Tag Archives: Riding/safety tips

Advice on avoiding road rage

Riders seem to cop more road rage than other motorists.

This could be because we are seen as road menaces, making loud noises, zipping through the traffic (even though filtering is legal) and skipping to the front of the queue at the lights.

It could also be because we are seen as non-threatening because of our size. It’s easy to menace another road user if you are in a big pickup and they are on a scooter or motorcycle!

And if we react to road rage, we are likely to come off second best.

So, as riders, we have to learn to avoid it and/or live with it and not react which can escalate the situation.Road rage doesn’t pay

We have previously published tips on avoiding road rage from Queensland Police Senior Sergeant Ian Park who created the #ridesafely4me Facebook site.

“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.

Click here if you would like to read Ian’s tips to avoiding road rage.

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.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

SMIDSY theory: Bikes appear out of nowhere

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.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riders want drivers to use mirrors

Motorcyclists want drivers to look, use their mirrors, check blind spots and ‘get off the phone’, according to a Motorcycle Council of NSW survey of more than 500 riders.

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 and 29% using their motorcycle to commute.

Driving mistakes happen often with  37% 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?

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle trainer ‘gamifies’ rider training

Australian motorcycle trainere motoDNA has developed a computer software system that analyses rider behaviour and uses a computer game environment to reward riders and improve their skills.

Founder Mark McVeigh says the system is “100% data driven”.

Using a GoPro mounted on your motorbike, the motoDNA software analyses riding, grades the rider and compared them to thousands of other riders.

Their algorithms are used to teach riders how to improve their skills in a “gamified” rewards-based community platform.

Mark says its black-box thinking similar to that used in the aviation industry.

“Aviation industry crashes are taken very seriously and as a result have an astonishing safety record,” he says. 

“Every plane has a black box which is opened when there is an accident or close call. 

“The root cause is clearly understood and then recreated with quality training in a simulator, so pilots take the correct and intuitive reaction to the problem when it happens again in the future.

“This evidence-based analytical loop ensures that procedures are adapted so that the same mistake doesn’t happen again.” 

However, motoDNA doesn’t use crash data. It uses data collected by participants in their training courses.

Mark says high-quality training and rewards have worked in other countries.

In Norway, high-quality training has reduced the percentage of motorcycle riders involved in accidents from 5% in 1980 to 0.26% in 2020.

Mark also points to the success of the New Zealand Government’s Ride Forever program which rewards riders riders who undertake extra training with rego discounts. 

He says this rewards system has resulted in a 27% for reduction in crashes for those riders who have done a skills course.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Safr and CMT Join forces to Increase Road Safety Via DriveWell App

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. 

driver using hands-free system related to Drivewell, owned by CMT

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.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ride Prepared: The Things You Need In Your Motorcycle First Aid

Last updated:

“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

Carrying Size

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

RoadGuardians Kickstart First Aid Kit
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.

Basics

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.

Twisted Road Website

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.

Useful Extras

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.

Summary Checklist

Road Guardians Rebel First Aid Kit
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.

The Checklist:

Essentials

  • Two (2) pairs of Nitrile Gloves
  • Anti-microbial, >=60% alcohol hand sanitizer
  • Trauma shears
  • 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)
  • Regular bandaids
  • 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
  • The Small Pharmacy bag
    • Antihistamines
    • Antacids
    • Anti-diarrhea tabs
    • Painkillers
    • Electrolyte powder packs
  • Two (2) two-inch wide rolls of gauze
  • Glowsticks, preferably of multiple colors
  • Good tweezers

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riders Academy by motoDNA provides tools for survival 

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.

MotoDNA training
James suits up

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.

MotoDNA training
Mark instructs praticipants

 “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.”MotoDNA training

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.

Motorcycle paramedics

“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.MotoDNA training

“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.

So click here to book early to avoid disappointment.

