Getting on a one-seater, handlebars in hand and a sharp breeze hitting the cheekbones. One can easily understand how the thrill of a motorcycle ride lifts the spirits. Motorbikes have come a long way since the gas-powered invention in 1885. Celebrities such as George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Keanu Reeves, Beckham and Pink have made moto riding a phenomenon.
Despite the appeal, riders put themselves at the mercy of the road and its drivers when they get on their scooters. A pleasurable ride can easily turn into a rush-ride to the hospital. Make sure you or your loved ones give full attention to detail before you pull the lever of the twist throttle.
NEVER DRIVE WHEN DISTRACTED
Distractions can cost you your life. No driver should mount a bike when agitated, sick or tired. A moment of confusion can easily make one eat asphalt; turning the ride from a thrilling experience into a horrendous collision.
DO A QUICK SAFETY INSPECTION
It goes without saying that drivers are responsible for the vehicle they have control over. Similar to having car tyres and brake pads checked every so often, motorcyclists should watch out for gashes in tyres following wear-and-tear and ensure all fluids are topped up.
KEEP CONTROL OVER SPEED
Motorbikes can easily hit high acceleration thanks to their lighter weight in comparison with cars. The detriment lies in not having a protective chassis for full protection. Consequently, drivers are instructed to restrain from reckless driving at all times. Any curve or pothole can place a driver in serious danger. Driving according to one’s own skill and ability is advised.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT GARMENTS
“Dressing the part” is not just a fashion choice. A rider’s gear is his/her best protection. Consider your clothing as armour – it acts as the primary protective layer should an accident take place. Leg guards protect your bottom limbs from getting crushed under the bike, a full-face helmet with high-visibility colours helps your brain and face stay protected, and a comfortable, sturdy jacket protects you from harsh winds and scratches. Don’t go cheap – there’s no price on your life.
TONE DOWN ON THE STUNTS
For years, bikes have been considered hazardous vehicles. Their light weight allows drivers to turn up the adrenaline with burnout performances and dangerous manoeuvres. Many bikers follow the codes of the road to the point, but having a few rebels on the road is super dangerous. Discipline and ethics will make the roads safer for everyone.
NO LICENCE? NO DRIVING.
It goes without saying, but some still need a reminder. Undergoing practice and an exam will get you ready for the roads. Lacking a driving licence will get you on the wrong side of the law.
AVOID BAD WEATHER
Bikers are at the mercy of the natural elements. Motorcyclists are less protected against harsh elements. Driving in turbulent winds should be avoided and getting on the road in heavy downpour is not advisable. If you unexpectedly find yourself in such situations, take shelter until the storm subsides. Ensure you have a clear field of vision, don’t break abruptly and allow enough distance between yourself and other drivers.
EDUCATE YOUR PASSENGER
Riding solo requires skill in balance and control. Riding with a passenger requires double that effort. Giving your friends and family a taste of fun with your motorcycle is a rewarding feeling. Before you invite a passenger to share your seat, ensure you are comfortable with carrying double the weight and be sure in your ability to manoeuvre the vehicle. Share advice and clues about the communication methods when you’re on the road, who gets on and off first, which seating position is best for both and what to expect when you’re behind the wheel.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE
Driving a motorcycle or any other road vehicle while intoxicated is against the law. Even if the feeling of inebriety and dizziness have not kicked in yet, once the alcohol’s effect starts working its way into your body, driving becomes risky. Never expose yourself and others to peril.
BRUSH UP THE HAND SIGNALS GUIDEBOOK
Not all local bikers are familiar with international hand signals which riders have at their disposal to communicate with other motorcyclists and drivers. If a fellow rider points a finger to the ground, s/he might be warning you of a dangerous pothole in the road. Consider such gestures as Bike Code and make them your bible.
Share the list with other bikers and raise the awareness about the need for greater safety on the roads… and remember to stay vertical!