The Dangers of Tailgating: Best Advice to Get Tailgaters to Back Off!

The Dangers of Tailgating: Best Advice to Get Tailgaters to Back Off!

You may think you are familiar with the dangers of tailgating, but did you know the simple act of tailgating puts motorcyclists at a staggering 27 times greater risk of death compared to car occupants according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?

It’s enough to make any biker’s heart race. Imagine cruising down the open road, feeling the wind whip through your hair, only to see a big ass truck closing in quickly and hovering far too close for comfort to your rear wheel. The fear is real and justified, and the danger even more so.

The good news? Bikers have a secret weapon: the “back off” gesture, just one tool in your arsenal against this deadly threat. 

Let’s explore why tailgating is especially dangerous for motorcyclists, and what you can do to stay safe and avoid becoming a statistic.

Why tailgating is a problem: The real dangers of tailgating

Image of the headlights of a car as seen through the reflection in a rearview mirror of a motorcycle

Tailgating is more than just an annoyance—it’s a serious hazard, especially for motorcyclists! The close proximity of a vehicle tailgating a motorcycle reduces the margin for error and can quickly turn into a dangerous or even life-threatening situation.

In Iowa and across the Midwest, we all know the very real threat of a rogue deer suddenly jumping across your path. You quickly brake to avoid a collision, but The tailgating car behind you may not be ready for your sudden stop. The result? A potentially devastating chain-reaction accident.

Image of a deer crossing a highway

Imagine cruising down the highway, feeling the wind in your hair, when a car ahead of you slams on their brakes to avoid a pothole. You have enough time to react and slow down safely, but the tailgating car behind you doesn’t. The next thing you know, you’re rear-ended, potentially thrown from your bike, and facing serious injuries. 

So, how can motorcyclists avoid being tailgated and ensure their safety on the road?

Signaling the Tailgater: The Universal “Back Off” Gesture

Illustration demonstrating the universal hand gesture for "back off" shown by bikers to tailgating motorists

The first step in dealing with a tailgater is to communicate your discomfort and concerns before they become frustration or aggression. This can be done by signaling the tailgating motorist to back off. 

The universal signal for this is simple yet effective, and no, it does not involve raising a fist and extending one finger. Instead, extend your arm downward and repeatedly move the palm of your hand backward, as if physically pushing the car away. This non-verbal communication is generally recognized and respected by most motorists.

Here are a few tips to remember when signaling a tailgater:

  1. Make sure it’s safe to take one hand off the handlebars before signaling.
  2. Use clear, deliberate movements to ensure the tailgater understands your signal.
  3. Avoid aggressive or rude gestures that could escalate the situation.

Finding a Safe Place to Pull Over: Prioritizing Safety Over Speed

Close up photo of the back of a motorcycle that has pulled over safely to the side of the road.

If the tailgating motorist fails to respond and continues to follow too closely, the next best course of action is to locate a safe area to pull over and allow the tailgater to pass. It’s important to prioritize safety over speed or reaching your destination on time.

Speeding up is not a viable solution, as it will likely only result in being tailgated at an even higher speed. Once the tailgater has overtaken you, you can continue to enjoy your ride safely.

The Importance of Maintaining a Safe Distance: The Three-Second Rule

Image illustrating stationary points for counting the 3-second rule for following in traffic

Here is the best way to gauge a safe following distance:

  1. Choose a fixed point ahead of the vehicle in front of you (also known as “stationary points”.
  2. When the vehicle in front passes that point, start counting seconds.
  3. If you pass the same point before you finish counting to three, you’re following too closely.

If you’ve made it this far in the article, it should be obvious that maintaining a safe distance on the road is crucial for all vehicles, including motorcycles, to help avoid the dangers of tailgating.

If a biker tailgates a car, they risk a dangerous collision. Trailing vehicles should keep a three-second (or more) margin between the front of the following vehicle and the rear end of the vehicle being followed. This three-second safety margin is proven to significantly reduce the chance of being involved in a rear-end collision, ensuring safer roads for everyone.

If riding in a group, consider following the three-second rule while riding in “staggered formation” as shown below.

Image demonstrating the proper way to ride staggered formation on a motorcycle

Hit the Brakes, Not the Road: Don’t Let a Tailgate Ruin Your Ride

Remember that terrifying near-miss we talked about earlier? Imagine the consequences if the car behind you wasn’t just tailgating, but slamming into your back wheel. Scary stuff, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t just some hypothetical scenario to highlight the dangers of tailgating. These situations happen more often than they should, and motorcyclists often bear the brunt of the damage, both physically and financially.

That’s where knowing your rights comes in. Don’t just dust yourself off and move on if you’ve been injured in an accident thanks to an accident caused by a tailgating motorist. You deserve compensation for your medical bills, bike repairs, and lost wages. But navigating the legal system can be daunting, especially when you’re recovering from an injury.

Image of a biker on the side of a highway with his motorcycle as he contemplates next steps after a close call with a car tailgating him.

That’s why there are lawyers who specialize in fighting for the rights of injured motorcyclists. They understand the unique challenges you face and know how to build a strong case against negligent drivers.

Here’s the bottom line: You shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of an accident caused by someone else’s recklessness. By seeking legal support, you can hold the tailgater accountable. This means you’ll get the compensation you deserve to get back on your feet (and back on the road safely).

Remember: Riding a motorcycle is about freedom, not fear. By taking steps to stay safe, you can minimize the risk of tailgating incidents.


