Tips from Geico Insurance
Make Motorcycle Riding Safety Your Top Priority
According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) motorcycle fatalities increased for the fifth year in a row. Operating a motorcycle takes different skills than driving a car; however, the laws of the road apply to every driver just the same. A combination of consistent education, regard for traffic laws and basic common sense can go a long way in helping reduce the amount of fatalities involved in motorcycle accidents on a yearly basis.
Here is a checklist that every motorcycle rider should follow:
Always wear a helmet with a face shield or protective eyewear – Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect against severe head injuries. A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury.
Wear appropriate gear – Make sure to wear protective gear and clothing that will minimize the amount of injuries in case of an accident or a skid. Wearing leather clothing, boots with nonskid soles, and gloves can protect your body from severe injuries. Consider attaching reflective tape to your clothing to make it easier for other drivers to see you.
Follow traffic rules – Obey the speed limit; the faster you go the longer it will take you to stop. Be awareof local traffic laws and rules of the road.
Ride defensively – Don’t assume that a driver can see you, as nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider’s right of way. You should always ride with your headlights on; watch for turning vehicles; stay out of a driver’s blind spot; signal well in advance of any change in direction; and watch for turning vehicles.
Keep your riding skills honed through education – According to stated statistics, more than 90% of riders involved in accidents have no formal training, and nearly half of these riders are unlicensed or improperly licensed. Complete a formal riding education program, get licensed and take riding courses from time to time to develop riding techniques and to sharpen your street-riding strategies.
Be awake and ride sober – More than half of all motorcycle fatalities occur when the rider has been drinking. Don’t drink and ride, you could cause harm to yourself and others. Additionally, fatigue and drowsiness can impair your ability to react, so make sure that you are well rested when you hit the road.
How much is enough when it comes to learning about the ‘art’ of motorcycling? Truth is, you can never know too much.
Collectively, we’ve traveled over a million miles, and one thing we agree on unequivocally is…
‘The more you know, the better it goes’.
pretend your are invisible
Pretend you are invisible
“If you assume others on the road can’t see you on a motorcycle, you will tend to ride in a hyper-aware mindset and notice much more detail in your surroundings. Pretending you cannot be seen by others will help you take the initiative to ride more responsibly and defensively.”
Ken Glaser, MSF’s Director of Special Projects
While surfing the Web and talking with other riders, we’ve picked up a few tips to share with you. If you have others, please pass them along and we’ll be happy to post.
The Ankle Sprain
As a motorcyclist, it is very important to have your feet and ankles in good health. It becomes a safety hazard whether riding in a group or solo.
If an ankle sprain is not treated appropriately, it leads to a chronic condition that can flare up at any time. Imagine not being able to change gears when necessary or loosing your balance when putting your foot down at a stop light or applying the brake.
With an appropriate examination by a Podiatrist, some ankle sprains can be avoided by the use of orthotics that put the foot and ankle musculature back in balance.
If you experience an ankle sprain make sure that you have it properly treated. Many times I have patients that come into my office stating that they went to the ER and were treated for ‘just an ankle sprain.’ After examination and further x-rays, I have found ankle fractures.
When a diagnosis of an ankle sprain is confirmed, certain treatments should take place that:
- Decrease pain
- Prevent further injury to the surrounding ligaments
- Prevent prolonged disability
Immobilization is important to maintain the integrity of the injured extremity. Free ambulation (walking) is not only painful, but also often risky. Appropriate treatment, surrounds, edema reduction, muscle strengthening, and proprioceptive exercises are required.
The primary goal of ankle rehabilitation is the return to normal activity and should:
a. Ankle should be void of swelling
b. There should be pain free ambulation
c. Muscle strengths should be symmetrical in both limbs
d. There should be no limp with walking
e. One should be able to run in figure eights or do a one-legged hop without pain. These maneuvers place stress on the ankle.
Courtesy of PMBSMC Dennis ‘Doc’ Castillo, Podiatrist.
Riding a motorcycle takes skill, concentration, and being alert and aware of your environment and options at all times.
- identify potentially hazardous situations/conflict
- make intelligent judgements about the best action to take
- execute based on decisions, quickly and skillfully
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that your ability to operate a motorcycle optimally, perform and respond to changing road and traffic conditions is influenced by how fit you are.
There is a wealth of information in books, magazines, manuals and on the Internet. We’re going to talk about two factors that inhibit your ability to think clearly and ride safely:
Alcohol (and this includes drugs)
P.S. Make sure your horse is fit too
GROUP RIDING TIPS
(THIS IS HOW WE DO IT)
The purpose of riding in an organized group instead of an undisciplined pack is to provide the additional safety that a well-organized group inherently generates. This comes from within the group, as well as the outside. When a group rides in an orderly fashion, people don’t get in each other’s way, and the organization of the formation itself discourages cars from attempting to cut in.
Once riding rules have been adopted by an organization, EVERYONE riding with the organization is expected to follow them. Anyone violating the rules, and compromising everyone else’s safety, will be warned, and if their actions continue, will no longer be welcome to ride with the chapter.
The following rules are compiled from a number of sources. Most organizations that ride in orderly formations follow similar rules. Details may vary from one group to another, sometimes because of a particular style of riding by the group, or sometimes because there are a number of reasonable options, so they chose the one they prefer.
- Be considerate – have a full tank BEFORE arriving at the departure point.
- Tell the Road Captain if you have any special concerns, i.e. speed, sharp corners, etc
- Tell the Road Captain and Tail gunner if you plan to leave the group before the destination. Also tell the persons riding in front and behind you so they don’t think you are having a problem.
- When a rider leaves the group while in staggered formation, the best way to compensate for the hole made by his absence is for each rider behind the missing bike to change lanes. Doing this eliminates passing in a single lane.
- Tell the Road Captain if your bike (or bladder) has an unusually short fuel range
- Bring adequate clothing for the weather conditions expected during the day.
- Remember to take some clear eye protection if the ride will extend into the evening.
- When exiting a freeway, keep up the pace so the riders behind you aren’t forced to slow down while still on the freeway, thus becoming a traffic hazard.
- The position of new (inexperienced with GROUP riding) riders within the group is significant. New riders should be positioned as close to the front as possible
- In the unlikely event of an emergency condition, the Road Captain will make every attempt to move the formation to the shoulder in an orderly manner. If a bike breaks down, let the rider move to the right. DO NOT STOP. The Tail Gunner will stop with the problem bike. The ride Leader will lead the group to a safe stopping place.
- We started with consideration…lets end there. When riding with a club or the same group frequently, plan to purchase a EZ PASS so that the rest of the riders don’t have to wait for you to pay to come through the toll booth. Serious riders agree that EZ PASS is the greatest thing since black pepper! The Road Captain should be advised (in advance) of visitors riding with the club/group, or other riders, who have to pay tolls. These riders should split out from the group BEFORE reaching the toll plaza, so as not to hold up the group. When the formation arrives at the toll booth, all bikes should proceed through the toll booth one at a time. The formation will reform on the other side of the toll booth.