For those of us who ride, there is no greater feeling than being on the open road, experiencing the smells, the sights and the different temperatures of wind currents that you just can’t get in a car. However, with the freedom of the bike comes some inherent risks, from other distracted drivers to inclement weather. Here are six ways to mitigate those risks, while keeping you safe and increasing the enjoyment of your ride.
1. Always be aware of your environment. The Ministry of Transport of Ontario (MTO) suggests you check your mirrors every five to seven seconds to keep track of what’s going on around you. Use your mirrors, shoulder check. Make sure that you can anticipate the actions of anything in your surroundings. As you drive, ask yourself “How many cars are around me? How many pedestrians? Are there animals that can chase me? What do I do if a car pulls out in front of me?” All of these questions keep you aware, and can prepare you in the event that you need to take evasive maneuvers.
2. Know your limit. Ride within it. Most riders do not have the skill level to tap into the full power of our bike. Recognize that great riders get that way only by spending many hours in the saddle. Experience is the only teacher, so learn to understand and respect your bike’s capabilities, and ride within your skill level.
3. Slow down. In OPP patrolled roads, speed was the second leading cause of fatalities. Often, it’s not your reaction time that causes a problem, but the reaction time of the drivers around you who aren’t expecting someone to be travelling fast on their bike. Slow down and enjoy the ride, so that you’ll have many more rides to enjoy in the future.
4. Get noticed. One of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes is car drivers not seeing the bike and pulling out in front of them. There are several ways to get noticed, including wearing bright clothing and having loud pipes on the bike, or installing an extra-loud horn. If there is any doubt that someone can see you, plan an escape route before the other driver pulls out.
5. Make sure your ride is road-worthy A breakdown on the road can lead to an accident. Before you ride, make sure that all of your signals work. Check brake lights, headlights, tail lights and tires. Make sure that your tires have adequate tread and sufficient air pressure (according to your owner’s manual, not the side wall of the tire).
6. Relax and enjoy the ride. With a motorcycle, the joy is in the journey, not in reaching the destination. So slow down, take the roads less travelled. Enjoy your trip. Don’t let other people’s driving affect your mood. If someone wants to overtake you, let them. Take the stress out of the drive by being completely in the moment. You will appreciate the ride even more. For information about your motorcycle insurance policy, or for a competitive quote, Click Here
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