Motorcycle Safety 101

With the weather warming up, an increasing number of people are dusting off their motorcycles once again. But although motorcycles can be a fun way to get around, it’s no secret that they’re not necessarily the safest. Unfortunately, someone driving a motorcycle is about three times as likely as someone driving a car to get in an accident. And the risk is even higher for those 60 and over. So we’ve compiled a few motorcycle safety tips from the experts.


Drive Slow and Drive Sober


Okay, so you don’t necessarily need to drive slow. However, it is very important to heed the speed limits. According to the Insurance Information for Highway Safety, 48 percent of motorcycle accidents involve speeding. And unfortunately, 42 percent of motorcycle crashes involve alcohol. So if you want to stay safe, it’s simple: drive slow and drive sober.


Buy a Bike That Fits You


When shopping for a motorcycle, always make sure the fit of the bike is comfortable. Your feet should be able to rest on the floor, handlebars should be within reach, and make sure the bike itself isn’t too heavy. When determining the size you will need, it is important to remember that for regular commute, a smaller model can be ideal. However, if you plan to spend a lot of time on the highway, you may want to consider a larger bike.


Take a Safety Course


This is one of the most often-repeated pieces of motorcycle safety advice.Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses are offered all over the country and can provide invaluable instruction for beginners or regulars. These classes review basics of motorcycle safety, as well as more advanced maneuvers. Some classes are even offered for little to no cost. Even better, taking one of these courses can even the price you pay for insurance.


Drive on the Defensive


In about 60% of motorcycle crashes involving a traditional automobile, the fault is attributed to the driver of the car. This means, unfortunately, motorcyclists need to be on the defensive, even more so than other drivers. This entails being aware of cars pulling out from side streets and changing lanes without warning, avoiding tailgating and tailgaters, and keeping an eye out for debris on the road.


Wear a Helmet


This advice may seem obvious, but unfortunately, it is advice that often goes unheeded. Not wearing a helmet raises a motorcyclist’s chance of suffering a fatal head injury by 40 percent.

A full-face helmet marked by the Department of Transportation certification sticker is the ideal choice. But it’s not enough to simply buy a good helmet. Maintenance and often replacement are critical. Independent helmet testing organization, the Snell Memorial Foundation, recommends replacing helmets every five years.