I drive a Harley and every morning when I head off to work I prepare myself mentally for the onslaught of drivers who either don't see me or just don't care that I'm there. I've learned over the years that the best way to arrive safely is to wear the proper gear and be proactive and aggressive about my motorcycle safety. Here are some tips to help you do the same:
1. Wear the right gear! Riding a motorcycle in shorts and sandals is not only foolish, it's plain dangerous. It's just plain common sense, but since it's not the law in Colorado it's up to you to do the right thing and wear your helmet. I could say more, but the following illustration say it all:
2. Make eye contact: never assume others see you. Always try to make eye contact with drivers who may be about to pull into your path.
3. Read “vehicle language”: even when drivers, cyclists and pedestrians do see you approaching, they often misjudge your distance and speed. Don’t rely on them.
4. Watch out for left-turning vehicles at intersections: getting hit by an oncoming vehicle that’s turning left is the most common type of motorcycle crash.
5. Check behind when turning left from a highway: watch your mirrors and make sure you have plenty of space behind. The drivers behind might not slow down for you.
6. Look out for hazardous road conditions: wet roads, fluid spills, sand, gravel, highway sealant, railroad tracks, potholes and other road-surface hazards reduce your traction. They cause many falls.
7. Be visible: wear bright, reflective clothing. Add extra reflective material to it or wear a reflective vest. Likewise, buy a bright-coloured helmet and stick reflective tape to the back and sides. Always keep your headlight on. Ride in the lane position where other drivers can easily see you and you’ve got room to move. Avoid all other vehicles’ blind spots.
8. Protect your eyes and face: constant wind can make your eyes water, preventing you from spotting hazards. Flying insects, dust and debris can hurt your eyes and face. The best protection is a full-face helmet with a built-in face shield.
There you go, 8 good tips to help keep you safe and get you home in one piece. In case you need an example of what NOT to do on your motorcycle, here it is:
And if you need to know what happens to those riders who are not obeying the rules, you can expect something like this: