We all know that riding a motorcycle comes with inherent risks, but a motorcycle is not a killing machine in itself. What makes riding a motorcycle dangerous is mainly the failure of many riders to be responsible on the road. It is more than just not wearing the right safety gear, but rather the lack of proper skills and knowledge on how to deal with other motorists on the road.
But while there is no way of knowing when a motorcycle accident is going to happen, there are certain measures that can be taken to avoid such unfortunate events from happening. Here are six of the most basic things to do to avoid the common causes of motorcycle accidents:
• Never drink and ride.
• Ride with a speed that gives you enough reaction time.
• Follow the speed limit.
• Maintain a space cushion around your motorcycle at all times.
• Pay attention to other motorists.
• Practice the 4Rs.
Ways to avoid the common causes of motorcycle accidents
1. Never drink and ride.
Of all the fatal motorcycle accidents involving other vehicles in 2014, 30% involved a rider having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the 0.08% limit. In single-vehicle motorcycle accidents, the number is much higher at 43%.
Despite endless warnings from various organizations about the dangers of riding while drunk, many riders still fail to heed these warnings.
To avoid getting involved in a drunk riding accident, just do not drink any alcohol at all especially if you know you are going to ride a motorcycle. Limiting your beer intake is not enough because even a small amount of alcohol in the body can affect your riding abilities. So do not risk it and just say no when you are offered a glass of beer.
2. Ride at a speed that gives you enough reaction time.
Motorcycles lack the stability that most four-wheeled vehicles have so they can be tricky to maneuver at times, especially when turning corners, regardless of how skilled you are. This becomes even more dangerous if you miscalculate how tight the corner will be, causing you to turn too hard and too fast.
If you do this and you crash, you might even involve other vehicles which may lead to further damages and more injuries.
To avoid this, ride at a speed that will give you enough time to react when you see a tight corner. Once you are about to make the turn, enter the corner slow and wide to increase your field of vision.
However, if you do end up taking a turn too fast, do not panic. Refrain from slamming the brakes because this could make you lose traction and you may even be ejected from the motorcycle. Just stay calm and ride it out.
3. Follow the speed limit.
Going over the speed limit can exacerbate everything on this list so always ride your motorcycle at a safe speed. Some riders wrongly think that motorcycles are only fun when they go fast but that is simply not true.
Riding a motorcycle is still enjoyable despite the speed limit so avoid traveling at a speed that gives you little time to react to any kind of danger. An extra second could mean life or death, so make sure you are going at the right speed to give yourself ample time to maneuver around a bend, a gap, or a slippery spot in the road.
4. Maintain a space cushion around your motorcycle at all times.
A space cushion is basically a safe distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles. Having a space cushion is crucial because it allows you to maneuver safely and prevents you from unintentionally hitting another vehicle.
If you have limited space to move around, such as the case if you are lane splitting, it could cause an accident because you will be too close to other vehicles. And since most car drivers do not anticipate a motorcycle to be passing them in slowed or stopped traffic, it might be too late for both of you to maneuver to safety by the time the other driver realizes your presence.
5. Pay attention to other motorists.
Paying attention to the road means paying attention to other drivers as well, and this includes being able to anticipate what they are going to do next.
Some signs can indicate if a driver is turning left. If a car is waiting at an intersection, if there is a gap in front of you, or if the driver beside you glances on either side at the last second, it is likely that the car is going to make a turn.
If you notice any of these indicators, start slowing down. Prepare to brake then move away from the other car and onto the outermost lane. You should also try to make eye contact with the other driver. If the other driver does the same, both of you should be able to acknowledge each other’s presence.
Another thing to check is the car’s side mirror. If you can see the side mirror and the driver’s face, he or she can probably see you as well. But if you cannot see both, your motorcycle is likely in the car’s blind spot and you should slow down to get out of it.
6. Practice the 4Rs.
Head-on collisions between a motorcycle and another vehicle are fatal for the motorcycle rider most of the time, and these kinds of crashes account for 56% of motorcycle accident deaths. Regardless of the speed at which both vehicles are going, the motorcycle rider will either be crushed or thrown upwards and into some hard surface.
To avoid such accidents, the National Safety Council is advising motorcycle riders to practice the 4Rs: Read the road ahead, drive to the right, reduce speed, and ride off the road.
Read the road ahead means that you should pay attention to the space you are traveling on and observe your surroundings.
Drive to the right means that you should move to the right-hand or outermost lane to get away from danger.
Reduce speed means that you should slow down if you notice that the other driver is distracted while driving.
Lastly, ride off the road means that you should go completely off the road and follow the path of least resistance to prevent your motorcycle from skidding.