Motorcycle Safety Tips
Springfield has had a rash of injury and fatality motorcycle accidents this year. There seems to be more people riding motorbikes and motorcycles due to hard economic times. A lot of these are experienced riders who make mistakes that are preventable. Here are some motorcycle safety tips from the Missouri Safety Center.
- Whenever you ride, always wear proper riding gear which includes a helmet (DOT approved or better), eye protection (face shield, goggles or shatter-resistant full coverage glasses), long sleeved shirt or jacket, full-fingered gloves, long pants (denim or leather), and over-the-ankle boots or sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. You’ll be more comfortable, safer and ultimately enjoy riding even more.
- At night, be careful not to override your motorcycle’s headlight. And take extra care to be seen by other drivers by wearing reflective clothing and using reflective tape and decals.
- In addition to the pre-ride inspection you should know how to do minor maintenance and service on your motorcycle, especially important on long rides and trips. Be sure to read your owner’s manual and follow the directions.
- When you brake, use both brakes together. Generally speaking, when conditions are good, the front brake accounts for as much as 2/3 of the bike’s stopping power. How much brake pressure to use depends on your abilities, your bike's capabilities, and the environment.
- Slow down before going into a curve. Look through the curve and gently accelerate as you enter and drive through the curve. This gentle acceleration creates stability but cannot be accomplished without the proper braking prior to entering the curve.
- Mud, sand, water and other foreign debris on the road take special handling. Before reaching a slippery surface, slow down and avoid directional or speed changes as you ride through the hazard.
- Remember that the first few minutes of a rainstorm are the most dangerous as the water mixes with the oil and fluids on the roadway. Avoid riding during this time, if possible. If you must ride, try to ride in the tracks of the other vehicles in front of you as they force away the water and oils.
- Standing on the pegs can help you keep control of your cycle when riding over an obstacle or rough surfaces. Keep your knees and elbows bent, look past the hazard in the direction you want to go and maintain a steady speed.
- Always plan ahead - you never know what kind of problems may be coming up. Know what you’ll have to do if you suddenly skid, have a blowout, or lose clutch or throttle control.
- Riding with a passenger makes balance and control of your bike a great challenge. Make sure your passenger is wearing all the proper riding gear, knows where and how to sit, where to put their feet and hands and how to lean through turns. Tell them to look over your shoulder in the direction of the turn. Remember that the passenger is your responsibility and should be properly educated, prepared and ready to ride.
- Never ride if you have consumed any alcohol or drugs, prescription or otherwise. Your best weapon on the bike is your judgment. If it becomes impaired your ability to react is slowed.
- When you carry loads, be sure to fasten them securely to the motorcycle and keep the heavier objects low and towards the center of gravity of the bike. Never secure loads where they will affect your steering, handling, or view of the road ahead.