Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle Safety

As the summer approaches, there are many more motorcycles on the road. For motorcyclists, the fun of riding comes with a heightened need for safety.

The Toronto Police Services suggest the following 10 motorcycle safety tips:

  1. Take a course: It’s important for you to learn how to safely drive a motorcycle and to be evaluated by an instructor.
  1. Make sure you have proper riding gear: A helmet is required by law, but riders should also think of wearing long sleeve shirts, gloves, long pants, ankle boots and a leather jacket (even when it’s hot outside).
  1. Make yourself visible: Many collisions are caused by a motor-vehicle turning into the path of a motorcycle driver. You want other drivers to see you. Wear a reflective vest or contrasting colours and continually try to make eye contact with drivers to be sure that they’re aware of you.
  1. Slow down: Most fatal collisions are caused by excessive speed. Motorcycles are unstable vehicles and they have a limited grip on the road.
  1. Don’t ride impaired: You shouldn’t ride a motorcycle or drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol or consuming drugs, and you shouldn’t ride when you’re tired.
  1. Ride with a buddy: Riding with friends allows you to occupy a full lane; this practice increases your visibility and you can keep an eye on one another if something goes wrong. Ride in a staggard manner.
  1. Make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained: Check your vehicle frequently for general maintenance and problems. Tire pressure is especially important. The contact patches of your tires are about the size of a footprint.
  1. Communicate with other drivers: Attempt to make eye contact with other drivers, making sure they’re aware of you and your movements. Consider using hand signals prior to turning or changing lanes as indicator lights on motorcycles are very small.
  1. Scan the road: Many collisions are caused when cars turn into the path of motorcycles or come out of driveways. If you’re aware of what’s happening around you, you can avoid dangerous situations. Your head should be moving, checking your mirrors, and your eyes constantly scanning the road when riding on a motorcycle. Keep a safe distance back.
  1. Refresh your skills: No matter how long you have been riding, you will be rusty after a few months. Your skills and association with a motorcycle deteriorate quickly when not riding, even for a short period of time. Take a refresher course if it’s been a while since you’ve ridden.
  1. Do not spit lanes and always signal your lane change. Don’t make abrupt lane changes.

On the other hand, car drivers should also have a heightened sense of awareness to motorcyclists:

  1. Check your blind spots attentively and use your mirrors often.
  1. Maintain a safe following distance and avoid tailgating a motorcycle.
  1. Anticipate a motorcyclists maneuvers, give them space to do so safely.
  1. Do not share lanes with a motorcyclist.
  1. Be cautious at intersections, always double-check for motorcycles before making a turn.
  1. Avoid distractions and avoid using your cell phone, eating, and other distractions while driving.
  1. Respect motorcyclists with the same care you would expect if you were in their position.
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