May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. And while you may not be hitting the road as often as you’d like, it’s important to make sure you know how to stay safe when you can be on your bike more regularly.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a concerted effort to ensure drivers are aware of motorcyclists like you, and the vulnerabilities you face on the road. Here are some motorcycle safety tips to help keep you safe.
Be seen and safe on the road
While this campaign strives to increase motorcycle safety awareness for car and truck drivers, as a motorcycle rider, you should also take steps to be seen and stay safe. The first one is understanding the main challenge the average vehicle driver has—seeing you in traffic. Let’s break this down:
Size: Because of their small size, motorcycles appear to be farther away than they actually are
Visibility: A motorcyclist can easily be hidden in a driver’s blind spot
Signaling: Some bikes’ turn signals are not self-canceling, which can send the wrong message to surrounding drivers about changing lanes
Movement: The ability to avoid surface hazards that car drivers don’t see can make motorcycle movements more erratic
Confusion: At night, a single headlight looks like a car from a long distance
Appearance: Black leather riding gear disappears in the dark of night
Keep your insurance, inspections, and other paperwork up to date
Wear the right protective gear
What you choose to wear can make a difference in comfort, visibility, and protection from injury. Here’s a list of gear you should never leave home without:
Helmet: Most states require you to wear a helmet when riding, but if you live in a state that doesn’t, we encourage you to ride with one—every time.
Eye protection: If your helmet isn’t a full-face helmet, don’t forget eye protection. Shatterproof sunglasses or goggles will help keep your eyes safe from UV rays and provide a clear view of the roadway.
Gloves: Having the right pair of gloves not only protects you from the elements but also protects your hands in case of an accident.
Rain gear: It’s best to find rain gear made specifically to fit over the rest of your motorcycle safety gear. Keep it with you when you ride in case the weather changes unexpectedly.
Jacket, pants, and boots: The outfit you wear when riding your bike is also important. Make sure it’s comfortable for riding, will help protect you from the weather, and will provide some protection if you get in an accident.
Evaluate your insurance policy to make sure it provides appropriate coverage during this time. This may not be the most obvious part of motorcycle safety, but when the unexpected happens, you want to be sure you’re protected.
Follow your state’s coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines