May is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – the perfect time for a refresher on basic motorcycle safety. Although many motorcyclists enjoy the freedom that riding offers, the best riders also know that motorcycles require more focus to operate and don’t provide the same protections cars do in the event of a crash. According to the NHTSA, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in 2012, representing a 7 percent increase from 2011. Regardless of how long you’ve been riding, take a few moments to review the following quick motorcycle safety tips:
- Wear proper safety gear and, most importantly, a helmet – no matter how short your trip may be. On average, riders wearing a helmet have a 29 percent better chance of surviving a crash than riders without a helmet, the NHTSA reports.
- Make sure you will be visible to other motorists. Make it easier for them by wearing reflective clothing, always using turn signals (and perhaps hand signals as well) and keeping your headlight on.
- Even when taking the above precautions, stay alert and assume that other drivers don’t see you, especially at intersections and when making lane changes or passing.
- Be patient. Don’t tailgate, and if someone is tailgating you, get out of his/her way.
- Never ride after drinking or taking any medications that could impair your abilities.
- Again, make sure you’re visible, particularly at dusk. Consider upgrading your headlight or adding other lights to your ride. Is your bike black? What about your clothing? Both will make you more difficult to see at night.
- Your vision needs to be clear, so keep your visor or goggles clean and free from scratches. If you typically don’t use face or eye protection, consider beginning to.
- Carry a flashlight or other emergency gear with you so a mechanical problem doesn’t leave you stranded – and invisible – on the side of a dark road.
- Riding in Inclement Weather
- Keep rain and cold-weather gear handy. Riding isn’t just more enjoyable when you’re warm and dry – it’s safer, too.
- Use extreme caution when it first begins to rain, as the roads are most slick at that point. Pull over and wait if necessary. It’s better to be late than ride in unsafe conditions.
During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and every month you ride, think about safety every time you start up your bike! And remember to give us at the Barton Insurance Agency a call at 603-526-6991 or click here and submit our online quote request form when you need to get motorcycle insurance, or coverage for any of your vehicles for that matter! At Barton Insurance, your safety is our priority. For additional safety tips, please review our other blog posts, or connect with us on Facebook.