If you are an avid fan of motorcycles, you need to know the risks you face while you are on the road. Indeed, riding on two wheels is considered more dangerous than driving a car. Sure enough, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported in 2013 that motorcycle deaths occur 26 times more frequently than fatalities from car crashes.
This is understandable, since motorcyclists can be difficult to see on the road. Aside from that, motorcycles provide less protection to riders. Even when you are wearing a helmet or adding more safety features to your motorcycle, there’s still a good chance to suffer from a broken pelvis or serious puncture wounds.
The risks are far greater for people involved in motorsports. You can never be too careful when it comes to keeping yourself safe on the road. While you probably know a lot about safety, it’s still a question if you are approaching it the right way. Here’s a guide to help make sure you are fully protected off the road or on it:
Invest in protective equipment
The cornerstone of safer riding depends on the quality of gear you wear. Everything from your helmet to the suit you wear can save your life, or at least minimize the injuries you sustain from an accident.
Let’s start with the helmet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported more than 1,800 lives were saved by helmets in 2016 alone. Not only that, but a helmet can slash the risk of death by 37%. These are compelling reasons why states require motorists to purchase and wear helmets.
It’s one thing to get a helmet just because you have to, but it’s another to choose a helmet that will protect you from horrific head injuries. Whether you are a casual rider or a racer, selecting the right helmet is vital. For this, you need a helmet that’s made from sturdy material such as fiberglass or Kevlar. It also pays to know the type of padding that lines the interior of the helmet. There has to be a good balance between comfort and protection. You will want to test out different helmets, so take your time finding something that fits well on your head, provides ventilation, and doesn’t muffle the sound of incoming traffic.
Aside from these features, you also need to focus on finding the right type of helmet for your needs. If you are a casual rider, opt for a 3/4 helmet with a flip-down visor. If you are riding a motocross bike that packs a lot of power, consider a full face helmet which provides adequate protection to vulnerable areas from the skull cap down to the bottom of the chin. This type of helmet can be very expensive, but it does a good job protecting your head during a frontal collision.
Helmets are not the only safety gear you should invest in. You also need a jacket that is made from durable yet comfortable material. Most jackets you will find in the market are made from leather. It’s reliable and it’s less prone to wear and tear. You only need to look for one that fits your figure and suits your style. If you are more into the side of extreme riding, consider looking for a shirt that’s light-weight, dirt-resistant and waterproof.
For better safety and performance, you may want to complete your look by investing in a pair of riding gloves. The best option would be all weather gloves that will keep your hands warm during a winter ride. These types of gloves also adjust when the weather gets hot, reducing sweat and ensuring a more secure grip.
You may also want a pair of high-quality boots. Most of these in the market are made from canvas or soft leather. Either way, you need boots that are made from multiple layers of textile or leather, but can still provide enough ventilation for your feet. The best factor would be the soles, since you need boots that provide optimal grip. If you want to reduce slipping, opt for boots that have flexible soles. Heavier boots might not give enough grip, but they fare better when it comes to durability. For off-road contests, add knee guards and elbow pads to the mix. The whole setup may cost you hundreds of dollars, but it’s an investment that could save your life.
When it comes to road safety, getting the right amount of protection is just a small part of the equation. Your health and well-being plays a very big role. As a motorcycle enthusiast, you need to have a healthy mind and body so you can stay focused on the road and steer clear of any potential dangers that lie ahead.
The best way to get started is by doing stretches that are designed to reduce physical stress that comes from squeezing the brake and clutch levers and gripping the handles . Before riding, take time to do simple wrist flexes to loosen up the bones and muscles.
Your back can also suffer from riding long hours, so consider squats, sit ups, and plank exercises. These should help you avoid developing lower back problems, reinforce your muscles and, more importantly, keep you well-balanced.
If you are on a diet plan, it’s important to choose your meals carefully, especially before a long ride or a competition. Without getting the right amount of nutrition, you will find it harder to concentrate on the road. Worst of all, the feeling of hunger can affect your reaction time and increase the risk of an accident. Regardless of your current diet plan, you need to make sure to get the right amount of iron and protein everyday. You may also want to include food that’s rich in Vitamin K, a nutrient that’s known to optimize sensorimotor speeds and improve concentration.
Lastly, consider getting ample sleep before a long ride or a competition. Lacking enough rest hinders your ability to concentrate. Drowsy driving is obviously unsafe, especially if you are planning to ride at night time. Then again, if you are the type of rider who sleeps during the day, riding at night won’t be much of a problem so long as you are well-rested. If you think you haven’t had much sleep the day before, then it’s best to postpone your travel to a later date when you are in the right condition.
It’s also essential to stay away from habits such as drinking before a ride. Many states have had their fair share of motorcycle accidents caused by intoxicated riders. Not only that, but there are also cases in which drunk riders leave their vehicles in populated places and are surprised to find out that someone had slipped a small cache of drugs in the compartment. If this ever happens to you in Texas and you are falsely accused of drug possession, you might want to reach out to a Houston drug lawyer. At any rate, staying alert can do more than keep you out of danger. It also helps you avoid scenarios you might end up taking responsibility for.
Safety isn’t something you should think about in passing. No matter how skilled a rider you are, the risk of severe injury is still too real. You can’t take any chances, so make sure you stay on the right track and stay out of danger’s way.