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The 2023 Comprehensive Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Motorcycle Helmets

The 2023 Comprehensive Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Motorcycle Helmets

The 2023 Comprehensive Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Motorcycle Helmets

Riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience, but safety should always be a top priority. One of the most crucial safety gear for riders is the motorcycle helmet. Let’s dive deep into the world of motorcycle helmets and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Required or Not: Motorcycle Helmet Laws by State (as of 2023)

A graphic of the united states with text reading "Helmet Laws By State"

Each state has its own set of laws regarding helmet usage. While some states mandate helmets for all riders, others require them only for specific age groups or under certain conditions. Always check your state’s regulations before hitting the road.

Here is a breakdown of current Motorcycle helmet laws by state, according to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

StateHelmet Law
AlabamaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
AlaskaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
ArizonaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
ArkansasRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
CaliforniaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
ColoradoRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
ConnecticutRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
Delaware18 and younger and passengers 18 and younger; novice riders and their passengers for the first two years after endorsement.
FloridaRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
GeorgiaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
HawaiiRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
IdahoRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
IllinoisNo helmet law.
IndianaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
IowaNo helmet law.
KansasRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
KentuckyRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
LouisianaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
MaineRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
MarylandAll riders are required to wear helmets.
MassachusettsAll riders are required to wear helmets.
MichiganRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
MinnesotaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
MississippiAll riders are required to wear helmets.
MissouriRiders 25 and younger are required to wear helmets.
MontanaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
Nebraska20 and younger are required to wear helmets. In Nebraska,  riders 21 and older will not be required to wear a helmet as long as they have completed a basic certification course provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (effective 01/01/2024).
NevadaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
New HampshireNo helmet law.
New JerseyAll riders are required to wear helmets.
New MexicoRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
New YorkAll riders are required to wear helmets.
North CarolinaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
North DakotaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
OhioRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
OklahomaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
OregonAll riders are required to wear helmets.
PennsylvaniaRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
Rhode IslandRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
South CarolinaRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
South DakotaRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
TennesseeAll riders are required to wear helmets.
TexasRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
UtahRiders 20 and younger are required to wear helmets.
VermontAll riders are required to wear helmets.
VirginiaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
WashingtonAll riders are required to wear helmets.
West VirginiaAll riders are required to wear helmets.
WisconsinRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets.
WyomingRiders 17 and younger are required to wear helmets. Helmets are mandatory for mopeds defined by the state as having an engine displacement of 50 cc or less, brake horsepower of 2 or less, and maximum speeds of 30 mph.

You may notice that Iowa is one of very few states with no helmet law. This is thanks in large part to organizations like ABATE who fight for the rights and interests of bikers everywhere. The Biker Lawyers are proud members of ABATE and highly recommend you check out this awesome brotherhood!

It’s important to note that while these laws provide a general guideline, there might be specific conditions or exceptions in each state, and laws may change over time.

Always refer to the state’s official regulations or consult with a local attorney for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


Motorcycle Helmet Safety

Image of a man on a motorcycle at an intersection.

Safety should always be the top priority when choosing a helmet. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the safety aspects:

Certifications 

Helmets undergo testing to meet specific safety standards. The most common certifications are DOT (Department of Transportation), ECE (Economic Commission for Europe), and Snell. Each certification has its testing criteria, but all ensure a helmet provides adequate protection.

Material and Construction

Helmets are typically made from polycarbonate, fiberglass composite, or carbon fiber. Each material offers different levels of protection, weight, and comfort. Multi-layered EPS (expanded polystyrene) liners inside the helmet absorb impact during a crash.

Full-Face vs. Open-Face

image of an open-faced and closed faced helmet with a graphic including letters "vs"

Full-face helmets offer the most protection as they cover the entire head, including the face and jawline. Open-face or half helmets might be more comfortable for some, but they provide less protection.

Retention System

The chin strap keeps the helmet securely on the head. It should be easy to fasten and unfasten, and when secured, the helmet should not move around on the head.

Visor and Face Shield

A good visor or face shield protects the rider from wind, debris, and UV rays. Anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings can enhance visibility in various conditions.

Regular Inspection

Helmets should be inspected regularly for signs of wear, damage, or degradation. The interior padding can compress over time, and the outer shell might get scratched or chipped. Any visible damage is a sign that it’s time for a replacement.

Post-Accident Replacement

Even if there’s no visible damage after an accident, the helmet’s structural integrity might be compromised. It’s always safer to replace a helmet after a significant impact.

Safety is paramount, and while style and comfort are essential, they should never compromise protection. Always prioritize safety features when choosing a helmet and ride with confidence, knowing you’re well-protected.


Motorcycle Helmet Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Close up image of a motorcycle helmet on the ground

What are the Disadvantages of Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet?

