When spring comes, more motorcyclists head out to enjoy rides on scenic Kentucky roads. After continuing coronavirus restrictions, more motorcyclists than normal may be on the road this spring. Some even might be beginning riders. Perhaps, you recently bought your first motorcycle with some of the money from recent government coronavirus relief checks.
While motorcycle accident fatalities declined 5% in 2018, motorcyclists still face increased chances of suffering serious injuries or dying in a crash. So here are five important safety reminders for motorcyclists as they return to riding this spring:
1. Always wear a helmet and protective gear. Safety experts estimate that helmets prevent 37% of fatal injuries for motorcycle drivers and 41% of deadly injuries for passengers. Plus, with a helmet on, you are less likely to suffer a serious traumatic brain injury. With a leather or heavy denim jacket and pants on, you are less likely to suffer serious cuts, bruises and road rash in a crash. Wearing gloves will give you a better grip while you ride and protect your hands in an accident.
2. Take a motorcycle safety course. If you are a new rider, one of the best investments you can make other than purchasing protective gear is to take a motorcycle safety course. Even if you have ridden motorcycles before, it’s good to get a refresher on how to avoid becoming involved in an accident and practicing safe riding techniques.
3. Make sure your motorcycle is in good working order. Before every ride, you should check your bike’s oil level, tire pressures and hydraulic and coolant levels. You also should test your headlights, turn signals and brake lights to make sure they are working properly.
4. Ride responsibly. Make sure to follow all traffic rules, signal when you want to turn or change lanes, and ride within lane markings. You also always should leave plenty of space between your bike and the vehicle in front of you, so you have time to stop quickly if you need to. To further increase chances drivers will see you, ride with your motorcycle lights on at all times and add reflective tape to your bike, helmet or riding jacket.
5. Don’t ride while intoxicated or high on drugs. Far too many motorcycle accidents occur because riders are riding while drunk or high. Alcohol and some drugs slow your response times and affect your motor skills. You may not be able to swerve away from a motorist who enters your lane quickly or notice loose gravel on the road.
Motorcyclists need to be defensive riders, always alert of their surroundings. By taking that approach and following these safety tips, you are less likely to suffer a serious injury in an accident.