The top three things that you can do as a rider to protect yourself while riding to ensure an accident free ride are: 1) Keep your skills polished; 2) Wear proper riding gear; and 3) Think ahead when riding using the Motorcycle Safety Foundations (MSF) Search, Evaluate and Execute (S.E.E.) method.
1. Polishing your skills should be a lifelong goal as a motorcycle rider. How many of you can do a figure eight on your motorcycle in a confined space? If you can’t, you should consider taking the MSF Basic Rider Course. The MSF Basic Rider Course prepares you to ride with the proper skills needed to ride safe and is suitable for beginner or re-entry motorcycle riders. I know riders who have been riding for years and take the MSF Basic Rider course and pick up some great tips that they didn’t know. If you have been riding for some years and consider yourself an “expert”, the MSF also provides an Experienced Rider Course which I suggest that every rider take once a year to keep your riding skills in good form. Taking the Experienced Rider Course also helps these skills become engrained as habit, therefore being there when you need them.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation training also provides instruction in riding etiquette, riding gear, and differences in styles of motorcycles. Information can be obtained about MSF training by visiting the motorcycle training link below or by calling (800)-446-9227.
2. Wear the proper riding gear. This simply means being the most prepared you can for the road. When you play a sport, such as football, you wear should pads and a helmet. Why wouldn’t you go out on a motorcycle fully armed and prepared to meet the road. Yes, skill helps you be accident free, but there are other factors to consider, such as, other drivers, potholes, flat tires, animals, etc. Wear clothing that is visible to other drivers such as bright colors. Wear supportive riding boots with non-slip soles to help prevent slipping in gravel or oil. Wear leather or a protective jacket and long pants to keep your skin protected. Wear gloves to protect your hands and a DOT certified helmet to protect your most important asset, your brain. I saw a couple go down on the highway with a flat tire. They didn’t have protective gear on at all. The driver did all the right things to bring his motorcycle under control and minimize damage, but he had shorts, a tank top, and gym shoes on. By the time, the motorcycle was stopped, the driver was skinned with road rash from one side to the other and had a twisted ankle. The passenger was luckier, with only skinned up palms from catching her fall.
3. Use the S.E.E. method when riding. On the Motorcycle Safety Foundation site, they teach the Search, Evaluate and Execute method. It explains that as a responsible motorcycle rider you should always be looking ahead and around for possible obstacles and obstructions. When you see a possible situation, start planning (evaluate) what you would do to avoid it and then when faced with the situation, execute it. By constantly being alert to possible issues and formulating solutions, you can be a safer rider.
Until next week, ride safe.