As many cities in North America head out of winter and into the spring season, it’s an exciting time as motorcyclists gear up for the riding months ahead.
If you’re getting ready to de-winterize your motorcycle and take advantage of the warmer weather, there are a few springtime safety tips and steps that you should consider to make sure you have a fun and safe riding season!
Check Your Bike
Your bike has been in storage (on a trickle charger, hopefully!) for a while so you’ll want to go through your regular maintenance checklist and do the following:
Change the engine oil if you didn’t do so before winter storage. It’s best practice to do this before storing your bike away as the used oil from the riding season has collected a variety of contaminants. If you neglected to do this, definitely change it before you go for the first ride of the season.
Check your tires as they may have lost pressure over the winter months. Underinflated tires will kill your mileage and any damage or cracking in the compounds may lead to failure. Don’t take the bike on the road if you find any defects and get them replaced.
Your brakes are an integral part of safety, obviously. During winter, brake lines can take on air so be sure to check your brakes (and pads!) to see if they need to be rebled.
Do a light check to ensure that your turn signals, high beam, and brake indicators are in functioning condition.
Inspect other moving parts such as your chain, kickstand, and throttle shifter as these parts may have gotten a tad rusty over winter storage. Lubricate them as needed to keep your bike in tip-top shape.
Potholes can be more prevalent during spring as the cold weather will have wreaked havoc on the asphalt over the winter months.
City road maintenance over winter means that there is plenty of leftover gravel on the roads. This debris can pose a risk to riders at every turn so be sure to slow down and take a clear path where available.
Spring is also a time when roads are wetter due to melting snow or rain leading to slippery road conditions. Remember to dress for the ride.
Construction tends to ramp up in spring as crews are out on the road repairing damage from the winter months. Construction sites tend to have more debris in the area so slow down and stay safe.
Motorists drive year-round and will have to get used to sharing the road with motorcyclists again. It may have been a few months since they’ve seen a motorcycle and drivers may not be on the lookout for bikes on the road.
Therefore, it’s important to rider safety that we make our presence known either through hi-viz motorcycle gear and remain vigilant when riding, especially in the early days of spring.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, ride defensively and give yourself plenty of space when coming up on intersections and other vehicles. Some states allow lane splitting which is yet another consideration when you’re out and about.
With long winter months, it is common to cancel insurance to save on premiums.
One of the more common items that riders forget is to review and ensure that insurance documentation is up-to-date and current.
Listen, we get it. It’s warming up and you’ve been thinking about ripping down the roads on your CBR1000R, but it’s prudent on your part to make sure that you’re properly covered in the event of an accident, or at least if you get pulled over by law enforcement.
If you’ve replaced your bike over the winter or even made some modifications to it, it’s an opportune time to update your insurance.
Replace Old Gear As Needed
Motorcycle gear goes through the same wear and tear as the bikes do. When your equipment gets long in the tooth, spring can be the perfect time to pick up a new motorcycle helmet or jacket.
Gear manufacturers can announce new gear during the fall and winter months, or you might simply want to pick up a pair of waterproof pants in anticipation of the wetter riding season.
If through unfortunate circumstances you found yourself in a crash, don’t reuse the helmet. Read our guide to learn more about when and if you need to replace your motorcycle lid. If you’re not sure about what kind of helmet to purchase, a full face helmet is always a safe bet.
A motorcycle dash cam may be an unfamiliar concept to many motorcyclists, but it’s one that you should know about if you spend considerable time on one.
Dash cams are relatively recent, although they are not new. Riders have been able to buy a decent one online since at least 2010. Among the many benefits of dash cams, perhaps the most important one is the additional evidence and insurance it provides in a collision or dispute.
As the famous saying goes, “There are two types of riders; those who have crashed and those who will.” In the unfortunate scenario that you do end up in an accident, having dash cam footage of the incident will make it easier to claim insurance or settle a dispute in court. At the moment, there are multiple ways you can use a dash cam on your motorcycle, and this article aims to inform you about just that.
What Is a Dash Cam?
Dash cams get their name from the automotive world, where they are typically mounted on the dashboard of a car to continuously record what’s happening outside the vehicle. While most owners attach one just to the front of their vehicle, having one at the rear is a good idea.
