an expert in anticipating the actions of other vehicles on the road. From anticipating sudden lane changes to seeing slowed traffic hundreds of yards away, riders must see danger and react quickly.
- Planning: While riders cannot always avoid bad weather, it is wise to plan the ride accordingly. From altering a schedule around a rainstorm when possible, to wearing appropriate clothing to combat cold, wet or windy weather, riders can plan ahead to minimize the danger they face.
Additionally, most traffic safety experts agree that visibility is a crucial passive driving technique. From wearing bright clothing to reflective tape or patches on their gear, riders can make themselves appear more visible to the other vehicles around them. No matter the time of day or weather conditions, the more visible a rider is, the less likely a collision is to occur.
Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling, convenient method of travel. Unfortunately, a collision involving a motorcycle often results in catastrophic injuries. Riders can suffer multiple fractures, amputation, brain trauma, spinal cord damage, road rash or paralysis. High speed collisions, or crashes involving large trucks often result in fatality. Following the foregoing practices can help prevent such crashes from occurring.