Riding a motorcycle is cool, but it’s also a lot riskier than driving a car. A motorcycle crash is almost 30 times more likely to be fatal than a car crash. So, it’s important to know how to be safe while looking cool.
1. Get in Gear
The Terminator wore a leather jacket because it looked cool; but in reality, Arnold’s reinforced leather jacket, pants, and boots are way safer than your shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. Imagine what the pavement will do to you if you’re not a cybernetic organism consisting of living tissue over a robotic endoskeleton.
If you have an open-faced helmet don’t even think about leaving the house without good glasses or goggles. Also, don’t forget your gloves.
Speaking of helmets. Wear one. Period. It doesn’t matter what the law is here in Florida. Ask yourself this: If you’re about to hit the pavement, what is the first thing you would like to make contact with the road? Polycarbonate plastic, fiberglass, Kevlar, OR your skin and skull? It’s that easy. End of story.
2. Get the right bike
If you’re 5’ 6” and weigh 135 pounds soaking wet, don’t buy some giant overpowered hog. Street bikes can weigh anywhere from about 500 lbs. to over 1000 lbs. Get a bike that fits you. Your feet should rest firmly and flat on the ground. You should be able to lift the bike off the ground. If it feels too heavy, it’s too much bike for you. The handlebars should be an easy reach. The controls should be easy to manage. There’s no shame in getting a smaller bike that’s more manageable. The experience will still be pretty much the same, but much safer for you.
3. Kick the tires
Actually you have to do a lot more than just kick the tires. You should check your bike thoroughly before riding. Unlike your car, a loose nut or bolt could cost you your life. Check the tire pressure, with a gauge not by kicking them. Check for leaks. Look for signs of wear and tear. Are you a stickler about maintenance? Good! If not, now’s your chance to check the oil, check the chain or belt, and check the suspension. Really examine the brake wear. Lastly, check the gas before you set out on any trip.
4. Put your head on a swivel
Imagine you’re invisible to the other motorists because many times you are. Drivers are more distracted than ever. Be aware of your riding space. The driver next to you may not realize you’re there until it’s too late. Use your mirrors, but also be extra cautious and turn your head and look before changing lanes. While rounding corners keep your head and eyes up and looking down the road. Defensive riding is key when you’re on a motorcycle.
5. Learn to read the road
With only two wheels it’s imperative that you are aware of changing road conditions. Even the best roads have dangerous obstacles. The brand new blacktop can have newly painted lines that can be slippery. Any curve has the potential for disaster. Potholes, loose gravel, and moisture can be hiding just around the corner waiting to take your bike out from under you.
6. Clear your head
Never ride angry. If your mind isn’t focused on the road and your surroundings, you’re just asking for trouble. If you’re emotional, intoxicated, impaired, tired, drowsy or distracted in any way your chances of being involved in an accident go way up. Make a small mistake and you could pay a big price.
7. Have a nice day
Florida weather can change in an instant. It will be sunny one moment and a torrential downpour the next. With no windshield or roof over your head, driving rain will ruin your visibility. Also, hitting raindrops at 50 mph hurts and feels like razor blades against any bare skin. Therefore, make sure you check the weather before you head out on the open road. Have a plan for pulling over and a place to stop while you wait out the storm.
8. Backseat riders
Sharing your ride with your significant other, or hope to be significant other, is a really attractive aspect of owning a bike. But you have to follow some basic rules. First of all, is your bike even designed for two riding on it? Some sportbikes aren’t really designed for two riders. Riding solo requires skill; however, riding with a passenger doubles the ante and requires that much more skill. Give your passenger a thorough briefing before riding. Take them to a parking lot or some other safe place to practice getting on and off the bike, making turns, and getting a feel for the power, acceleration, and weight distribution.
Lastly, make sure they have on all the appropriate gear as well. Giving that person your helmet does not make you chivalrous, it makes you a potential organ donor. Ride smart.
Stay alert. But if you get hurt, Talk To Frank.
Attorney Frank Marsalisi believes that every client deserves his full attention. Your case will never be managed by a paralegal or case manager. Frank not only fights for your rights, he handles your insurance and hospital issues so you can concentrate on your medical recovery.
If you can’t come to Frank, he’ll come to you. Frank will listen to your story. He’ll consider all the facts and assess your case. He’ll give you his best advice, without charging you a penny. If you have a case, Frank will take it on. And you still won’t owe anything until you win a settlement.
Frank will stand up for you against powerful, wealthy companies and people. And if your case goes to trial, Frank will represent you personally. Frank has always been on your side. He’s a St. Pete native who has always worked for the plaintiff.
Personal attention to personal injury.