A dash cam can come with various features depending on how much you spend on it. For instance, some will also record metrics like g-force, speed, and location.
How Can a Dash Cam Protect You and Your Bike?
We’re well aware of the fact that motorcycling can be a dangerous hobby. With the many thrills it returns, there’s an undeniable element of risk that accompanies it. A study in 2020 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that motorcyclists were nearly 28 times more likely to die and 4 times more likely to be injured in an accident than someone in a passenger vehicle.
Unfortunately, these accidents can be from no fault of your own. And without solid evidence, you could find yourself in a lengthy legal battle over whose fault it was, costing you time, money, and other resources. This is where a dash cam comes in.
Most modern-day dash cams are capable of continuously recording hours of footage. If the onboard memory does fill up, it will proceed to rewrite footage, ensuring that the latest activities are always captured. This way, in the event of an accident that may not be your fault, you can turn in the recorded footage as video evidence and legally protect yourself.
Recording footage of your ride may come in handy in less severe instances as well, such as avoiding a parking violation or a speeding ticket — given that you didn’t, in fact, break the rules.
What Are the Different Types of Dash Cams?
Generally speaking, there are two ways in which you can record footage of your rides. You can either mount the camera onto your helmet, so your footage is from your POV, or you can mount it somewhere on the motorcycle. Both these choices have advantages and disadvantages, so if you have to choose between them, it’ll come down to what you’re willing to compromise.
Helmet-Mounted Dash Cam
A helmet-mounted dash cam is the more popular choice among riders. One of the advantages of having a helmet-mounted setup is that you can record exactly what you’re looking at. So, if an incident occurs on your side, you can change the frame of recording by simply looking in that direction. This isn’t possible with a motorcycle-mounted dash cam that is usually set up to point in just one direction.
Helmet-mounted cameras, like GoPros, also benefit from being battery-powered and are easier to set up. You simply have to mount the camera onto the helmet and hit record.
The downside to using a helmet camera is that very few options are capable of recording both the front and rear. Plus, a camera like that will have to be mounted on top of your helmet, and this can cause wind resistance and be quite bothersome when you start picking up speed.
Remember that while there are no legal restrictions against mounting a camera to your helmet, it isn’t always the most advisable method. Adding a protruding object to your helmet may cause injury in an accident. In fact, certain countries outside the United States are cracking down on helmet cameras and making them illegal.
Motorcycle-Mounted Dash Cam
If you want to avoid the risk of injury, you should consider mounting your camera on the motorcycle. With a wide-angle unit at either end, you should be able to record as much as your surroundings at all times. Still, this will leave some blind spots, especially if something happens right next to you.
A motorcycle-mounted system will also require wiring that must be attached to the battery and tucked away under the seat. While this is usually a straightforward process, it isn’t as plug-and-play as a helmet-mounted camera. On the plus side, this continuous supply of power from the motorcycle means you won’t have to worry about changing batteries.
What Should You Consider While Buying a Dash Cam?
Video quality is one of the most important factors to consider when getting a dash cam. There are several low-cost options out there, but most of them record substandard videos. Think about it — there’s no point in the footage if it’s so grainy you can’t identify another vehicle’s license plate. Ultimately, you’ll have to spend a little money if you want a dash cam that does what it’s supposed to. But keep in mind that this is an investment worth making and could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the future.
If you decide to go down the helmet-mounted route, cameras like the insta360 ONE X2 feature two 180-degree lenses on opposing sides of the same body, recording everything that happens around you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a dedicated motorcycle camera, the INNOVV K3 is an excellent option explicitly designed for powersport applications. The unit has two cameras that can record a 120-degree field of view in full HD. It’s fully waterproof, features an external mic, and automatically starts and stops recording along with the motorcycle’s ignition. This way, you can focus on what matters most — riding.
“Unfortunately, it seems to involve individuals from all road user groups as both the victims and the perpetrators,” he says.
“Motorcyclists and bicyclists are of course the most vulnerable due to the lack of physical protection around them. But the fundamentals of personal safety of the roads are no different to anywhere else,” he says.
Now Aussie car rental company StressFreeCarRental.com have come up with a guide to tackling road rage before it occurs.