To be fair, wearing a helmet has undeniable safety advantages but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. While the advantages of wearing a motorcycle helmet far outweigh the disadvantages, it’s important to consider all factors when deciding if wearing a helmet is right for you. Here are some commonly cited disadvantages of wearing a motorcycle helmet:

  1. Restricted Peripheral Vision: Some riders feel that helmets, especially full-face varieties, can restrict their peripheral vision. This limitation can potentially make it harder to see vehicles or obstacles on the side.
  2. Reduced Hearing: Helmets can muffle sounds, making it harder for riders to hear certain noises from the surroundings, such as horns, sirens, or other vehicles.
  3. Weight: Helmets, especially those made of robust materials, can be heavy. Wearing them for extended periods might cause neck or shoulder strain for some riders.
  4. Heat and Discomfort: In hot climates, wearing a helmet can become uncomfortable due to the accumulation of heat. Even with ventilation systems, a helmet can cause sweating and discomfort during long rides in the sun.
  5. Cost: Quality helmets with advanced safety features can be expensive. For riders on a budget, this can be a significant consideration.
  6. False Sense of Security: Some riders might feel invincible with a helmet on and might indulge in riskier behavior, thinking they’re fully protected. This mindset can be dangerous as helmets are just one aspect of overall road safety.
  7. Communication Difficulties: Conversing with fellow riders at stops or signals can be challenging with a full-face helmet, requiring riders to lift the visor or the entire helmet.
  8. Potential for Fogging: In colder or humid conditions, the visor of a helmet can fog up, reducing visibility. While many modern helmets come with anti-fogging features, it’s still a concern for some riders.

All this said it would be irresponsible of us to not remind you that despite these disadvantages, the safety benefits far outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to wearing a helmet. 

But hey man, in the end, it’s your choice. That’s what freedom is all about!

What are the Benefits of a Half Helmet for Motorcycle Riders?

open-faced motorcycle helmet with goggles sits on the back of a motorcycle

Half helmets, often referred to as “brain buckets,” cover the top of the head. They offer better visibility and more airflow, making them popular in hotter climates. However, they provide less protection compared to full-face helmets.

What are the Best Motorcycle Helmets for Beginners?

close up image of a motorcycle helmet with an open visor

For beginners, venturing into the world of motorcycling can be both thrilling and daunting. One of the first and most crucial decisions a new rider will make is selecting the right helmet. A helmet is not just about protection; it’s about comfort, visibility, and enhancing the overall riding experience.

Here’s a deeper dive into choosing the best helmets for those just starting out:

  • Fit and Comfort: A helmet should fit snugly without causing discomfort. A loose helmet can shift during a ride, obstructing vision and reducing protection. Many brands offer different shell sizes and interior padding options to ensure a perfect fit.
  • Visibility: For beginners, a clear field of vision is essential. Helmets with wide eye ports offer better peripheral vision, helping new riders be more aware of their surroundings.
  • Ventilation: Proper airflow is crucial, especially during longer rides or in warmer climates. Look for helmets with adjustable vents, allowing riders to regulate airflow based on weather conditions.
  • Safety Standards: Ensure the helmet meets or exceeds safety standards like DOT, ECE, or Snell. These certifications indicate that the helmet has undergone rigorous testing.
  • Ease of Use: Features like quick-release straps and integrated sun visors can make the riding experience more enjoyable for beginners.
  • Price: While it’s tempting to go for the most expensive helmet, beginners should look for a balance between cost, comfort, and safety. Brands like HJC, Bell, and Shoei offer helmets that are both affordable and reliable.
  • Reviews and Recommendations: Before making a purchase, beginners should read reviews, ask fellow riders for recommendations, and visit local shops to try on different models.

Remember, the best helmet for one rider might not be the best for another. It’s essential to find a helmet that suits individual needs and preferences.

Is a Motorcycle Helmet Still Safe to Use After an Accident?

close up image of a white helmet at a motorcycle crash scene

No. Even if there’s no visible damage, the helmet’s integrity might be compromised. 

Helmets are designed to absorb impact by dispersing and cushioning the force throughout the helmet’s structure. 

Once a helmet has been subjected to a significant force, such as in a crash, its ability to provide the same level of protection is diminished. The materials inside, especially the EPS liner, are meant for one-time use; they compress upon impact to reduce the force before it reaches the head. 

If the helmet hit anything during the accident, it’s probably best to replace it. Even a mild crash can cause unseen micro-damage, reducing the helmet’s protective capabilities in future impacts. It’s always better to be safe than sorry; your life and well-being are worth more than the cost of a new helmet.

Are Full-Face Motorcycle Helmets Safer?

Absolutely. Full-face helmets stand out as the top choice for riders prioritizing safety. They envelop the entire head, including the face, chin, and neck areas, which are notably susceptible during accidents. 

The continuous shell around the head and face that full-face helmets provide also shields riders from environmental nuisances like wind, rain, debris, and pesky insects. 

While the allure of open-face or half helmets might appeal to some for their style or breezy feel, when it boils down to sheer protective capability, full-face helmets reign supreme.

Is it More Safe to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet or Not Wear One?

Smaller image of Ginger Jansen on a Harley Davidson

The answer is clear-cut: strapping on a helmet is always the safer route.

Helmets are meticulously crafted to absorb and distribute the brunt of an impact, drastically slashing the risk of severe head traumas or fatalities. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets are about 37% effective in warding off fatal injuries to motorcycle enthusiasts. 

Riding without that protective layer leaves one exposed to direct, unforgiving impacts, potentially leading to traumatic brain injuries or worse. 

Beyond the life-saving crash protection, helmets also serve as a barrier against the elements, elevating the overall riding experience. The decision to wear a helmet can spell the difference between a minor scrape and a catastrophic injury.

What Speed Are Motorcycle Helmets Rated For?

Image of a man riding a motorcycle on an empty highway

It might surprise some to learn that most motorcycle helmets undergo impact tests simulating speeds around 13-14 mph. 

While this might seem modest given the velocities motorcycles can reach, it’s pivotal to grasp that these tests mirror the average speed a rider’s head would strike the ground in real-world mishaps, not the motorcycle’s cruising speed. 

