May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, according to National Safety Council. Being safe is being prepared, alert and cautious while on and off the road. To recognize Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month here are five tips to keep you and others safe on the road.
- Know your tires. Some motorcycle tires are tubeless and some are not, so it’s important to become familiar with the type of tires you have on your bike. You should know your tires and whether or not you can give them a quick fix if you get a flat tire to get to a gas station or more air. One of our partners carries a CO2 cartridge and a tool that allows her to give her tires a quick blast of air should she need it.
- Check your tire pressure. Be sure you know what the optimal tire pressure is for your bike’s tires and check it every time you ride. Riding when your bike’s tire pressure is too low can damage the tire. Pressure which is too high reduces the contact patch with the road and tends to make your ride feel rougher; it can also cause the tires to heat more quickly.
- Assume that you are invisible. Just because the person behind the wheel of that SUV at the stop sign is looking at you does not mean that they are seeing you. Assume that the vehicles around you do not see you. As you approach intersections think about what you would do if the car stopped at the light suddenly pulled out. Be prepared to execute a panic stop, and identify possible escape routes. Just because you see them does not mean that they see you.
- Leave an Escape Route. Speaking of escape routes, when you come to a stop watch your rear view mirror for approaching vehicles who may not see that there is a motorcycle ahead. Leave enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so that if that happens you can get out of the way. Don’t wait at a light or stop sign with your bike in neutral. Have your bike in gear so that if you do have to quickly get out of the way of a car that does not see you stopped you are ready at a moment’s notice.
- Practice – Practice – Practice. Nothing hones your skills like actually riding. Find an area with curvy roads and practice negotiating curves. Find an empty parking lot and practice panic stops and slow speed maneuvers. Consider taking a refresher course to rid yourself of the bad habits that we all acquire over time. Riding skills diminish if they’re not used. Keep yours polished.
Stay safe, be prepared and enjoy the ride.
McGrath, Danielson, Sorrell & Fuller
The Motorcycle Law Group