You’ve made the effort, taken the classes, obtained the license, and now you are ready to ride… or are you? There is a lot of risk assumed when climbing on a motorcycle and taking off. Two wheels make the bike a little less stable than a car and, of course, you are far less protected when exposed to the elements. However, with these eight riding rules, you can feel a bit safer as you break into the riding world. If you do become involved in a motorcycle accident, remember to speak to a personal injury attorney about your options when litigation might be required.
1. Stay Sober. More so even than in a car, drugs and alcohol can leave you in a lot of danger when riding a motorcycle. Your reaction time, balance, and attention span can be altered for the worse when under the influence. Before you head out for a ride, be sure that you are sober and in a good frame of mind.
2. Suit Up. It’s not just for looks! The leather-clad, glove-wearing, helmet heads that immediately come to mind when thinking of motorcycle riders is an image formed for good reason. If you suffer a bike accident in St. Petersburg, you aren’t likely to walk away if there is nothing there to protect your body. Protective gear is a must and should include a well-fitting helmet with visor or other eye protection, gloves, boots, and long clothing made of a durable fabric. Leather is often chosen because it is so tough. Though black is often the preferred color of bikers, more vibrant colors will make you more visible to other drivers.
3. Baby Your Bike. You are relying on your motorcycle in a huge way, so treat it with a lot of respect. Be sure that you are regularly maintaining the vehicle and checking it for potential defects each and every ride.
4. View The World With Your Eyes Wide Open. It is the only way to stay safe when you are a motorcycle rider. You must be aware of what is happening around you – in front of, beside, and behind your bike. Be sure that you are checking your mirrors regularly, maintaining a safe following distance, and never attempting to overtake someone without knowing what awaits you when you pull out.
5. Let Your Eyes Lead. When you round a corner, your eyes should see everything long before your bike does. Experts suggest that a biker should be looking out a distance that could be covered in four seconds. It doesn’t sound like much, but remember, at 60 miles per hour, you are traveling a mile per minute or 88 feet per second. Even at the slow speeds you travel when turning a corner, you should still be looking quite far ahead so you can properly predict potential hazards.
6. Look Left … Again. Intersections are notoriously the most dangerous areas on the road. There are too many drivers making varying decisions and it is impossible to predict what another person might suddenly do. Therefore, it is very important to be vigilant when entering an intersection. Be sure that you look to your left first, then ahead of you, then to your right, and finally… look left again. This is the first lane that you will enter into when you pull out and, therefore, it represents the most danger.
7. Maintain a Safe Following Distance. The length of road between you and the car ahead of you should be greater than what most people think. Because stopping distances at typical highway speeds – for a motorcycle – can easily exceed 250 feet, it is very important to stay back. Consider this: on average cars are approximately 15 feet in length and at 70 miles per hour, it will take you 275 feet to bring your motorcycle to a complete stop. That is the equivalent, then, of more than 18 car lengths.
8. Practice Makes Perfect. That’s how the saying goes and it definitely applies to motorcycle riding, so take to the Saint Petersburg roads frequently and be sure that you are following all the safety tips above every time. If you do, maybe you won’t have to consult with a personal injury attorney about any motorcycle accidents.