Riders Academy by motoDNA has a range of street and track skills courses in Sydney and Brisbane.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

What You Should Know About Motorcycle Helmet Laws

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

Helmet Laws

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

Helmet laws

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.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Motorcycle Safety: Avoiding Motorcycle Collisions and Accidents

Motorcycling can never be done risk-free. With that said, you can decrease your chance of experiencing an accident or getting into a motorcycle collision if you make an effort to do so. While some things will always be beyond your control, you should always do everything within your power to stay safe. 

With that in mind, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the things you can do to stay safe while riding your motorcycle. These tips and techniques won’t ensure you’ll avoid a collision, but they should help. 

Check the Weather Before You Ride

bad weather

Weather can play a significant role in your safety when riding. If you’re out during heavy precipitation, then visibility for both you and other motorists decreases dramatically. This can greatly increase your likelihood of getting into an accident or collision. 

A simple check of the weather before you ride is all you need. If there’s a chance of rain, it doesn’t mean you can’t ride, but it might impact the gear you wear on that ride. 

If, however, you see some severe weather conditions coming up, then it would be in your best interest to stay home. 

Scan for Potential Hazards

Hazards are everywhere on the road. Even things that might not seem like hazards for any other motorist can spell disaster for motorcyclists. Here’s a look at some of the most common road hazards for motorcycle riders:

  • Railroad crossings
  • Loose gravel
  • Potholes
  • Oil slicks
  • Wet surfaces
  • Animals
  • Road debris

One type of road debris that has received a lot of attention lately is grass clippings. It might seem silly, but freshly cut grass clippings can wreak havoc on your motorcycle’s tires’ ability to get proper grip on the road. This can lead to you going down when you least expect it. 

Usually, grass clippings are just left by a careless homeowner or lawn-care service, but that doesn’t stop these grass clippings from being a serious hazard. This has led a lot of motorcyclists to ask, “Is it illegal to leave grass clippings on the road?” The answer depends on the laws in your particular area. I’ll let a member of Spaulding Injury Law describe how this pertains to the law in the video below:

In short, some places have laws that prohibit homeowners and law service personnel from depositing grass clippings on the road. Other places don’t. I urge you to check your local laws so you know for sure. 

Make Sure You’re Seen

Most motorcycle accidents aren’t the rider’s fault. Quite often, a driver of a car, SUV, or truck simply doesn’t see the motorcyclist. While this is their fault, there are also some things a motorcycle rider can do about it.

Focus on being seen. This can start with your gear and your bike itself. You want your bike to get noticed. Lights and reflectors are very good things. When it comes to gear, you need to have reflective material on your gear and preferably bright, easy-to-see colors. Neon colors work best. 

Also, when riding, think about your lane position. There is no one lane position that is right all of the time. You need to choose the correct lane position for the situation, and the correct lane position is the one where other motorists can easily see you.  

Ride Responsibly and Appropriately

Riding responsibly

This one is a bit obvious, but never, ever under any circumstance, ride while intoxicated or under the influence. It’s a recipe for disaster and could lead to your death or the death of others. 

Riding responsibly is not just about not riding under the influence. It’s also about riding within the speed limit, avoiding silly stunts, or generally acting like an idiot on the road.

Also, make sure to ride appropriately for a specific situation. If it’s raining or traffic is heavy, avoid any aggressive maneuvers. Take things slow and easy while you’re out there. Assess the roads and your surroundings, and then respond appropriately. 

Always Have an Escape Route

One thing you should always do no matter where you ride is to always have an escape route. This means you should be able to exit your lane or position at a moment’s notice. It’s your go-to if a car cuts you off or brakes unexpectedly. 

Plan your escape routes as you ride. Look for wide shoulders or a middle lane that you could pull into if needed. Also, keep an eye on gaps between cars and between other bikes. These can be how you can get to your escape routes when things are tight. 

Keep a Cushion

keep a cushion when riding a motorcycle

Having a cushion when riding is key. This applies not only to the car in front of you but the vehicles and obstacles on all sides of you. It’s best to have at least a two-second cushion in front of you (usually a little longer). 

When it comes to either side of your bike, just make sure you’re not pinned in by motorists on either side of you. Remember, you want to keep your escape routes open. Sometimes, this will mean speeding up. Other times this will mean you need to slow down.