Their following tips are relevant to all motorists and riders can certainly learn something from them:
Stay in the right: It is never a good idea to copy what another driver has done on the road, if they have undertaken a bad or wrong move. In the heat of the moment, it may seem a good idea to try to replicate them or make a gesture towards them, but it is unproductive. Stay grounded and level-headed.
Emotional intelligence: Often people get behind the wheel when there has been an argument in their life, and they may feel very down or frustrated. Then they have to turn their attention to driving, with the potential to put themselves, their passengers and other road users in danger. Always take a few moments to prepare for your journey at these times.
Music: This can be a good diversion from the stresses of the day. By playing some classical music or your favourite track, it can impact your mood for the better and enable you to counter stressful situations more readily.
Dangers of eye contact: People who feel they have been wronged on the road may have the natural instinct to look at the driver in the other vehicle, but this is rarely a good idea. If a situation has the potential to escalate, making eye contact with the other driver is not a good idea.
Time: it is worthwhile allowing some ‘injury time’ in footballing terms for your journey, to ensure you are not racing against the clock to reach your chosen destination and meaning you won’t get as frustrated in a traffic hold-up.
Flexible thinking: No matter how good people are at driving for the majority of the time, mistakes happen. Don’t allow yourself to get swept away with anger if you see something has gone wrong on the road in front – stay focussed to know how to avoid danger and remain calm.
A new theory about what causes Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You (or SMIDSY) crashes is that bikes can appear out of nowhere like planes and ships.
Rider safety exert Kevin Williams of British rider training company Survival Skills calls the phenomenon the “constant bearing, decreasing range” issue.
I have reported for several years on various theories that can lead to SMIDSY crashes.
You can check out some of the scientific studies into SMIDSY by clicking here.
The causes can be anything from drivers not bothering to look, seeing us but not caring because of the diminished threat, not seeing us because of “saccadic masking” (see video below), and plain stupidity.
If you want to know how to avoid these crashes, click here.
One of the suggestions we make is to weave around in your lane to attract the attention of other motorists.
Kevin agrees that this is important because a static rider is a small target that is difficult to see and whose speed is difficult to judge.
He says it’s like an approaching plane or ship on a constant bearing.
“The problem is that lack of lateral movement to attract our attention, and there’s a very specific form of motion camouflage that happens when two moving vehicles are on a collision course,” he says.
He says the problem is known as the ‘Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range’ issue which is a term used in navigation and flying.
It means that some object, usually another ship viewed from the deck or bridge of one’s own ship or another aircraft viewed from the cockpit, is getting closer but staying at the same angle – or maintaining the same absolute bearing.
“If they both continue on the same course at the same speed, they WILL collide. And it CAN happen on the roads,” he says.
“Just ask yourself where; for example, when you’re approaching a roundabout and another vehicle is on an intersecting course and will arrive at the same time, or when approaching a cross-roads and another vehicle is approaching head-on.
“Since neither vehicle will appear to move relative to the background, it can be difficult for either driver/rider to perceive the other, even when in clear view.”
He says riders cannot rely on drivers predicting that there might be a bike they can’t see, so it is up to riders to attract the motorist’s attention by breaking the Constant Bearing problem.
“All we need to do is change position and speed and thus create some lateral movement,” he says.
“Hopefully the driver will now see us though a wise rider would still be prepared to take evasive action,” he says.
Riders should also identify anything that may block them from a motorist’s vision and move out from behind it so they can be seen;.
“That way we ‘uncloak’ our bike, and at least give the driver a chance of seeing us.”
It still doesn’t mean they won’t perceive a bike as a threat nor that they will misjudge our speed, so take care out there.
The survey was conducted last month in preparation for the current Motorcycle Awareness Month to gain an insight into how to get the message across to drivers to #lookoutformotorcycles.
It also found that half of NSW motorcyclists have experienced a near-miss in the past three months.
The survey was designed to capture motorcyclists experience of drivers’ behaviour that has affected their safety and what can be done to improve their safety on the road.
While there are numerous statistics and studies completed about motorcycle crashes, there is little information about the number and effect of near misses which can easily turn into a crash.
The survey used three key areas to question motorcyclists:
About their personal riding experience
Details about their last two near misses
How drivers’ behaviour could be improved to reduce near misses.
