Safer Motorcycling Means More Fun

Motorcycling is exhilarating! 

It can also save you money, get you to where you're going quicker than a car and improve your social life -- by meeting lots of other biking enthusiasts and joining clubs!

But it's also dangerous. For instance, while 10 in every 100,000 automobiles end up in fatal crashes, the figure is more than 72 in every 100,000 for motorcycles. *

Motorcycle riders in Canada -- of whom there are more than 670,000 -- are at least 15 times more likely to be involved in a crash than car drivers. **

What everyone wants is to increase the fun and practicality side of biking, while cutting the risks of being involved in an accident.

And that's not as unrealistic as it sounds. Part of the challenge is to make car drivers more aware of motorcyclists, but there's also a lot that riders themselves can do to make motorcycling a safer pursuit.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada's top 10 tips for a safe motorcycle ride are:

  • Drive what you can control. Often, people buy motorcycles that are too powerful for them to handle. Ask your dealer if you can test drive the bike before you buy it.
  • Take a safety course. Be aware of your limits on a motorcycle. What would happen if you had to quickly avoid an incident?
  • Ride according to weather and road conditions. Check the forecast and keep your eyes on the road ahead.
  • Wear a DOT approved helmet. Choose the helmet best suited for how you ride, and replace your helmet every five years.
  • Wear clothing that will protect you in a fall. Heavy denim or leather jackets and pants aren't just stylish; they help prevent nasty cuts and burns if you fall.
  • Stay focused on the road. The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a collision than people in a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

  • Always be seen. Assume car drivers can't see you, so leave them plenty of room. Also, wear clothing or reflective materials that allow you to be seen.
  • Ride in the proper position in the lane. Know where you should be positioned in the lane and never drive along the middle of the lane where there is oil buildup from cars.
  • Practice riding with others. When riding as a group form a staggered pattern and establish hand signals that all of the riders understand.
  • Stop frequently. Being rested will help you focus on the roads.

To these, we'd add:

  • Make sure that you signal accurately and in a timely manner when you plan to turn or switch lanes. And remember to switch your turn indicator off when you're done.
  • Scan ahead to spot potential hazards that might require evasive action.
  • Don't take a passenger unless you're an experienced rider and know the potential and limitations of your bike. And before setting off, take the time to tell your passenger what's expected of them -- what to do and what not to do, such as keeping their feet on the foot pegs at all times.
  • Don't drive too close to other vehicles whether automobiles or motorcycles. Allow time and space to react to unforeseen hazards.

  • Stay alert. Don't just stare out at the road ahead but look all around you and use your mirrors actively.
  • Be extra-cautious when riding by an off-ramp. Car drivers are notorious for suddenly swerving onto the ramp

Many motorcyclists are what you might call "fair weather riders" -- they only take out their bikes when the weather is good.

But this can mean that some bikes are laid up for months during the winter. So it's vitally important that, before taking the road after a long lay-up, you should do a complete check or, unless you're a mechanical expert, take it to a dealer for a once-over and tune-up.

And while you're being safety-minded, never take to the road without adequate motorcycle insurance.

Because the risks of an accident are higher and because motorcyclists are more vulnerable than many other road users, it's crucial to have the right protection in place.

You could be the safest driver in the world but that doesn't guarantee that you won’t be in an accident.

Ideally, you should have insurance protection that's specifically tailored to your needs. For example, you may have a custom bike that requires special coverage or you may be entitled to a discount because of your low usage, multiple bike ownership, a good safety record or other qualification.

Protection can include a wide range of extras including roadside assistance, accessory coverage, vandalism, contents theft and trip interruption, and may offer low rates for mainly seasonal use.

Talk to us, Peake & McInnis LTD if you’d like to make sure you're properly protected. And enjoy your motorcycling!

No matter what you own - a sport bike, cruiser, standard, touring bike, or a sweet custom ride - you can turn to us for great rates and the best coverage. Enjoy the freedom of the open road – get covered by Peake & McInnis Ltd. Insurance Brokers today!

Be sure to check out our How To Sharpen Your Motorcyle Awareness post too!

* Wikipedia

** The Globe and Mail


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