The Thrill and the Danger
Riding a motorcycle is undeniable joy. It’s a thrill that people who have only ever driven in metal cages can’t really understand. But therein lies a problem. Most drivers have no understanding of what it’s like to share a road alongside them, housed in their 70mph two ton boxes! But that won’t be changing anytime soon.
Add to that the veritable war between bike manufacturers to make more and more gnarly bikes—Kawasaki’s new H2R model was recently clocked at over 248mph—and it’s polite understatement to say there are some inherent risks to riding. It may be especially tempting for less experienced riders to assume they can just hop onto a big 1,000cc bike. So, with all of that in mind, let’s talk about how to best avoid accidents in the first place and mitigate the likelihood of serious injuries.
Preventing Accidents Before They Happen
If you are a fairly green rider, consider investing in an advanced motorcycle riding course. You likely already took one to receive your license, but the truth is, those courses are usually very basic and the quality of material and instruction are far from uniform across the available services. Think of it like this: would you rather invest a little money and time to advance your skills as a rider, or would rather risk a lot of money, pain, and time away from riding and work by not advancing your skills and knowledge now?
The next obvious point is to ride as if every driver is a potential threat. Of course, it’s not that they really are malicious people that intend harm (though it may seem like that at times!). But their ignorance and inattention is absolutely a threat to a riders safety. Be defensive and alert. Get used to the ways drivers commonly jeopardize the safety of motorcyclists and always assume the cars around you will act in such a manner. Leave yourself an “out.” Always.
Reducing Risk of Serious Injury
The most important thing you can do to ensure your safety is to wear a good helmet. If you are in the state of Nevada and have a motorcycle license, you will know that a helmet is required by law. And for good reason! States with universal helmet laws have far, far lower rates of fatal injuries due to not wearing a helmet.
The next point is to invest in some decent armored gear. Should you ever lay your bike down for any reason, your skin and bones will thank you.
Lastly, don’t ride scared. Take command, feel confident (not arrogant), and you’ll be set for having a safe, and hopefully very fun, time out there.