Respondents riding experience
Most (77%) respondents had over 10 years’ experience riding, with many riding for weekend recreation (86%), 63% enjoying regional NSW riding and29% using their motorcycle to commute.
Driving mistakes happen often with37% of riders correcting their riding or riding defensively to protect themselves from drivers’ mistakes every time they ride, while 36% correct their riding one in five rides.
This shows we need to continue to get the message out to drivers to be extra diligent around motorcycles.
Details about their last two near misses
93% of respondents have had a near miss, and 58% of them were shaken by the experience.
An overwhelming 52% had a near miss in the past three months.
The majority occurred in metropolitan areas and 22% occurred on rural roads.
When did near misses occur?
Most (62%) of the near misses happened during the weekday.With 55% occurred between the hours of 10-3pm, with 24% between 3pm to 7pm and 18% between the morning peak hour times.
Where did near misses occur?
A third occur on suburban roads, 19% at intersection without traffic lights, 20% on main roads/highways and 16% on rural roads.
Where there other factors contributing to near misses?
Excessive speed doesn’t seem to be the problem in motorcycle near misses with 46% riding less than 50km/h and 36% between 50-80km/h.
The majority of near misses were with cars (48%) and 40% SUV vehicles.
According to the rider, 88% of the drivers in a near miss were disobeying the road rules.
Their experience of the near miss could have been avoided had the driver followed the road rules (51%), 49% said for the driver to look in their mirrors, 23% said to slow down, and finally, 14% to not use their mobiles while driving.
How can drivers’ behaviour be improved to reduce motorcycle near misses?
The survey asked motorcyclists what the driver can do to avoid future near misses with the motorcycle.
There was a strong recurring message coming from all riders.Mentions of ‘look’ (143), ‘mirror’ (92), ‘phone’ (47), and ‘blind spots’ (36) in the comments of riders on how drivers can change their driving behaviour to make it safer for motorcycles.
Key survey outcomes
Motorcycle near misses with drivers occur too often and aren’t always a result of traffic and road conditions.
Near misses are happening primarily with cars, on suburban roads, outside of peak hour on weekdays.Mostly, speed isn’t an issue, however the driver was at fault.
Rider experience is key for motorcyclists to avoid near misses.
Drivers need to always be diligent and look out for motorcycles.
Mark from Orange suggests drivers: “Don’t even look at your phone. Stay on your own side of the road especially on blind corners and crests. Look twice.”
“Use your mirrors. Don’t use mobile phones and don’t think just because your vehicle is bigger you have the right of way!” says Trudy from Cessnock.
Windsor motorcyclist Cameron says: “Check your mirrors, turn your head, make sure there is no one beside you when changing lanes. Give more room when following and stop tailgating please”
What would be your message to drivers to keep motorcyclists safe on our roads?
According to a report from BusinessWire, Two companies in Massachusetts have announced a joint venture to improve safety on the Road via the smartphone platform, DriveWell.
Owned by Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) and already in use in 28 countries by 6.5 million users, the DriveWell app uses smart sensors to track the riding patterns of app users, give riders updates regarding their driving behavior, and even go so far as to score drivers and rate their driving against other app users in the area.
Safr can benefit from this perk, being a mission-driven ridesharing company originally built to cater to the transportation needs of women who have experienced fear or danger at the hands of other ridesharing companies.
Now, with CMT’s DriveWell program fully integrated, Safr will provide an additional level of security to their customers while also providing accurate driving data and giving drivers incentive to become more aware, making the road a safer place for everyone.
Sal Khokhar, Safr’s Chief Marketing Officer, says, “We’re excited to partner with CMT, the market leader in smartphone telematics, as their consistent efforts to improve road safety mirror our own…We want riders to feel safe in every aspect of their ride, and we want drivers to feel supported and valued while they’re driving for Safr.”
With DriveWell collecting data on the driving habits of users worldwide, the statistics prove that the app works – with almost a third of the platform’s users reducing their phone distraction by 39%, their hard braking by 51%, and speeding by 30% after just 30 days.
The numbers don’t lie, and with the moto-industry evolving faster every day, I’m more than happy to support an app that keeps road users safe and vigilant.
For more articles on road safety, as well as additional tips on how to stay aware on the road head over to WebBikeWorld.
“No matter what bike you buy, you’ll drop it at least once.” We’ve all heard the saying, and being honest (come on guys and girls!), we’ve all done it at least once. Parking lot practice, coming to a stop at a red light, getting a sudden gust of wind when you’re setting off, the bike and you have gone down at least once. Often, these drops are the source of some good-natured laughs, a little bit of embarrassment, and a lesson in humility learned.
Yet, not all drops happen at low or no speed. What happens when you come across, or witness, a drop when going 100 KPH? What if you are doing a long-distance tour and come across someone that has cut their hand trying to fix the battery lead under the hood of their car? Having first aid knowledge is definitely a plus, but having a ready-to-go first aid kit is the best kind of preparation for these scenarios.
First Aid Kit Limitations
In a car, you can realistically carry a full aid kit, with everything and anything you could possibly need in an emergency or aid situation. On a motorcycle, unless you have a dedicated top box or pannier for a kit, there is a significant size limitation. Often, a motorcycle first aid kit is the kind you can fit into a pocket of your jacket, in your backpack, as a pack around your waist, or sometimes strapped down over your pillion seat.
It also means that you have to be prepared for the most common types of injuries that may require first aid. You cannot realistically carry a spinal board on a motorcycle, and while spinal concerns may be common in accidents, it’s often more important to stop bleeding and help the patient through shock setting in.
Injuries You Expect To Encounter
The most common types of injuries experienced by motorcyclists are not major traumatic injuries like broken bones and major cuts. In fact, the most common type of injury is either a burn, via sunburn, accidental contact with the exhaust pipe, et al, or an eye injury, from riding with the visor cracked open or fully open with sunglasses that are not road protection rated.
You can also expect scrapes and cuts from quite literally hitting the road, although the severity is often dictated by the road surface and the speed of travel. In the worst cases, you can expect to encounter fractures, breaks, and lacerations.
With this in mind, let us examine what really should be in your motorcycle first aid and/or trauma kit.
First Aid Kit Contents
Image courtesy of Road Guardians. The Basic Kickstart Kit, including almost all of the items listed below in a small pack you can wear around your waist
Firstly, we at MotorBike Writer must give our heartfelt thanks to Road Guardians First Aid Training For Motorcyclists for their invaluable assistance in helping build out this list. We highly recommend checking to see if a similar first aid for motorcyclists course is available in your area.
The first thing in any first aid kit, no matter the size, is at least two pairs of nitrile gloves. Protecting yourself from bloodborne diseases, as well as having a somewhat sterile field of treatment, is priority one. If you cannot safely perform first aid, it may be an extremely tough call, but you have to look after yourself first.
On the subject of sterility, having a small squeeze bottle of hand sanitizer that carries an anti-microbial rating is key. Make sure it is at least 60% alcohol, and if possible, be waterless so it cleans quickly and doesn’t stick around on the hands.
The third most vital thing in your first aid kit is a set of trauma shears. You can find these at most medical supply stores, where they may also be labeled as paramedic shears. You want ones that are at least inches long. They are designed with a flat bottom to be slipped under clothing, leathers, and the like, to cut away said clothing or leathers to allow access to potential injury and trauma.
A first aid field guide, a small first aid book, or even a cheat sheet that is laminated to protect against the weather is always helpful. In the heat of the moment, while you may be remaining calm externally, your mind might be racing, and having a quick lookup can ensure that you apply first aid correctly.
Having a syringe of sterile saline is recommended, but not fully necessary, to wash out (irrigate) any deeper cuts or surface abrasions, getting rid of the dirt, and cleaning the wound for treatment
Heavy-duty ziploc or even freezer bags are extremely useful for putting biohazardous material such as used gauze, used gloves, et al in to keep them separate from sterile areas or as part of the post-aid cleanup.
A collapsible rescue breathing mask is important in today’s world, especially with the pandemic. These masks will cover the mouth and nose, and often will have a one-way flutter valve in them to allow your breath to pass through, but not allow any return breath to prevent contamination.
