If you’re a motorcycle rider, there’s nothing like the first hint of warm spring weather to make you want to rev up your bike and hit the open road.
If you’re new to motorcycle riding, here are some safety tips to keep you safer on the road. And even if you’re a seasoned rider, it’s always a good idea to have a brief refresher to make your ride as happy and accident-free as possible.
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Spring weather is unpredictable, so be aware of wet, slick roads. Even if the sun is shining, a spring shower might have just happened in the area in which you’re traveling. Roads are always slickest after a brief rain because dirt and oil to rise to the surface and haven’t had a chance to get washed away. Patches of melting snow and ice can also make roads slick and hazardous, so keep an eye peeled, even in warmer spring weather.
Standing water can also prove dangerous, so be alert for puddles that can cause you to hydroplane and lose control. Puddles can also hide potholes, which can be deep and dangerous for motorcycle riders.
Make your motorcycle as visible as possible
The only way to drive safely on a motorcycle is to drive defensively. One of the biggest factors cited in motorcycle collisions are drivers who say they didn’t see the motorcycle. Make yourself and your motorcycle as visible as possible. Leave your headlights turned on at all times. Wear brightly colored clothing that makes you more noticeable.
Always use turn signals and check to be sure your intentions are noticed by other drivers before you change lanes or pull out in traffic. Use your horn if you think someone hasn’t seen you to alert them of your presence and your intentions. Don’t drive in the blind spots of other vehicles.
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Be on the lookout for potholes and cracks in the road. Your motorcycle is much more susceptible to damage or loss of control is you hit one. If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow down as much as safely possible to lessen the chance of loss of control or damage to your tires and wheels. Don’t slam on your brakes, which can cause damage to your front-end suspension. Swerving to avoid a pothole can cause you to lose control of your bike – don’t do it.
Gravel can also prove hazardous to motorcyclists due to loss of traction. Always void sudden braking or veering on gravel. Sudden acceleration can also cause you to lose control.
Road debris can spell trouble for motorcycle riders. Keep your eyes peeled on the road ahead to avoid hitting something that could cause an accident.
And last, but not least, always wear a helmet to increase your chance of surviving a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more than 4,586 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in 2014.
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