In a plethora of accidents, even if the bike is zooming at highway speeds, factors like sliding, tumbling, or the bike’s deceleration can temper the actual head impact speed. With that in mind, it’s always wise to champion safety and steer clear of reckless speeds.

Helmets offer a formidable line of defense, but they aren’t magic barriers. Adopting a responsible riding approach maximizes the protective prowess of any helmet.

Are Expensive Motorcycle Helmets Worth It?

a shelf with four motorcycle helmets for sale

When it comes to helmets, the age-old adage “you get what you pay for” often rings true. 

Pricier helmets tend to offer enhanced comfort, superior ventilation, and cutting-edge features. They might also boast advanced materials and construction techniques that can provide better protection. 

However, it’s crucial to remember that safety standards, such as DOT or ECE, remain consistent across various price points. So, while a high-end helmet might offer additional comforts and features, many mid-range helmets still provide excellent protection.

Should I Buy a Pre-owned Motorcycle Helmet?

two shelves showcasing an extensive motorcycle helmet collection.

Regarding pre-owned helmets: while snagging a deal might be tempting, helmets are one piece of gear you should always buy new. The reason is simple. Even if a used helmet looks pristine, you can’t be certain of its history. It might have been involved in an accident or dropped, which could compromise its structural integrity. Plus, the interior padding of helmets, designed to provide a snug fit, conforms to the shape of the original wearer’s head over time.

A used helmet might not offer the same level of comfort or protection as a new one tailored to your head shape.

Are Most Motorcycle Helmets One Size Fits All?

image of a man and woman strapping on motorcycle helmets

Definitely not. Just as every individual is unique, so is the shape and size of their head. Helmets come in a variety of sizes, from XS to XXL, and many brands even offer different shell sizes and interior padding options to ensure an optimal fit. 

A proper fit is paramount for safety; a helmet that’s too loose or too tight can be a distraction and might not provide the best protection in an accident.

If you’re purchasing your first helmet, visiting a brick-and-mortar store can be invaluable.

three shelves with rows of motorcycle helmets for sale

 Local motorcycle shops or specialty helmet retailers often have knowledgeable salespeople who can guide you through the fitting process. They’ll measure your head, recommend sizes, and let you try on different models. This hands-on approach ensures you get a helmet that fits perfectly, which might be challenging when ordering online without prior experience.

How Does the Sun Visor Work in a Motorcycle Helmet?

Image of a man riding a motorcycle

Integrated sun visors in motorcycle helmets are a game-changer for many riders. These visors can be flipped down to shield the eyes from bright sunlight, eliminating the need for sunglasses and making transitions from light to dark areas smoother.

But beyond mere shading, many of these visors offer UV protection. On average, quality sun visors in helmets can block out up to 99% of harmful UV rays, safeguarding your eyes from potential damage and reducing eye strain during sun-drenched rides.

When shopping for a helmet with a sun visor, it’s a good idea to check the UV protection rating to ensure you’re getting the best protection possible.

How Does it Feel to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet?

Image of a person on a motorcycle at an intersection looking at the camera as if it were another motorist

Slipping on a motorcycle helmet for the first time can be a unique experience. A well-fitted helmet should feel snug around your head, with even pressure distributed throughout, but without any uncomfortable tight spots. The top of the helmet’s eye port should sit just above your eyebrows. 

As you wear it, you’ll notice a reduction in ambient noise and a sense of enclosure. This feeling of being “cocooned” can be reassuring for many, knowing that they’re shielded from potential hazards.

Does it Feel Good to Wear a Full-Sized Motorcycle Helmet?

Full-sized or full-face helmets, while offering the utmost protection, do come with a distinct feel. 

The comprehensive coverage can initially feel a tad claustrophobic to some, especially those transitioning from open-face or half helmets. However, many riders grow to appreciate the serene environment it offers, shielding them from wind blast, noise, and debris.

Over time, as riders get accustomed to the sensation, the benefits of enhanced safety and comfort usually outweigh any initial reservations.

Is it Hot to Wear a Full-Face Motorbike Helmet?

close-up image of a motorcycle rider wearing a helmet

Full-face helmets, due to their comprehensive coverage, can feel warmer than their open-face counterparts. However, advancements in helmet design have led to improved ventilation systems.

Modern full-face helmets come equipped with multiple vents that channel fresh air in and expel hot air out, creating a cooling effect. While they might feel a bit warm when stationary, especially in hot weather, the airflow while riding usually keeps the rider reasonably comfortable.

Do Motorcycle Helmets Get Sweaty?

Yes, especially during warmer days or intense rides, helmets can get sweaty inside. However, modern helmets are designed with this in mind. They often feature moisture-wicking liners that pull sweat away from the skin, keeping you relatively dry.

Additionally, advanced ventilation systems allow for airflow, helping to evaporate sweat and keep the rider cool. For those who ride in particularly hot climates, it might be worth investing in helmets with superior ventilation or removable and washable liners.

Do Motorcycle Helmets Block Sound?

Image of several bikers riding motorcycles- each controlling the space around them

Helmets are designed to reduce certain types of noise, primarily wind noise. A good helmet can significantly cut down on the roar of the wind rushing past, offering a quieter ride.

However, they won’t block out essential sounds like sirens, horns, or the engine’s roar. Some riders, especially those on longer rides or high-speed journeys, opt to wear earplugs to further reduce noise levels, ensuring they can still hear crucial sounds while protecting their hearing.

