As soon as you pull your motorcycle onto a roadway, you are at a much greater risk than any other motorist of being involved in a traffic accident. Perhaps even scarier, motorcyclists are far more likely to involved in a fatal crash than any other vehicle type. According to the NHTSA, “Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash.” Therefore, as a motorcyclist, it is extremely important that you take extra precaution and drive defensively at all times.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Intersections are particularly dangerous. 70% of motorcycle-vehicle accidents occur at intersections. Be alert for vehicles making unexpected turns or pulling out in front of you. Be ready to react quickly.
- Check rear-view mirrors. Do so before changing lanes or making sudden stops to prevent rear-end collisions.
- Be aware of road conditions and traffic. Even minor road hazards, such as a small pothole, can be very dangerous to bikers. Painted roadway markings and manhole covers can be extremely slippery when wet.
- Position yourself to be seen. As one experienced motorcyclist said, “Assume that you are invisible to other motorists and operate your motorcycle accordingly.” Ride with your headlights on at all times and stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots.
- Stay off or get off the road at the beginning of a rain storm. The first few minutes of rainfall are most dangerous for motorcyclists as this is the time that oil and other automobile droppings on the roadway are most slippery.
- Brake wisely. Use both brakes together. Brake firmly and progressively.
All riders should be aware of their own limits and ride within them.
Think about it.