It’s no secret that the roads in the UK are getting busier. Since the end of the Second World War, there has been an increase in vehicles on the road every year, and by the end of March 2018, there were 37.9 vehicles registered for use on the road. For motorcyclists in particular, this poses greater dangers, especially during rush hour around big cities. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users, so it is worth remembering a few ways to stay safe on the road.
Make sure you have the right equipment – The correct equipment on a bike is so important and can make the difference between life and death. A good quality helmet is essential – it doesn’t only protect the brain, face and skull from injury, but a helmet with a visor protects your eyes from insects, wind and any debris that could get into them and hinder your vision. Protective clothing is also important as it significantly reduces injury in the event of an accident – don’t be tempted to forego wearing protective clothing in the summer heat, cheap summer motorbike gear will keep you feeling cool whilst offering you protection.
Be aware of your speed – The faster you travel, the less time you will have to react to any dangers, or to take evasive action. This is more dangerous for a motorcyclist than a car driver, as you are more exposed on a bike without the protection of a car. The difference in the stopping distance (the moment that you realise you need to stop to the moment that you actually stop) between travelling at 50 miles per hour and 70 miles an hour is 175 feet at 50 miles per hour and 315 feet at 70 miles per hour! So, remember to keep an eye on your speed, as it makes a huge difference!
Looking out for hazards – There are many hazards to motorcyclists and being aware of them is the key to keeping safe. Before you travel make sure that you are well prepared. If the weather conditions are poor (fog, ice or snow for example), check the weather forecast before you leave the house to make sure that you aren’t going to encounter any road closures or get stuck somewhere. If the local weather advice is not to travel, take the advice it is there for a reason!
Junctions are a major hazard to motorcyclists, as car drivers often don’t spot them until it’s too late, so try to alter your road position to make it easier for the drivers of other vehicles to see you.
Finally, the most common causes of motorcycle crashes involving no other road user are bends. Be careful of any slippery patches on the roads around bends and always travel at a sensible speed around them, taking care to stay out of the potential path of oncoming vehicles.