Top 10 Rules of the Road: Avoiding Motorcycle Crashes Like a Pro
On two wheels, safety isn’t just important, it’s everything. For that very reason, we’ve crafted a list of the top 10 lifesaving rules to keep you upright on your ride. These aren’t rocket science but following them religiously can significantly trim down the chances of a nasty surprise. This is how to avoid crashing a motorcycle.
Here’s a quick rundown of the tips. Once you check it out, keep scrolling for a bit more about our logic for each.
1. The Cardinal Rule: Always Be on Alert
Think every driver out there is out to get you. Assume that they’re going to make a wrong move that could put you in harm’s way. That guy cruising towards the intersection? Expect a sudden left turn. That woman at the crossroads? Be ready for her to bolt just as you get there. Speaking of Intersections…
2. Beware the Intersection
Intersections are like the Wild West of roads. They’re unpredictable. Even if you don’t see any cars, slow down. Remember, preparedness is key, and it’s easier to respond to surprises when you’re not blazing through like a comet.
3. Don’t Trust the Eyes
It might look like a driver has locked eyes with you, but here’s the truth: they’re often looking right past you. You’re on two wheels, they’re scanning for four. You’re practically invisible to them.
4. Trust the Wheels
The wheels, though, they don’t lie. A driver’s eyes might deceive you, but the wheels give it away. If they twitch, you twitch and prepare for them to burst into your path.
5. Prepare for the Lethal Left
Always assume the oncoming car is going to make a sudden left turn right in front of you. Ease off the gas, hover over the brakes, and be ready for some fast action.
6. Find a Shield
Whenever possible, go through intersections with another vehicle beside you. It’s not foolproof, but if someone’s gonna run a red light, better they hit your metal buddy than you.
7. Check Your Ride
Give your tires a once-over before you roll out. Badly inflated tires can cause serious trouble at high speed, and you don’t want a blowout on the open road.
8. Control Your Space
If someone’s tailgating you, wave them back. If they don’t take the hint, pull over and let them speed away. They’re a hazard you don’t need.
9. Create Your Buffer
If a car passes you and pulls in too close, ease back and re-establish your safety zone. You need space to react if something suddenly appears in your path.
10. Keep Your Distance
Don’t tailgate. Keep a solid three-second safety buffer between you and the traffic ahead. You want space to react, not a windshield for a face mask.
How much more likely are you to die on a motorcycle than in a car?
Nowadays, motorcycles have become a popular mode of transportation. Most riders use motorcycles for daily commutes, but riding a motorcycle is also a great passion hobby. Unfortunately, sometimes our passions come at a cost.
Motorcycle Versus Car Fatalities
Technology upgrades have made motorcycles more advanced and powerful. Despite being equipped with several ride-safety features, motorcycles are more prone to accidents than cars. Many accidents on motorcycles are the kind the rider doesn’t walk away from.
Read on to learn how much more likely you are to die on a motorcycle than on a car.
Although motorcycles account for only a small fraction of total vehicle miles in the U.S., they make up a disproportionately high number of traffic fatalities. This stark difference is largely due to the lack of physical protection that a motorcycle offers compared to a car.
Motorcyclists are directly exposed to the force of impact in the event of a collision, unlike car drivers who have seatbelts, airbags, and the car’s chassis to absorb some of the impact.
Even a minor mistake, either by the motorcyclist or by other drivers, can have severe consequences when on a motorcycle. Factors such as speed, lack of helmet use, and alcohol impairment further increase the risk of fatal crashes for motorcyclists. Therefore, it’s critical for motorcyclists to follow all safety regulations and remain alert on the road to mitigate these risks.
Let’s break down the facts behind motorcycle versus car fatalities.
1.1 Lack of Cabin/Enclosed Space
Motorcycles do not have enclosed spaces or cabins to cover riders. The enclosed frames in cars provide extra protection to drivers and passengers and take the most impact in case of an accident. Due to the lack of enclosed space in motorcycles, they are not safe to ride in the rain or windy weather.