Do Motorcycle Helmets Loosen Up?

nearly grayscale image of a man riding a motorcycle down a highway

Over time and with regular use, the interior padding of a helmet can compress slightly, leading to a looser fit. This is a natural process as the materials conform to the shape of the rider’s head.

However, a helmet should never become too loose. If it starts to shift or rotate easily while on your head, it’s a sign that you might need a replacement or at least new interior padding. Regularly checking the fit and ensuring it remains snug is crucial for safety.

Is it Hard to Breathe in a Motorcycle Helmet?

For the uninitiated, the notion of a full-face helmet might conjure up concerns about breathability. However, modern helmet designs prioritize the rider’s comfort and safety.

  • Ventilation Systems: Most helmets come equipped with a series of vents, especially around the mouth and nose area. These allow for a steady flow of air, ensuring that the rider can breathe comfortably.
  • Anti-Fogging Features: To combat the issue of visors fogging up due to breath, many helmets have anti-fog treatments or pin-lock systems. This ensures clear vision without compromising breathability.
  • Adjustable Features: Some helmets have adjustable chin curtains or breath guards, allowing riders to customize the airflow based on their comfort.

While it might take a ride or two to get accustomed, most riders find that breathing in a full-face helmet is no more challenging than in any other type.

What is the Most Comfortable Motorcycle Helmet?

close up image of an open visor helmet

Comfort is subjective and can vary from rider to rider. For this reason, it’s a good idea to know exactly what to look in terms of comfort for when choosing the right helmet.

Four Common Factors to Consider for Helmet Comfort

1. Fit 

A helmet that fits well, neither too tight nor too loose, is paramount. It should hug the head without causing pressure points.

2. Lining and Padding 

Helmets with plush, moisture-wicking liners tend to be more comfortable, especially on longer rides. Some helmets even offer customizable padding systems for a tailored fit.

3. Weight

Lighter helmets reduce strain on the neck and shoulders, enhancing comfort during extended rides.

4. Ventilation

A well-ventilated helmet can make a world of difference, especially in warmer climates.

Brands like Shoei, Arai, and Schuberth often receive high marks for comfort, but it’s always a good idea to try on several models to determine the best fit for your unique head shape and preferences.

What Do You Do with Old Motorcycle Helmets?

Image of an old motorcycle helmet that should not be worn

Once a helmet has reached the end of its life, whether due to age, wear, or an accident, it’s essential to retire it responsibly. Here are four solid suggestions:

  1. Recycle: Some areas offer recycling programs for helmets. The outer shell, EPS liner, and other components can sometimes be processed separately.
  2. Donate: Some organizations accept old helmets for display, educational, or artistic purposes. They might use them in crash demonstrations or for art projects.
  3. Repurpose: Get creative! Turn your old helmet into a planter, lamp, or any other DIY project.
  4. Dispose: If you can’t find a recycling or donation option, ensure you dispose of your helmet properly. It’s a good idea to cut the straps off to ensure it doesn’t get reused unsafely.

Remember, an old helmet should never be sold or given away for riding purposes. Its protective capabilities are likely compromised, and it could be dangerous for a new rider.

Should You Customize a Motorcycle Helmet with Bluetooth Audio and Accessories?

motorcycle helmet with a set of bull horns attached to the sides

It’s essential to avoid any alterations that might compromise the helmet’s structural integrity, such as drilling holes. Instead, opt for accessories specifically designed for motorcycle helmets. In the world of biking, safety and functionality should always ride hand in hand.

Customizing a motorcycle helmet with Bluetooth audio and other accessories has become increasingly popular among riders, and it’s easy to see why. Bluetooth systems have revolutionized on-road communication, allowing riders to seamlessly connect with fellow bikers. 

This is especially beneficial during group rides, where coordination and communication can enhance the overall experience. Beyond just chatting, these systems provide the added advantage of real-time navigation instructions, eliminating the need to frequently stop and check maps.

Beyond Practical Application: More Benefits of Helmet Customization

Of course, we can’t forget to mention the entertainment value.

Long rides can sometimes become monotonous, but with Bluetooth audio, you can immerse yourself in your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audiobooks, making the journey as enjoyable as the destination. This fusion of technology and riding brings a modern twist to the age-old thrill of motorcycling.

However, while the allure of customization is strong, safety should always be at the forefront of any modifications. If you choose to customize your helmet, you should be cautious to ensure that your enhancements don’t undermine the helmet’s primary function: protection.

In Conclusion

image of a motorcycle crash scene with a helmet

Motorcycle helmets are a rider’s best friend, offering protection and enhancing the overall riding experience. Remember, safety first! And if you ever find yourself injured in an accident, don’t hesitate. Contact The Biker Lawyers for expert guidance and support.

15 Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain

15 Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain

Editor’s Note: The following article about Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain is the fourth in a series of Guest posts provided by our friends at vikingbags.com.

Rain Riding Tips: Introduction

Look, we all know that motorcycles are not ideal for riding in the rain as they can be unsafe. You may not always plan to ride in the rain but what if it suddenly starts on your way back home? In these unfortunate situations, you must know how to ride safely in the rain.

Riding a motorcycle in the rain can be fun but if you don’t want it to be a nightmare, make sure you are prepared. Read this article to learn the top 15 tips for riding a motorcycle in the rain.