Cuts & Abrasions
Since abrasions and cuts may be encountered anywhere, the first thing to really take care of is having a variety of bandages. Along with an antibiotic ointment either in a small tube or single-dose tear packs, everything from some regular bandaids, at least four butterfly bandages/steri-strips/adhesive sutures, and four large 4×4 packaged, sterile gauze pads are the priority.
It is also recommended that you carry a few folded paper towels in a ziplock bag, as these can be used to wipe away blood or other fluids to get to the site of the bleeding. Once the cut or site of bleeding is identified, then using the gauze pads to put pressure on the cut is advised.
If there is room in your kit, a tourniquet is recommended as well, one made of a strong strap with some kind of handle to turn the tourniquet tight. This is to be used for the most serious of blood injuries such as an open amputation, and it’s always better to have one and never need it, than to need it and not have it. It’s better to prevent someone bleeding out and they lose a limb than for them to die. Harsh truth, but the truth nonetheless.
Burns & Insect Bites
Believe us, you’ve never pulled over and parked by the side of the road as fast as when a wasp gets in your helmet. Even then, you’re probably going to get stung a few times, so here are some items you should carry.
Most importantly, if there is room in your kit, an EpiPen is highly recommended, and it should be changed out when it is close to expiring. Many people who have major allergies or anaphylactic reactions will have an EpiPen on their person, but if you identify such a reaction, having an easily accessible EpiPen, instead of searching that person for theirs, can quite literally mean life and death.
Due to how commonly people get a sunburn, an accidental heat burn from touching a hot part of their bike, or even an insect sting, some burn gel and/or sting relief gel in your kit is one of those things you will use more often than not. A small tip, aloe vera-based gels, or those fortified with aloe vera extract, work extremely well here.
As well, having some instant cold packs designed for first aid kits will be immensely useful. These are the little folded packages that you squeeze one side to break open a vial inside, and due to the chemical reaction taking place, it gets very cold, very quickly. One of these applied to a minor burn or major sting will bring quick relief, as well as reducing the stress the patient is experiencing.
Breaks, Fractures, and Sprains
It is human nature to extend the hands in front of us when falling or flying through the air, so that the “least important” part of us, the arms, take the brunt of an impact, protecting the head and torso, the so-called “life box.” As part of this natural instinct, arm, wrist, and hand fractures are quite common non-life-threatening injuries, as are collarbone breaks.
In terms of first aid, having a few triangle bandages can be extremely helpful. These bandages can be used as slings, can be wadded up to be padding, can be rolled quickly to form bindings for splints, can be used to tighten gauze, can be used as tourniquets in extreme situations, and are generally just damned useful. While air splints are a bit too large to carry in a motorcycle first aid kit, if the patient’s motorcycle has suffered severe damage, a triangle bandage wadded up inside a front fairing, with two more bandages tying an arm down to that fairing means you have a makeshift split. Triangle bandages are literally the Swiss Army Knife of a first aid kit.
As breaks and fractures are the most common type of injury that can send someone into shock, having an emergency blanket or two in your kit is vital. These can be used as makeshift rain covers, are designed to reflect body heat back into a body with the shiny side, and can also be used as a treatment blanket if you need to sit someone down on the ground and prevent them losing body heat to cold or damp grass/mud/etc.
It is highly recommended to carry a ziploc bag that is nicknamed “the small pharmacy.” In this bag, clearly identified, should be anti-diarrhea tablets, antihistamines, antacids, regular or extra-strength over-the-counter painkillers, and a few packs of water-soluble electrolytes you can mix in with water or take straight from the package. Not all first aid is direct and dealing with broken bones and cuts. On a long, multi-day motorcycle ride, diarrhea can dehydrate you very quickly, and having electrolytes to replace the ones lost is vital.
If you can squeeze it into your kit, having a couple of 2 inch wide rolls of gauze is another one of those “you never know” types of items. They can be used to wrap burns, hold gauze pads in place, help tie splints, and generally just be useful.
A few glowsticks are extremely useful, especially in multiple colors. These can be used for everything from emergency light to work by at night, to signaling traffic away from an accident scene. If you have multiple colors, having green, yellow, and red as those colors can help with triage, with green as OK, yellow as a concern, and red as emergency aid needed.
Especially in Australia, having a good pair or two of tweezers in your kit is important. Stings, bites, and nasty plants abound, so being able to pull plant spikes, spider mandibles, stingers, or even the odd splinter from your skin quickly is important.
