Feeling the wind as you ride your motorcycle down a winding mountainside can certainly be exhilarating. Riding is an activity that combines mindfulness, adventure, and nature in a way that is uniquely distinct from simply driving a car. Unfortunately, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a motorcyclist who crashes is 30 times more likely to experience a fatal outcome than a motorist who crashes. May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, but you do not need to wait to practice responsible riding. Here are four ways that bike safety practices create a pleasant experience and don’t compromise on fun.
Motorcycling can be active and thrilling or leisurely and scenic. Regardless of your age, riding your bike can be a wonderful lifelong passion. However, safety measures must be put in place to ensure an injury, or worse, does not prevent you from enjoying your hobby for many years. This means wearing a helmet that meets the DOT, Snell, or ANSI standards of safety. While your head is the most vulnerable part of your body and therefore in need of high-quality protection, it is also important to cover your core and limbs with protective hard materials. Never ride your motorcycle without wearing sturdy closed-toe boots and gloves.
Once you have the appropriate safety gear and protective clothing in mind, you can shop for the best fit and fabric for your needs. This can be an exciting process as you select items that represent you, while also maintaining the appropriate level of protection. Common fabrics for motorcycle jackets, pants, and suits include Kevlar, Cordura, Lycra, leather, thick denim, and more. For warmer weather climates, vent panels may be included in your attire to allow for aerodynamic cooling. Helmets can contain radios and Bluetooth headsets so you can communicate with a passenger or rider in your group.
A big perk that can bring a smile to any biker’s face is the discounts that many dealerships and manufacturers offer for riders who complete their safety and handling course. If you are loyal to a particular brand, or simply wanting to try an updated model, this is a great way to get to know your new bike in a safe environment while receiving a discount. These courses will often teach you about your state’s laws that apply to motorcyclists. Some courses may even teach you how to maneuver and handle your specific bike in potentially dangerous situations.
If your bike allows for two passengers, this can be an exciting way to travel. Whether it is with your partner, spouse, child, or close friend, you want your loved one to be protected at all times. Any time someone asks to ride along with you, be sure they are also wearing the proper protective gear and clothing. If they do not have even one of the required pieces, tell them you would love to take them on a ride when they can be protected. As the driver, it is your responsibility to communicate safe motorcycle habits to your passengers, and it makes the trip more enjoyable for them as well. Even a tiny pebble or insect can cause extreme pain and damage when you are cruising at 60 miles per hour. You want to share this passion with them, and ensuring they have a safe experience is the best way to help them share your love for the open road.
The most vital protection for yourself will always be what is protecting you at the moment an accident occurs. Even for those who take every safety precaution, injuries and collisions may still be unavoidable. Make sure you have high-quality motorcycle insurance to protect you as a driver. Speak to your insurance agent about the best possible coverage for your needs and take your joyride with confidence and peace of mind.