1.2 Lack of Seatbelts
Motorcycles do not have a seatbelt which makes them less safe than cars. In most motorcycle crashes, motorcyclists are usually thrown off over the handlebars due to the inertia and lack of seatbelt. The same thing can happen to a rider if he/she applies brakes forcefully to stop the motorcycle.
1.3 Lack of Airbags
The first motorcycle to install a standard airbag on a motorcycle was the Honda Gold Wing. Other than the Gold Wing, most motorcycles do not have airbags installed standard (however, Other motorcycles that offer optional airbag systems include the BMW K 1600 GT and Valkyrie).
Unlike cars, motorcycles are difficult to balance while riding as they have two wheels. If you are riding a motorcycle for the first time, the first challenge would be to balance it and ensure stability. Most beginner riders fail to keep a balance and lose control of their motorcycles while steering and turning corners.
1.5 Difficult to Control at High Speeds
Most motorcycle accidents occur due to speeding. Motorcycles become unstable at high speeds and there are higher chances you will lose control of it. Ride within your abilities, especially while cornering, swerving, and riding on busy roads to avoid accidents.
1.6 Less Visible on the Road
Motorcycles are smaller than cars, making them less visible to car drivers if they do not pay close attention while driving. Most motorcycle accidents occur because distracted drivers fail to notice motorcycles while turning.
In 2020, the percentage of impaired riders who died in motorcycle accidents was higher than car drivers.
Motorcycle riders are about 28 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than car drivers and passengers.
3. How To Be Safe and Avoid Accidents While Riding a Motorcycle
There are several ways through which you can make your motorcycle riding experience safe and avoid accidents, including:
If you are a beginner, take a motorcycle riding course.
If you are an intermediate or expert-level rider, take a safety riding course.
Follow traffic laws.
Do not ride if you are under the influence.
Wear a DOT-approved helmet and safety riding gear (leather jacket, pants, and gloves)
Ride within your ability, and under control
If you are a beginner, only ride beginner-friendly motorcycles.
If you want to upgrade yourself from a beginner level, learn specialized riding skills, including leaning, hanging off, cornering, and swerving.
Keep your motorcycle maintained.
Inspect your motorcycle before you go for a ride.
Use side mirrors and turn signals to indicate your intentions before taking a turn
Only use full brakes in true panic situations, and when you do, use both front and rear brakes (and practice this type of stop at various speeds before ever needing to use it)
Make sure to gently press both front and rear brakes together to stop your motorcycle.
Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
Do not go for a ride if you are stressed.
Check carefully before riding through intersections.
It might be impossible to completely avoid motorcycle crashes. However, you can be safe and avoid severe injuries in a motorcycle accident by following the tips mentioned above. You can also seek help from a personal injury or motorcycle accident lawyer at The Biker Lawyers in the Midwest.
4. Advantages of Motorcycles over Cars
Motorcycles are slightly less safe than cars, but they have certain advantages which make them a popular mode of transportation. These advantages include:
Motorcycles are smaller and take up less space than a car which makes them easy to park.
Unlike cars, motorcycles are better to beat heavy traffic and make way to save time.
They also consume less fuel than cars due to being lightweight.
They have better resale value than cars.
They’re arguably way more fun to drive than cars (and you lookundeniably cooler).
Motorcycles are more prone to accidents than cars and motorcyclists are more likely to suffer severe injuries due to the lack of safety equipment, including airbags, enclosed spaces, and seatbelts. The statistics also reveal that motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die in an accident than drivers and passengers in cars.
Despite not being as safe as cars, motorcycles are still a popular mode of transportation and have several advantages over cars. They are smaller and lighter compared to cars, ensuring less fuel consumption, and ease in finding parking. To keep the first-aid kit with you on a motorcycle ride, you can install saddlebags available at Viking Bags.
Special thanks for this guest post by Viking Bags
If you’ve enjoyed this article about motorcycle vs car fatalities, click below to check out the previous article by Viking Bags: