Holy crap!  Yes, that is a crash test dummy on the motorcycle above, but I still feel sorry for it!

For those who’ve had to pack their bike away for the cold winter months, spring is an exciting time.  The warmer weather, the budding flowers, the longer evenings.  All that is begging you to get out riding again.

But let’s not be too hasty!  We know you want to ride but let’s not forget: Safety First.  Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is in May for just that reason.  People are anxious to get out of their cooped up houses and get on the road but they may get too excited to remember some basic motorcycle safety practices.

Here are ten motorcycle safety tips to keep you alive and well this season:

1. Make eye contact

Never assume others see you. Always try to make eye contact with drivers who may be about to pull into your path.

2. Read “vehicle language”

Even when drivers, cyclists and pedestrians do see you approaching, they often misjudge your distance and speed. Don’t rely on them.

3. Watch out for left-turning vehicles at intersections

Getting hit by an oncoming vehicle that’s turning left is the most common type of motorcycle crash.

4. Check behind when turning left from a highway

Watch your mirrors and make sure you have plenty of space behind. The drivers behind might not slow down for you.

5. Look out for hazardous road conditions

Wet roads, fluid spills, sand, gravel, highway sealant, railroad tracks, potholes and other road-surface hazards reduce your traction. They cause many falls.

6. Take it easy on the curves

Many crashes happen there. You might overshoot the road or cross the centre line and get hit by oncoming traffic. Watch the road ahead, slow down and choose the correct lane position-before entering a curve.

7. Wear a good helmet

Helmets prevent head injuries in 67 per cent of crashes and deaths in 29 per cent.  Make sure your helmet has a sticker showing that it meets current safety standards. Avoid buying a used helmet. It may have been in a crash, and the damage may not be obvious.

8. Wear protective clothing designed for motorcycle riders

It can provide some protection during a crash, as well as shield you from the weather and flying debris. Keeping warm and dry will help you stay alert and maintain coordination. Wear your riding gear in layers so you can adjust to changing conditions. Jeans give little protection. Never ride in lightweight pants or shorts.

9. Protect your eyes and face

Constant wind can make your eyes water, preventing you from spotting hazards. Flying insects, dust and debris can hurt your eyes and face. The best protection is a full-face helmet with a built-in face shield.

10. Be visible

Wear bright, reflective clothing. Add extra reflective material to it or wear a reflective vest. Likewise, buy a bright-coloured helmet and stick reflective tape to the back and sides. Always keep your headlight on. Ride in the lane position where other drivers can easily see you and you’ve got room to move. Avoid all other vehicles’ blind spots.

Here on The Sidecar, we want to help bring safety awareness to you.  Stay tuned for more tips, guides, and posts on motorcycle safety this month!

Sources [ ICBC ]

  • Hi Mark,
    I reviewed your ten steps for safe riding. My only comment relates to your first point, ie. that a rider should make eye contact with an oncoming or left turning driver. The reality is, most drivers do not have motorcycles in their road vocabulary. We are ghosts on the road to most drivers. Drivers will look right through the motorcyclist. If you recall what the most common statement that is made by a driver following a crash… “I didn’t see him.” What I have been teaching my students is to look at the front wheel for rotation instead of searching for the drivers eyes. I know it human nature to look at a person’s eyes, but in circumstances where a driver may rabbit in front of rider, the slow rotation of the wheels are much more prognostic of whether a rider is in danger of a conflict with another vehicle. Otherwise, I agree with the remainder of your recommendations. This is just my opinion.
    Stephen M. Shaw
    Reno NV.

  • Gul

    NO doubt experience counts, keep writing safety tips as much as you can. As you know new bike lovers are facing lots of accidents. Definitely your article will be helpful. Every motorcyclist should consider as many ways as possible to become a safe rider.

  • Gul

    Many of the bikers are feeling safe due to your article. Your safety tips are good and easy to follow. Every biker should be aware of these. Sometimes I ride my bike on highway and before touching the road these tips reminds me that the safety is must.

  • Your safety tips are good and easy to follow. Most of the accidents occurs due to the carelessness of drivers. I totally agree with all of your points especially 7th and 9th. Wearing protective clothes and hamlet is must. Most of the causalities occurring are usually the head injury case.

  • All of these safety tips must follow everytime you drive a bike. One another tip is free your mind while driving. any destruction can cause accident.

  • Felix

    I totally agree with all the safety tips you have mentioned. For someone who has been in a motorcycle accident, I can attest that safety gears can save your life. When the accident happened, I was lucky that I was wearing a helmet and kevlar jeans that I have gotten from http://www.s3performance.com.au/ the day before! I would have probably dead by now if not for those safety gears.

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