Motorcycle Safety Tips for New Riders

Motorcycles are very common in Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area. Unfortunately, so are Phoenix motorcycle accidents. Below are a few safety tips to help you stay safe on two wheels.  

Invest in antilock brakes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data shows that motorcycles with antilock brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it. They are a proven lifesaver, it’s that simple. ABS or antilock brakes are now available on a wide variety of models.

When a motorcycle doesn’t have antilock brakes, the driver loses steering control when the brakes are locked up in a panic. This can easily lead to a skid and crash, resulting in serious injury or death. ABS brakes can also be valuable in slippery conditions.  

Use your head. Helmets are a sensitive topic for some riders. Here are the facts. Motorcycle riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries than those who wear a helmet according to IIHS data. A full-faced helmet that’s approved by the Department of Transportation is the best choice. (Look for a DOT certification sticker on the helmet).  

It’s recommend to replace a helmet every five years or so because they do break down and deteriorate over time; the same as child car seats. When Arkansas and Texas repealed their required helmet laws, they saw a 21 and 31 percent respective increase in motorcycle deaths. 

Check the Bike. Walk around the bike before each ride to make sure the horn, directional signals and lights are working properly. Check the belt, chain as well as the brakes. Make sure the tires have proper tread and are inflated to the correct pressure. Worn-out brakes and improperly inflated tires pose a huge safety risk. The bike won’t want to lean and handles poorly when tires are under-inflated. 

Motorcycle riders should also avoid bad weather, wear the right gear and drive defensively. A recent government study shows that car drivers may be at fault 80% of the time when involved in a collision with a motorcycle. This could be due in part to the epidemic of smart phones and distracted driving behind the wheel. Stay alert and keep a safe distance from cars in case you need to make a sudden stop or make a quick reaction to avoid a collision.


Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Consumer Reports.