By keeping your distance and always having a cushion between you and the cars and motorcycles around you, you’ll have time to react quickly to the unexpected. 

Keep Up on Your Riding Skills

I’d advise every single person on a motorcycle to take a motorcycle safety course. In these courses, professionals teach you the best tricks they’ve learned over thousands of miles traveled. 

While an initial safety course is important, it’s equally important to keep up on your riding skills. I’d urge you to take an intermediate or advanced rider’s course. These courses go beyond what instructors can teach you in a beginner class, and the tips and techniques you’ll learn will help you not only to be safe but become a better and smoother rider overall. 

Finally, nothing makes up for practice. The issue with a lot of riders is that they never practice their panic stops or tight cornering or obstacle avoidance. If you don’t practice your skills, you’ll never perfect them. 

Get Help If You Need It

motorcycle injury xray

If you do have a motorcycle collision or an accident of some kind when riding, then you may need legal representation. 

Spaulding Injury Law notes that it’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident. This is especially true if you or someone else was injured in the accident. 

Consultations with lawyers are often free, and that means you can find out if you need a lawyer without much of a hassle at all. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to motorcycle collisions and accidents.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Road Safety Campaigns Blame Riders

Motorcycle road safety campaigns erroneously blame riders for crashes and portray them as a menace on the roads, says a new road safety paper.

The comprehensive 31-page paper, written by Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia spokesman Stephen Bardsley is being circulated to Victorian Government and Road Safety Authorities.

It claims motorcycle road safety campaigns blame riders when the statistics prove otherwise.

Stephen says this causes drivers to treat riders as pariahs of the road and use their vulnerability to intimidate and endanger them.

“Motorcycle riders are often portrayed as dangerous road users,” Stephen says.

“The reality, though, is in most accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, the driver, not the rider, is to blame.”

His paper recommends more driver education, motorcycle awareness campaigns for the motoring public and learner drivers and removing SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You) claims as an accident excuse.

He is also calling for the “discriminatory” Victorian motorcycle safety level to be axed.

Blame

Stephen’s paper says an extensive 2016 study of 235 accidents in Victoria involving a motorcycle found 66% (158) also involved and another vehicle.

The primary contributing factor was driver error in 109 (69%) incidents and the most common cause (54%) was the driver not scanning for a rider.

According to Stephen’s paper similar results are reflected in motorcycle studies around the world, with UK riders not at fault 80% of the time, 66% in the USA and 70% in Europe.

Law of the jungle

Stephen refers to the lack of motorcycle awareness as the “law of the jungle”.

“The failure by other vehicles to give way to motorcycles illustrates the ‘law of the jungle’ type mentality on Victorian roads,” he says.

“This is where the biggest vehicles feel they rule and so fail to give way to smaller motorcycles, as should a collision occur, the rider will be eaten alive.”

He cites 20017 research conducted by the Automotive Insurance Company AAMI which found drivers believed motor scooters were the new road menace.

Zenith Bi-Car

Accident scanning

“The TAC is responsible for the majority of road safety campaigns in Victoria, some of which have been highly effective,” he says.

“However there are unforeseen consequences of campaigns which portray riders as being responsible for most accidents they are involved in.

“Such advertisements also influence those outside of the campaigns target market and create negative perceptions of motorcycle riders.

“Road safety campaigns … are part of the ‘blame game’ and contribute to the creation of negative stereotypes, perceptions and attitudes of riders.”

Rider awareness

Stephen commends a road safety program used in the USA that educates drivers to respect riders.

The program teaches motorcycle observation, including topics such as:

  • How motorcyclists slow down by changing gears which means brake lights may not be illuminated;
  • How to keep a safe distance;
  • Understanding how and why motorcycles change lanes;
  • Not to expect a motorcycle is always able to move out of the way;
  • To think about the person under the helmet; and
  • How in a motorcycle accident there are no take backs, so drivers are likely never to forgive themselves if a rider is seriously injured or killed.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com