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Motorcycling safety: How to stay safe when riding your motorbike

Thoughts of revving up a bike’s engine and opening up the throttle and heading out on the open road is what many motorcyclists crave.

For some, there is no better feeling than the sound of the engine, the wind in your face and nothing but you and an endless run of asphalt.

Whilst some may brave the weather, there is one issue that a motorcyclist cannot ignore and that is safety.

Whilst motorcycle accident rates in the UK are some of the highest in Europe, there are certain precautions that can be taken to ensure a fun but safe ride.

Checking your motorbike

Road safety doesn’t start when you hit the road, it starts before you even put the key in the ignition.

Before you set off, especially on longer journeys, you should always give your motorbike the once over. In particular, make sure your tyre pressure is within the recommended limits. Limits can vary depending on a bike’s make and model. If you’re unsure of what your tyre pressure should be, consult the bike’s manual or seek advice from a mechanic.

You should also test your brakes, and ensure other basics are covered such as topping up your oil, fuel and water and checking that all of the bike’s lights are in full working order.

Carrying out these basic checks puts you in a safer position before you even set out on your motorbike.

Wear the right clothing

What you wear on your bike could be the difference between a minor motorcycle injury or a catastrophic one.

Motorbike helmet

Top of the list is a good quality motorcycle helmet. Should the worst happen and you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, the helmet will play a vital role in protecting your head and could potentially help you avoid a catastrophic brain injury.

When selecting a motorcycle helmet you should always try to use the SHARP rating system to evaluate any potential purchase.

The SHARP rating system provides a means of establishing how much protection any given helmet offers in the event of a crash.

When selecting your helmet you should also bear in mind that you’ll need to protect your eyes.

A helmet with a visor or goggles is the best way to protect your eyes from the wind, bugs and other road debris.

Gloves

Another must-have item of clothing for any motorcyclist is a good pair of gloves.

It’s a fact that they can help you keep your hands warm during a ride, but they can provide much more protection than defending against wind-chill.

A good pair of riding gloves can protect your hands from serious abrasions or burns from the asphalt should you fall off your motorbike and skid across a road.

Some gloves include metal plating, which can also help ensure the bones in your hand are afforded a level of protection in the event of an accident.

Stay away from shorts and sandals

We’ve all seen movie stars speeding off into the sunset on their motorcycles wearing nothing but a t-shirt, jeans and a pair of Ray Ban’s but while it may look good, it’s not a wise move if you want to stay safe.

While you may be tempted to wear sandals, shorts and a t-shirt on a sunny day, it’s a really bad idea if you’re going to be heading out on your motorbike.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident then these types of clothes offer little to no protection against asphalt burns or heavy impacts.

Make sure you own a good jacket and a pair of motorcycle trousers that are fit for purpose.

Leathers are the most common type of protection used. Make sure that your jacket and trousers are comfortable, and feature integrated body armour.

This will enhance the protection around key areas of the body including the elbows, back, hips, shoulders and knees.

As an extra precaution, ensure the clothing has double stitching – this will help it maintain its structural integrity should you be involved in a crash.

Motorcycle clothing should also feature ‘safe zips’. These zips never rest directly on the skin, they are protected by an overlapping piece of leather. This stops the zips creating heat and friction against the skin which can cause serious damage in the event of an accident.

If leather isn’t your cup of tea, you can opt for similar clothing that is made from other materials. One such material that is often used is Cordura.

Stay visible

In many motorcycle accident cases, defendants often claim that they didn’t see the motorcyclist.

To avoid this scenario try to wear brightly coloured motorcycle gear. If you have already invested in expensive protective gear, don’t worry, bright neon reflective and adhesive strips can be purchased and stuck onto your clothing, helmet and even your motorbike itself.

By making yourself as visible as possible you make it easier for other road users to spot you, and ultimately you make your ride safer for yourself.

Ride defensively

Riding defensively doesn’t mean you have to ride slow, it means that you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and match your riding style to what is happening around you.

Always scan the road ahead of you. At high speed, a small obstacle can send your motorbike skidding. Stay safe and try to anticipate any issues that may lie ahead. Potholes, oil spills and debris on the road may not be an issue for those in 4 wheel vehicles, but they can prove catastrophic for motorcyclists.

You should also take special precautions at junctions. On average there are 30 motorcyclists injured at junctions in the UK every day.

Stay focused and don’t let an incident at a junction catch you out, take note of oncoming traffic and remember that not all road users use their indicators as they should.

What to do should the worst happen?

Hopefully, these tips will help you stay safe next time you head out on your motorbike, and ensure you have many more enjoyable rides in the future.

However, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a motorcycle accident and you believe it wasn’t your fault, we can help.

Our personal injury specialists understand that riding a motorcycle can be risky business, but this result in you failing to get the compensation you deserve if you are injured.

Over many years, our team of motorcycle accident solicitors have encountered a wide variety of motorcycle accident claims, allowing them to gain unrivalled experience and offer you the service and advice you need when you need it most.

Our team is dedicated to understanding the needs of those who have sustained an injury as a result of a motorcycle accident from both a legal and physical perspective and progress the compensation claim on this basis.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and would like to discuss a potential claim, please call us today for free on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form.