Image provided by Road Guardians. The Rebel Kit, which has everything you could possibly need in a first aid kit that will fit in a backpack or pannier/top box on your bike
While this may sound like a hell of a lot of stuff to fit into a small bag, you will be surprised at how many items can be folded flat, naturally lay flat, or can fit around each other in such a kit. In fact, all of these items will slide into a kit small enough to be slid down the outside of a camelback, or tucked into the front pocket of an adventure riding jacket.
Two (2) pairs of Nitrile Gloves
Anti-microbial, >=60% alcohol hand sanitizer
First aid guide book/field guide/cheat sheet
Syringe of sterile saline for irrigation (if possible)
Collapsible rescue breathing mask (with one way valve if available)
Four (4) butterfly bandages (can substitute adhesive sutures or steri-strips)
Four (4) sealed, sterile gauze pads, at least 4 inches square
Paper towels folded flat in a ziploc bag (for wiping/fluid cleanup)
Burn and/or sting relief gel (Aloe vera based or infused highly recommended)
Instant cold packs (we recommend at least two or more, as space allows)
Three (3) or more triangle bandages. The most useful multitool in your kit
Two (2) emergency blankets if possible, one (1) if not
Really Nice To Have
In-date and sealed EpiPen
Tourniquet with handle and strong strap (if possible)
Heavy-duty ziploc/freezer bags for biohazardous waste and post-aid cleanup
Most motorcycle road craft courses are only as good as the training on the day, but Riders Academy by motoDNA also provides riders with the tools to improve long after their street skills day-course has finished.
I recently sent our casual reviewer James Wawne for a day course in road craft at Riders Academy held at Brisbane’s historic Lakeside Driver Training Centre.
It’s a $350 full-day course on the tight asphalt course with alternating classroom sessions followed by practical skills tests on the course.
James says the day was well run, “with an emphasis on safety balanced well with providing enough breathing room and practice iterations to push boundaries and provide real learning & tangible skill development in a safe environment”.
“The guys talked about sports psychology and their interpretation of being in a state of flow and increasing boundaries in safe increments which was useful.” he says.
Riders Academy was started by Mark “Irish” McVeigh who has been a Racer, MotoGP Engineer and a V8 Supercars Engineer.
“I’ve seen a lot of my Irish racing friends die,” he laments, giving seem credence to the adage “ride like everyone is trying to kill you.
Furthermore, Mark bases all his training courses on science and statistics, not gut feel or conspiracy theories.
So when Mark speaks, the 25 riders at the street skills course listen intently, nod in agreement and soak it in.
“The classroom sessions were instructive,” James says.
“Irish struck a nice balance between covering important elements of theory but relating it to its application and the bringing the various elements together in the real world.
“The on-track coach also pitched in with useful, practical pointers, which he then emphasised during the on-track practice sessions.”
Mark pointed out early on that 50% of all motorcycle accidents are single vehicle and that riders underestimate available grip.
I’ve heard all this before, but there is a difference in how Riders Academy courses are taught.
It’s called “flow”.
Mark learnt the theories of “flow” when he was working with the Triple 8 Red Bull V8 Supercars team in Brisbane.
Basically, it’s a learning program where you take small steps at a time, pushing yourself about 5% beyond your limits. It’s also evidence driven with science and data.
The street skills course not only takes this approach during the duration of the day, but also arms the participants with the skills to continue to stretch their goals and improve as riders long afterwards.
“The course reviewed a number of useful fundamentals and then went further than you would during the process of getting your licence,” James says.
“It underscored the importance of using reference points and using them to optimise line in terms of entry, hitting the apex and exiting corners.
“A few items that we practised of particular use which I will continue to practice included emergency braking, steering with your eyes and using peripheral vision.
“I also plan on experimenting with my position on the bike; gripping the tank with my knees while keeping core engaged and arms relaxed while shifting my weight on the bike to increase turning efficiency.”
Riders Academy by motoDNA’s street skills course teaches cornering lines, emergency braking, hazard avoidance, slow speed control, scanning for hazards and body position.
Here’s a video showing the street skills course in action at Lakeside.
