So, you want to be a biker… well, now is the time to start preparing yourself for a safe ride. Motorcycling is a dangerous pastime, especially for those who are not properly prepared.
Dress Wisely. Motorcycle riding is not like a pleasant jaunt on a bicycle. Even if you are taking a quick run to the grocery store, it is not wise to hop on your bike with a t-shirt and shorts. Biking should be taken seriously, with even small trips earning the respect that the machine deserves. Most accidents occur close to home, and that means that you are at risk even when going out for five minutes. Full length pants, long sleeve shirt (preferably a jacket of a protective material, such as leather), boots, helmet, eye protection, and gloves should be standard equipment whenever you jump on the seat of your bike.
Remain Visible. While head lights and tail lights are important on any vehicle, they are especially essential on a motorcycle, which is already of an unexpected size and shape on the highway – easily overlooked by drivers of traditional vehicles. Additionally, it is wise to put reflector strips to good use. These are easy to find in St. Petersburg, cost very little, but can make you and your bike more visible. Apply them to clothing and the body of the machine.
Know the Weather Conditions. Getting caught on a bike in a torrential downpour or high winds is very dangerous, not to mention uncomfortable. Know what you are riding into and regularly check the forecast. This is easier today than ever before as weather apps on smartphones and other mobile devices can even be set to send weather alerts for your area – whether you are in Saint Petersburg, Florida or Anchorage, Alaska.
Expect the Unexpected. Easier said than done, obviously, this is a phrase that simply implies one should be extra vigilant and it is very applicable in the case of motorcycle riders. It is essential to look for potential obstacles all the time. This could mean that other drivers on the road who, despite your efforts to make yourself visible, overlook you anyway. They may swerve into your lane without warning, could try to make a turn and side-swipe you, or could brake unexpectedly because they did not see you in the rearview mirror until it was too late. However, other drivers are not the only potential danger. Animals can frequently dart into the road, potholes present an added level of risk for bike riders, and even loose dirt can cause a bike to fishtail. As a biker, you must constantly see potential obstacles and make quick decisions to overcome them. This means being on the lookout for changing road conditions, turn signals, brake lights, distracted drivers, construction signs, and a myriad of other red flags. So, get on your bike only when you are well-rested, sober, and prepared to drive defensively.
Take a Refresher Course. Rarely is it a bad idea to enhance your skills. There are training courses available all over the country. They are a great idea for new riders and even for those who need a refresher after an extended period of time between riders. These courses can teach you the skills you need to recognize danger and to stay away from it, so you can live to ride another day.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident because another driver failed to pay attention, or made some other grave error on the roadway, speak to a personal injury attorney about your right to collect compensation.