Table of Contents

1. 15 Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain

1.1 Ride Slow

1.2 Apply both front and rear brakes gradually

1.3 Keep your motorcycle upright

1.4 Keep a rain suit

1.5 Carry Ziploc Bags

1.6 Be visible

1.6.1 Wear Bright Colors

1.6.2 Switch on your headlight

1.7 Use water-repellent sprays and anti-fog coating

1.8 Ride in a dry lane

1.9 Avoid riding on the edge of the road

1.10 Avoid Slippery Spots

1.11 Check your motorcycle tire pressure before the ride

1.12 Avoid wet patches

1.13 Wear waterproof riding gear

1.14 Stay Alert

1.15 Keep distance

2. What to Do After Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain?

3. Conclusion

1.    15 Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain

1.1 Ride Slow

Slow down if it starts to rain while you are riding a motorcycle. Your motorcycle can slip and lose traction, resulting in a motorcycle crash. Motorcycles can also slip in the rain if you are riding at slow speeds, but you can save yourself from serious injuries. Even if you are riding a modern motorcycle, equipped with ride-safety features including an ABS and traction control, you still need to twist the throttle gently. Abruptly accelerating or decelerating your motorcycle in the rain can increase the chances of losing traction.

Many riders hurry to reach home as soon as possible to avoid getting wet in the rain which can result in motorcycle crashes. Make sure to take a stop to evaluate the situation and then decide whether it is safe to ride in the rain.

1.2 Apply both front and rear brakes gradually

Image of a motorcycle riding on wet asphalt

Applying brakes forcefully to stop the motorcycle immediately can be dangerous, especially if it is raining. The best way to stop your motorcycle while riding in the rain is to decelerate, and gradually apply both front and rear brakes together to avoid sliding. If your motorcycle slips due to losing traction in the rain or you’re involved in an accident, The Biker Lawyers are there to help and answer your questions.

1.3 Keep your motorcycle upright

AI generated Image of Dan Matzdorff riding a motorcycle on a rainy street

Keep your motorcycle upright as much as possible to avoid getting slipped even while turning corners. The wet roads provide less traction to the motorcycle tires. You should decelerate, apply both front and rear brakes gently, and then turn the corner while keeping your motorcycle upright.

1.4 Keep a rain suit

A man rides a yellow motorcycle in a downpour of rain

To be prepared, always keep a rain suit while you go for a ride. A two-piece rain suit is better for riding in the rain as it provides more coverage.

1.5 Carry Ziploc Bags

If you are a regular motorcycle rider, you must carry Ziploc bags to keep your essentials safe from getting wet in the rain. To carry useful stuff such as a rain suit, Ziploc bags, and extra gloves on a motorcycle ride, you can install good-quality saddlebags available at Viking Bags.

1.6 Be visible

1.6.1 Wear Bright Colors

The rain can drastically decrease your visibility. So, wear a bright-colored rain suit to be more visible in the rain to avoid getting hit by other vehicles.

1.6.2 Switch on your headlight

Image of the headlights of a motorcycle in the rain

You must also switch on your headlights to see clearly what is ahead of you and to make yourself more visible to the vehicles approaching you from the opposite direction.

1.7 Use water-repellent sprays and anti-fog coating

Image of rain drops on glass with faded motorcyclists in the background

Riding in the rain can cause visibility issues as the water droplets accumulate on the visor and it becomes foggy from the inside. You can use silicon-based water repellents on the visor’s outer surface to avoid water droplets sticking to it. Using anti-fog coating also helps to avoid fog build-up for better visibility while riding in the rain. Keep your visor down during the rain because if it gets wet from the inside, it becomes difficult to get rid of the fog.

1.8 Ride in a dry lane

While riding in the rain, make sure to look for a dry lane on the road and ride in it. It reduces the probability of losing traction and hitting a pothole.

1.9 Avoid riding on the edge of the road

Avoid riding on the edge of the road and roadsides if it is raining. The dirt and gravel start accumulating at the edges and can cause your motorcycle to lose traction.

1.10 Avoid Slippery Areas

A wet city road after rain

Shortly after the rain begins, the worst area to be in is the center of the lane. That is because the rain activates oil dripping from vehicles, and the center of the road is ultra-slick until there has been enough rain to wash the slippery oil away.

1.11 Check your motorcycle tire pressure before the ride

A mechanic checking the tire pressure of a motorcycle

Make this a habit to check your motorcycle tire pressure before you go for a ride. Riding a motorcycle with an under-inflated tire can be dangerous, especially if it is raining, as the ride becomes unstable and you may lose control of your motorcycle.

1.12 Avoid wet patches

Avoid wet patches and small puddles on the road while riding in the rain as you might hit a pothole and lose control of your motorcycle.

1.13 Wear waterproof riding gear

Image to promote a blog about the best rain riding gear

Related: Click the image above to see our top 5 picks for the best gear for riding a motorcycle in the rain.

Keep yourself dry by wearing waterproof riding gear, including a waterproof vest, all-weather boots, and gaiters. Investing in waterproof riding gear depends on your riding habits. If you ride your motorcycle consistently and love to go on motorcycle tours, it is good to carry waterproof riding gear.

1.14 Stay Alert

While riding in the rain, stay alert at all times and look for all the threats that can cause you to fall off your motorcycle.

1.15 Keep distance

Two motorcyclists, Dan Matzdorff and Pete Leehey, demonstrate how to ride at a safe distance in the rain

As it is unsafe to apply sudden brakes while riding in the rain, make sure to keep your distance from the front and rear vehicles. In dry conditions, a three-second safety zone in front and behind you is the minimum. In rain, you should double this distance if possible.


2.    What to Do After Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain?

When you reach home after riding a motorcycle in the rain, make sure you inspect your motorcycle for any damage and clean it with a dry microfiber cloth to avoid rusting. Store your motorcycle in a warm place if possible.


3.    Conclusion

Riding a motorcycle in the rain is challenging and can be unsafe. Only experienced riders should consider riding in the rain, and even then, dial up the defensive riding techniques a few notches.

The 15 tips mentioned in this article can help you be safe while riding in the rain. Though you need to make sure that you are prepared and are carrying a rain suit, extra gloves, Ziploc bags, and waterproof riding gear.


Special thanks to our friends at Viking Bags for this guest post.

If you’ve enjoyed this article about what it takes to beat rider fatigue, click below to check out the previous article by Viking Bags:

Image of a lone motorcyclist riding his bike down an empty desert highway with a sign that says "Darling I like you but not so fast"

Photo Credits – Wild Triumph

How to Beat Rider Fatigue: Mastering Motorcycle Endurance

How to Beat Rider Fatigue: Mastering Motorcycle Endurance

Photo Credits – Wild Triumph

Editor’s Note: The following article about how to beat rider fatigue is the third in a series of Guest posts provided by our friends at vikingbags.com.

Long highway motorcycle trips are adventurous and invigorating, but they can also be physically and mentally demanding. Especially if you are a beginner and not used to riding 300+ miles on a motorcycle. Unfortunate events on the road, such as heavy downpours, motorcycle breakdowns, and collisions can also cause fatigue. Getting tired during a long motorcycle trip can be extremely dangerous. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington D.C., United States, approximately 9.5% of motorcycle highway accidents in the US occur due to rider fatigue. This article will discuss the causes and risks as well as how to beat rider fatigue and will also provide tips for safe motorcycle trips.

Table of Contents

Causes of Motorcycle Rider Fatigue
Inadequate Wind Protection
Uncomfortable Riding Position
Lack of Planning
Signs of Rider Fatigue on a Motorcycle Trip
Practical Tips That Help Overcome Motorcycle Fatigue
Modify Your Motorcycle
Eat & Drink Healthy
Get Adequate Sleep
Take Frequent Entertaining Breaks
Choose the Right Riding Gear
Takeaway

Causes of Motorcycle Rider Fatigue

nearly grayscale image of a man riding a motorcycle down a highway

Photo Credits – Pack Up and Ride

Physical strain, body aches, and muscle pain are some of the main reasons for motorcycle rider fatigue. But these bodily issues arise due to different factors mentioned below. Almost all these factors can be avoided by being proactive and investing in high-quality motorcycle parts available at reputable brands, such as Viking Bags.

Inadequate Wind Protection

Strong winds are one of the main causes of rider fatigue on the highways. Especially if your motorcycle is not equipped to provide adequate wind protection. In extreme temperatures, high winds can cause dehydration or wind-induced hypothermia and both conditions make you feel tired.

Uncomfortable Riding Position

Not all riders own a grand touring bike that features a comfortable and natural riding position. Traveling long distances on a sport bike or a lightweight cruiser can cause muscle fatigue and body aches.

Even if your bike is comfortable, the unchanging physical position can cause fatigue to set in quicker than you expect.

Lack of Planning

Before you embark on your motorcycle journey, it is important that you plan the route and where you plan to stop to take rejuvenating breaks frequently. Unfortunately, many riders fail to understand the importance of trip planning. With no plan, they continue riding and do not take a break until they feel aches and fatigue. While the right approach is to take breaks before pain and exhaustion set in.

Signs of Rider Fatigue on a Motorcycle Trip

image of a motorcyclist rubbing his neck showing the strain of rider fatigue

Photo Credits – Physio Inq Sutherland

Motorcycle riding requires undivided focus to ensure that you reach your destination safely. Fatigue lowers mental alertness and response time which can lead to minor mistakes, collisions, and fatal accidents. Other adverse effects that fatigue has on one’s physical and mental state are as follows:

  • Feeling bored
  • Yawning frequently
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Inability to focus on the road
  • Tense and achy muscles
  • Missing important road signs
  • Forgetting the route
  • Reduced motor skills and decision-making power
  • Irritability
  • Inability to enjoy the scenic view
  • Having trouble controlling the bike and navigating traffic

All of these signs of fatigue can make even a short trip unenjoyable, let alone a long trip that requires stamina. Contrary to popular belief, prevention of these symptoms begins a long time before you start your journey.

Practical Tips That Help Beat Rider Fatigue

Picturesque photo of an open highway at dawn

Photo Credits – Motorcycle Tourer

When planning to travel long distances on your motorcycle, you would first have to prepare yourself and your bike by adopting healthy lifestyle choices and modifying your ride. Furthermore, you would have to use expert advice to avoid falling asleep on the road due to fatigue and put your safety in danger.

Based on motorcycle riding skills, highway experiences, and fitness levels, riders have different stamina. As a beginner, you might consider 100+ miles as a long-distance trip, while another rider may get tired by spending three or more days on the road.

When riding with others, it is important to discuss what long-distance means to you and others. This will help you come up with a plan that will maximize riding comfort for you and your fellow riders, reducing the risk of fatigue significantly.

Here are some more tips that will help you ride safely without falling prey to deadly rider fatigue.

Modify Your Motorcycle

Image of three motorcycles parked in a beautiful setting with mountains in the background

Photo Credits – Viking Bags

An uncomfortable ergonomic configuration, hard flat seat, and lack of a windshield can make you tired quickly on the road.

If the distance between the seat, handlebars, and footpeg position makes you feel overstretched or cramped, your hands, shoulders, and back muscles will become strained and achy. Awkward ergonomics may also become the cause of persistent, dull headaches.

Handlebar position and shape can also affect the riding quality and comfort of your bike. Hence, it is necessary that you invest in high-quality aftermarket handlebars, risers, foot peg kits, and other parts to adjust your motorcycle to fit you perfectly. This way, the forward and foot controls will be right within your reach, and you will not feel any strain on your wrists, arms, shoulders, back, and legs.

Image of a motorcycle saddle

Photo Credit- Viking Bags

Consider your Saddle

A flat seat with up to 6-inch cushioning will make it impossible for you to sit comfortably for long hours as it is a major cause of lower back pain and a sore bottom, especially if you are on the heavier side.

You should consider getting a plush seat with gel cushioning or replacing the foam of your seat with a denser foam. Other options such as the AirHawk pad might accommodate you better as it distributes your weight equally.

The Wind Problem

Image of a farring from a motorcycle

Photo Credits – Viking Bags

Exposure to strong winds causes dehydration which is a major cause of fatigue. Moreover, to resist strong wind and maintain control of the bike, your muscles would have to work harder.

This wind-induced stress and strain will cause muscle fatigue to set in sooner than you would want it to. It is recommended that you invest in an adjustable tall windshield that will reduce wind buffeting by deflecting wind effectively. You can also get a full fairing to increase wind deflection and protect your hands from cold wind.

If you travel in winter, consider buying heated grips and a heated seat. But make sure that your motorcycle battery supports these accessories before installing them. The last thing you want is to get stranded on the road due to a dead battery.

Image of a motorcycle with a red gas tank

Photo Credits – Viking Bags

When riding with a passenger, make sure to add sissy bars and a backrest along with a comfy passenger seat to optimize passenger comfort.

Eat & Drink Healthy

Image of a healthy lunch including various fruits, veggies, water, and a sandwich on wheat bread

Photo Credits – British Heart Foundation

Thanks to access to the internet and all of the information we all have today, everyone knows what it means to eat and drink healthily. We are still mentioning these important tips because they will help you fight fatigue on the road.

Do not drink alcohol the day or night before your trip. Also, avoid alcohol on the road.

Drink caffeine to your advantage

When on the road, do not drink coffee until you feel tired or sleepy. Once you do, take a 15–20-minute break, drink coffee, and take a nap immediately after. According to experts, caffeine in coffee takes some time before it enters your bloodstream. Hence its effects will start appearing after you wake up. You will feel energized, refreshed, and alert for a long time.

Take a lot of water breaks to prevent dehydration.

Many riders avoid drinking water because they don’t want to stop for restroom breaks every hour or so. Don’t make this mistake and replenish your water frequently.

Eat small healthy snacks.

Avoid sugary, starchy, and junk foods as they cause energy crashes. Pack nuts, dried fruit, veggies, trail mix, granola, protein bars, cheese, etc with you to snack on the road.

Get Adequate Sleep

If you really want to beat rider fatigue, you’re going to need to get plenty of rest before you hit the road.The excitement of the road trip can cause you to stay up late, spend time with friends and family, or complete chores. Try to complete all the important tasks such as getting your motorcycle repaired, meeting friends, or last-minute errands two-three days before you plan to leave for your trip.

Get adequate sleep to wake up refreshed the next day. Also, try to get on the road as soon as the sun rises.

Take Frequent Entertainment Breaks

Image of a man and his motorcycle as he sits by the sea

Photo Credits – Focused Collection

Plan your breaks and your stops well to make your trip enjoyable as boredom also contributes to fatigue. Try to take the shortest route that offers scenic views, quick access to attractions, recreational spots, souvenir shops, diners, travel centers, truck stops, camping sites, and more. You can use different apps like Google Maps, Roadside America, AirBnB, Boondocking, Dyrt, and other apps to plan your travel.

If your route does not offer any of the facilities mentioned above, keep yourself entertained by listening to upbeat music, stretching on the road, taking pictures, connecting with friends, and writing about your trip in a travel log or journal.

Try to take a 20-minute break every two-three hours.

Choose the Right Riding Gear

Image of various biker gear such as a jacket, pants, riding boots, gloves and a helmet

Photo Credits – Overdrive

The right gear can go a long way towards helping beat rider fatigue, so it’s important to make sure you wear the right riding gear that is suitable throughout the journey. Make sure you use layering to your advantage so if the temperature rises or drops, your body does not get overworked and exhausted, trying to regulate the internal temperature.

Takeaway: How to Beat Rider Fatigue

Long motorcycle trips are fun and truly life-changing; however, you will not be able to enjoy the experience if you get tired.

The tips mentioned above are used by hardcore motorcyclists to survive the harsh conditions on the road, but they’re great for novice riders as well. Make sure you start with shorter trips and be willing to stay at a hotel overnight if you find it difficult to stay alert on the road after a full day of riding.


Special thanks for this guest post by Viking Bags

If you’ve enjoyed this article about what it takes to beat rider fatigue, click below to check out the previous article by Viking Bags:Image of a hand of cash in front of a stylish street-style motorcycle. Photo Credit: Motorcycle Shippers