As a motorcyclist, you are aware of how important it is to stay safe on your ride, and you probably know most of the basic safety rules for motorcyclists, including wearing all the right protective gear. However, you may not be aware of the most dangerous risks you may encounter out on the roads.
Here are three of the most common:
1. Low visibility
Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than nearly every other form of transportation, and motorcyclists suffer a fatality rate that is 37 times higher than car drivers. Part of the reason for this is the low visibility of motorcyclists. Seen from straight on, a motorcycle is about a third the size of a passenger vehicle. Other drivers may not see your bike, and that can lead to dangerous crashes. There are ways to combat this risk, such as:
- Wearing high-visibility clothing
- Applying reflective tape
- Staying out of other drivers’ blind spots
- Creating a “visibility triangle” with spotlights on the front of the motorcycle together with the headlamp
Intersections can be hazardous to all drivers, but they are particularly risky for motorcyclists. Drivers often make left turns without paying attention, and in so doing they can pull out unexpectedly in front of you on your motorcycle. Distracted drivers are all too common, especially with digital devices today like smartphones and GPS systems. The remedy here is to be extra vigilant at an intersection and expect that vehicle drivers do not see you.
3. Drivers changing lanes
This hazard is another reason why visibility is so important. Drivers often do not pay attention when they change lanes, and if you are driving in a blind spot, the vehicle driver may sideswipe you. Although this hazard may be easier to manage when you are on a rural road, once you are on a high-speed freeway it can be deadly. Keep a safe distance when driving on multiple-lane roads and do not always expect drivers to signal their lane changes.