Motorcycles are one of the most comfortable modes of transportation. They have taken over the roads in many parts of the world, help to alleviate traffic congestion in urban areas, and are incredibly easy to learn how to maintain by yourself, compared to a standard car.
While there are some great benefits to riding a motorcycle, there are also important safety tips to remember. A motorcycle accident can be far more serious than you might think, as you’re completely exposed and all of the moving parts of the motorcycle are vulnerable to the road.
While riding a motorcycle is a great form of transportation, it is important to always be aware of your surroundings, and what could be on the road next to you.
The Benefits of Riding a Motorcycle
1. You can easily get through traffic.
One of the major benefits of riding a motorcycle is your ability to almost seamlessly get through traffic jams by maneuvering around them, or driving between lanes (known as lane-splitting or filtering).
The legality of lane-splitting varies from state to state in the US, though it’s generally legal throughout Europe and other countries. However, even in the US, it’s unlikely you’ll get pulled over for lane-splitting in gridlocked traffic.
2. Taking the scenic route is more adventurous.
There’s nothing quite like taking your motorcycle on winding mountain roads, or down long stretches of rural highways. You’ll be able to stop and explore those scenic parts of your journey in a way that’s a little less clogged by cars.
A motorcycle is one of the best ways to explore any country you visit, and can make for a truly memorable road trip.
3. You’ll (probably) save a lot of gas money.
Fueling up a motorcycle is generally a lot cheaper than a car, though it depends on the type of engine your motorcycle has. A 250cc bike will generally get 50-100 miles per gallon, compared to 4-cylinder vehicles that average around 25-30 miles per gallon.
However, a 1250CC superbike will generally get between 30-50 MPG, so you aren’t saving that much when you get into superbike territory.
With fuel prices surging in the US right now, it makes sense that you’d want to stretch your dollar by riding instead of driving.
Important Motorcycle Safety Tips
1. Know about accident hotspots in your area.
Your town or city may have roads or intersections that are much more accident-prone than the average. Whether it’s due to curbside-parked vehicles causing blind spots, a street notorious for potholes, or a bus route that passes through the middle of the road, it pays to know about the dangerous areas in your town or city before you go riding.
For example, in Boston, MA, the intersection of Columbia Road and the Southeast Expressway is statistically one of the more dangerous intersections in the city, with 296 crashes in a 10-year span. If you have an accident in Boston and need a motorcycle accident lawyer, it helps greatly to know a law firm settled in Boston.
2. Wear proper riding gear.
A helmet is the minimal safety gear for riding a motorcycle – but have you ever seen what happens when somebody dumps their bike, and is dragged on asphalt at 60mph wearing a t-shirt? Your head might be safe, but you’ll be in the hospital for quite a while for skin graft procedures.
A mesh jacket and pants will keep you safe from serious road rash injuries, and also cool in hot weather, as the mesh fabric allows wind to flow inside your clothes.
3. Be visible and use hand signals.
Drivers often swear they never saw a motorcycle in their rearview mirror, or that a rider came out of nowhere. This is because you are small and fast, and there are a lot of blind spots around big trucks and SUVs. For the purpose of rider safety, you should make yourself as easy to spot as possible, at all times.
Make sure you wear brightly colored clothing and use reflective tape or a headlight reflector on your helmet. Also, use hand signals to indicate what you are doing to drivers coming up behind you – it might seem common sense, but many motorcycle riders forget this crucial step.