Some of this stuff is just plain old common sense. But, when common sense is in short supply, we have to change the statistics page. So, do us a kindness and take a gander.
Space is the best protection you have between yourself and the people who are not you. Keep your distance from others, so you have more time to react and more space to adjust when someone else does something stupid.
Many crashes happen at intersections. Cars that turn left in front of you and cars on the side streets that pull into your lane are the biggest dangers. Always be looking for potential hazards, and anticipating how you will react. If a car can cross your path, assume that it will. That old saying about assumptions? It doesn’t apply here.
It’s pretty simple — if you have the right skills you can react a lot quicker and help avoid crashes. Studies (here we go with the studies again) show that most riders involved in crashes either under brake the front tire and over brake the rear, or do not separate braking from swerving or choose swerving when it’s not appropriate. Knowing when and how to stop or swerve are critical skills to keep your butt off the ground.
A common cause of single-vehicle crashes is riders running wide in a curve or turn and colliding with the roadway or fixed object. Be alert to whether a curve remains constant, gradually widens, gets tighter, or involves multiple turns.
Potholes, wet or icy surfaces, railroad tracks and tire scraps all increase your chances of going down. Avoid obstacles by slowing down or going around them — duh, right? On slippery roads, reduce your speed, use both brakes and try to keep your bike as upright as possible. When crossing railroad tracks, it’s safer to stay in your lane rather than try to turn to cross at a 90-degree angle. For track and road seams that run parallel to your route, cross at a 90-degree angle. For track and road seams that run parallel to your route, cross at an angle of at least 45 degrees to avoid catching your tires.
Everyone knows that car drivers often don’t see motorcycles, and the smaller the vehicle, the harder it is to judge its speed. The slower you go, the more time you’ll have to react when a car pulls out in front of you.
Traffic lights don’t hate you. It’s just that some of them don’t turn green until they receive a signal from a metal detector buried in the pavement. But, sometimes bikes don’t have enough metal to make them work. Seriously. Just try to locate a detector — usually a square or octagonal pattern of thin lines in the pavement — and ride along it.
Most motorcycle crashes involve — yup, you guessed it — only a motorcycle.
And who are we to judge? Bottom line — everyone needs to ride the bike that’s right for them. Your feet should reach the ground when you’re in the saddle, and the controls should be easy to operate. When you find a bike that’s right for you, make sure you are familiar with every inch of her body before taking her out.
Many crashes happen when the driver of a car doesn’t see you. No surprise there. So help yourself by wearing the proper clothing, using your headlight and riding in the best lane position. And, before making a move, always let people know what you’re doing by using the correct signals.