Feeling safe when riding a motorcycle? Ten reasons:
In the last ten months of our travels I’ve been riding a motorcycle a lot, some weeks pretty much every day for hours. We rode through the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Georgia and northern Iraq, through various weather conditions and on different roads. Many people tell me that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Also statistics show that I am 35 times more likely to be involved in an accident than a car owner. So why do I feel safe when riding a motorcycle? Because I do the following:
- Make sure that I’m visible on the road.
- I always wear a high visibility vest and avoid riding after dusk.
- My motorcycle and my helmet are white which further improves my visibility.
- Use common sense and imagination.
- I constantly think and analyse my actions. I am a harsh judge of my riding skills.
- If I am not sure of something, I approach it with caution and reduced speed.
- Sometimes I image a field in front of me (about 30m), the distance that it would take me to stop my motorcycle if something ran out in the road the road. Usually that makes me slow down.
- I adjust my riding style according to my riding skills and my speed according to the situation.
- Ride mindfully.
- I try to keep my thoughts on the road and be aware of my surroundings.
- Concentrate hard when riding a motorcycle.
- Riding a motorcycle for me is hard mental work. It makes me feel exhausted much faster than when I’m behind the wheel of a car, that’s why I have a daily distance limit (about 300km a day).
- When crossing intersections, I pay extra attention (too many accidents happen there)
- I’m aware of danger and consequences of getting involved in an accident
- Being aware of the danger can make you a more careful biker.
- I realise that protective clothing and a helmet is only an illusion of security and in a real accident they wouldn’t make much difference.
- Even a small collision with a car can have serious consequences for a biker. I don’t want to hear the ‘sorry mate, I didn’t see you’ excuse so I try to guess what other drivers intend to do.
- Know my limits.
- If I’m not sure of my skills, I rather stop or slow down.
- I tend not to be overconfident on a motorcycle.
- Peer pressure can get any biker in trouble, especially when you’re new to riding.
- Ride carefully and with caution.
- I love riding but a motorcycle is a tool to get me where I want, it’s a means, not an end. I don’t need to test my skills, overcome my own limits or get out of my comfort zone.
- Maybe it’s less exciting (I don’t think so), but riding carefully for sure is safer.
- Wear protective clothing and the best protective helmet I could find.
- Before choosing a new helmet, I check its rating on the SHARP page
- I always wear motorcycle boots, gloves and a jacket.
- Observe and anticipate.
- I try to be aware of traffic around me and predict any unexpected danger coming my way and respond before it happens.
- I take responsibility for my own actions as well as the actions of other drivers.
- Practice and continuously try to improve my skills.
- I believe that riding is a skill that requires constant learning and improvement.
- Riding a motorcycle is a very difficult skill to master and subtle changes can make a huge difference.
Statistics are bad, but the good news is that almost half of the accidents involving a motorcycle are caused because of biker’s fault. You can be safe when riding a motorcycle. Safety is largely up to you.
I believe that with the right training and rider’s education, statistics could be improved and we all could feel safer.