Ready, Steady Ride…..
There’s nothing like commuting to work on your motorbike. You’ll save time, have reduced problems with parking, less stress getting to and from work on time and it should be a more pleasurable experience.
We’ve put together this short guide to give you pointers in staying safe on the roads.
There is only one person you can rely on and that’s yourself.
Modern cars / vans etc can accelerate really quickly – this also true of vehicles moving quickly into different lanes. Make sure you leave room around you. The key is to be seen. Stay out of blind spots. If you can’t see the drivers face in his / her mirror – they can’t see you!!! Simples!
However, just because you can see the driver, doesn’t mean that they will use their mirror before changing lanes or turning, potentially knocking into you. Make sure you position yourself so you are not in danger.
If you see a battered, dented car by you – be wary – they have obviously have made lots of mistakes and you don’t want to be their next one. You never can be sure exactly what is going to happen in the traffic, so be on your guard
Scan the roads at junctions, even if the lights are on green!
Have the right clothes
This may sound like we are teaching you to suck eggs but having the right clothes and gear is essential. Make sure you change your helmet at least every two to three years – they take a battering, just by being carried around, plonked down on floors etc. Get the best possible kit you can afford! That includes jacket and trousers (it doesn’t matter if it’s textile or leather as long as it has a decent level of protection) and appropriate footwear that protects your ankles. Don’t buy second hand, you don’t know what you’re getting or if it’s been damaged. This particularly applies to helmets’ – if it has a crack you may not see it, as most of the protection is inside the helmet! The SHARP rating system can help you understand how much protection a helmet can offer you in a collision. See http://sharp.direct.gov.uk
Be aware of the road space and maintain a good space around you within the surrounding traffic. Think ahead and think how the traffic may behave and how that will affect you. The end game is to ensure that the effect on you is minimal.
If you are in danger and it is safe to do so vary your speed to get yourself out of trouble, however, never go over the speed limit!
Road Users Make Mistakes
Road users are human and humans make mistakes – some more than others, from not using indicators, to running red lights etc. So try and predict the mistakes that may happen but more importantly of all – leave room.
You won’t be able to change these mistakes but by leaving room you won’t be affected by them. Don’t get violent, abusive or upset, life is too short. If you are riding in a calm state of mine and just going about your business safely you’ll enjoy the ride much much more!
Slow down – it’s not rocket science!
Keep your speed down in urban areas. People often misjudge speed e.g. a car driver at a junction looks down the road and sees a headlight approaching and guesses that the vehicles is travelling at the speed limit – unfortunately the bike is going 10mph over the speed limit and you’ve guessed it – wallop – a collision; and generally not a nice one!
Slowing down gives your brain the time it needs to react and notice things that are going on around you. You are able to notice more of what is happening in your peripheral vision and that allows you to see more and react quicker to threats.
Skills are key
Practice and experience obviously help! Don’t just do your CBT and then keep renewing it! Get yourself some extra lessons, it will give you great riding tips and will ultimately give you key skills that should make you safer on the roads. You never know, you may enjoy it and decide to go for your Motorbike Licence.
If you’ve got your licence, sign yourself up for a Bikesafe, IAM or ROSPA course or drop us a line and try one of our RSBS / IAM dealer rideouts. You’ll get to meet a great bunch of people and get some great advice and a ride out. If you like that, sign up for the IAM Skills for Life
Know your route and your neighbourhood. Practice glancing in the mirror and know what to do in the event of initiating an emergency lane change or emergency stop!
At the end of the day there is only one of you, you can’t claw back time so, don’t make a deadly mistake!
Things to remember
- Scan the road particularly at junctions
- Speeding is overrated; don’t do it – give your self time to react
- Use appropriate signals
- Check your mirrors and blind spots
- Brake smoothly and early
- Look for visual clues in the road
- Be bright and be seen and get good protective clothing!