May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Motorcycle Industry Council are putting forth a big effort to get the word out to drivers and riders.
This year, it’s especially crucial because of unique circumstances that, together, may add risk to the roads: As traffic increases to pre-pandemic levels, many drivers may be rusty as they haven’t driven for a while; speeds seem to have increased; 2020 motorcycle sales indicate more people are getting into motorcycling; demand for rider training is going strong, which means there may be more new riders on the roads. Plus, we are headed into summer road-trip season!
Here are some of MSF’s favorite tips!
Be visible. Motorists often have trouble seeing motorcycles, so wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet. Always have your headlight on, day and night, and avoid riding in blind spots of cars and trucks. If possible, flash your brake light when slowing down and before stopping.
But pretend you are invisible. If you assume others on the road can’t see you, and any car that can hit you will hit you, you will tend to ride in a hyper-aware mindset and learn to notice every detail in your surroundings. Take extra responsibility for your safety and ride defensively.
Gear up every ride. Wear proper riding gear from head to toe. Full-face helmets provide the best protection, and jackets, pants, gloves, and boots that are made for riding will generally be made of abrasion-resistant material and provide additional comfort and protection around joints and other areas.
Use good street strategies. Constantly search the road for changing conditions and use the Search-Evaluate-Execute strategy (SEE) to assess and respond to hazards before you have to react to an emergency.
Before you ride, check over your bike. Make a habit of doing a pre-ride check, which includes looking over your tires and wheels, checking fluids, cables, your bike’s chassis, lights and electronics, and the stands.
Get trained, go ride. If you want to learn to ride, the best thing to do is get proper training.
You can go to msf-usa.org to find a class near you. We encourage everyone to become lifelong learners!