It always seems like cars and bikes are at war, with each blaming the other when it comes to the cause of accidents. Ultimately bikers are more at risk, they aren’t cocooned in a steel cage when things go wrong.
With the number of motorcycle accident claims on the rise, what’s the best way to stay safe on two wheels?
You need to be on it when it comes to hazard perception
Hopefully you had a hazard perception section when you took your test. You know, the bit where you click the mouse whenever you see a danger?
Well when you’re on a bike you need to be scanning ahead, way ahead. People overtaking and not seeing you, cambers in the road, potholes, cats eyes, junctions, the weather…everything needs to be taken into account when you’re on two wheels.
Look as far ahead as you can so you have ample time to adjust your speed, or plan your next manoeuvre to keep you safe.
Being safe in the corners
This has happened to nearly everyone at least once in their career as a motorcyclist.
You enter a corner, either panic or are distracted so try and stand the bike up, or brake and a crash normally ensues.
The most basic rule as a biker is looking where you want to go, not at the ground, nor the white lines, or the bike in front and especially that other car. Just your exit point.
It helps to know your bike’s limits, they can lean way further than you may think so commitment is key when it comes to cornering. And leave off the levers, braking in a corner when you panic is often the worst thing to do, a bit of throttle will most likely save you.
Overtaking is super dangerous
Car drivers are blind to everything but things as big as themselves or larger. Bikes, forget it. You’re on your own.
So pick your overtaking move carefully.
Don’t overtake when approaching bends, junctions, dips or hills. Also, those solid white lines…they’re there for a reason and it’s not just for the benefits of the car dwellers.
Don’t overtake a line of cars, one of them is bound to try and make a move on the slower car, van, lorry. Overtake them one at a time, making sure you stay out to the right so everyone can see you in their mirrors.
The biggest killer on bikes is speed. Most riders will survive an off at low speed, but when you’re travelling at 70+MPH and get thrown off, well…humans are squishy.
Yes, going fast is a big kick, but being alive to see another day is even better.
If you want to ‘open her up’ then do it on a nice long stretch of empty straight road on a dry day, where there’s no one else to be seen. A dual carriageway with junctions is not the place to try your best Casey Stoner impression.
It’s all about common sense. Many riders seem to get two-wheel fever and addicted to the buzz of going fast, taking risk after risk until their mortality is in question.