While the emphasis is on safety, it’s also fun and the skills learnt can be taken to their trackSKILLS days.
Mark says their training business ground to a halt under the pandemic, but since coming back in June, they have been busier than ever.
Riding a motorcycle is an activity that comes with a fair amount of risk. That risk is rewarded by the unparalleled experience of tossing a leg over a bike and going for a ride, but it’s there nonetheless.
In many areas of the world, local governments have decided it’s in the rider’s (and the community’s) best interests to enact helmet laws and enforce them. With helmets being such an important part of motorcycling in general, I thought I’d take a closer look at motorcycle helmet laws and identify some things that every rider should know.
You Should Always Wear A Helmet Regardless Of The Law
The first thing I want to touch on is the fact that you should always wear a helmet no matter what the law says. Personally, I’m a bit of an ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) fan, but if you’re not, at the very least, you should put on a helmet each and every time you get on a motorcycle.
You’ll hear people ask, “Are motorcycle helmet laws effective?” The simple fact of the matter is that motorcycle helmets save lives. The number of studies that show the effectiveness of helmets on reducing injury and death are too numerous to list here.
With that said, I will point you towards this handy list of studies compiled by the Skilled Motorcyclist Association organization, which shows how effective helmets really are.
According to the association, motorcycle helmets actually reduce the risk of death by 42 percent and head injury by 69 percent. With all of the data available to motorcyclists, the real question is why the heck would you even ride without a helmet?
Not All Helmets Will Satisfy The Law
Now that I’ve reiterated how important motorcycle helmets are to rider safety, I want to talk about the fact that not all helmets are created equal, and not all helmets are treated equally in the eyes of the law.
When you ride in the United States, for example, only helmets that have Department of Transportation (DOT) approval will satisfy the law in the states that have motorcycle helmet laws on the books. It’s worth noting that not all states have helmet laws on the books either. This means that you won’t be required by law to wear one, but I still strongly recommend that you do.
Alternatively, DOT-approved helmets are not legal in places like the UK and Australia, which call for Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)-approved motorcycle helmets.
ECE and DOT are different standards. They’re the two that matter the most in terms of helmet laws, though there are other helmet standards like Snell and Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) that take helmet safety even further than ECE and DOT do.
The best advice I can give here is to get a helmet that will satisfy your local laws. Look them up wherever you live. If you can’t find them, then contact the authorities to find out what type of helmet will satisfy the laws in your area. It should be an easy thing to do and will help keep you legal and safe on the road.
A Helmet Can’t Guarantee You Won’t Get Hurt In A Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle helmet will greatly reduce the risk of death or injury due to you hitting your head in a motorcycle accident. However, it cannot guarantee that you won’t sustain a head injury. As I discussed at the beginning of this article, motorcycling comes with risks involved. Even if you wear all of the protective gear you can, there’s still a risk.
A lot can go into determining whether or not you will sustain an injury or be killed in an accident. The number of variables is endless. There’s your position on the road, your speed, the terrain and landscape around, the road surface, the other motorists on the road, and so, so much more. No helmet can protect you from every scenario.
With that said, I would say that buying a high-quality motorcycle helmet from a reputable company that is modern and up-to-date in terms of construction and features will help give you the best chance at surviving a motorcycle accident unscathed.
If you need to find yourself a good motorcycle helmet. Our sister site Web Bike World has some of the most comprehensive helmet information available anywhere in the world. The reviews you’ll find there are in-depth and thorough, and you should be able to find a helmet that satisfies your needs.
If You Do Get Hurt While Riding, Seek Advice From A Professional
One of the most common questions I get from riders is: what do you do if you’re injured as a result of a motorcycle accident? The first thing I’d say is to reach out to a motorcycle collision lawyer.
The next question I get is: what can the lawyer really do for me? That question is a lot harder to answer because just about every motorcycle accident is different. However, in many cases, having a lawyer on your side can help.
I’ll let Heidi Wickstrom of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. explain from the point of view of a lawyer in the video below:
This is especially true with a head injury. You’ll have medical bills to pay, likely have a busted-up motorcycle to deal with, and who knows what else. You could even have repercussions for the rest of your life. Having someone there like a medical malpractice lawyer to help you understand everything and ensure you get the correct compensation can really make a difference.