The weather’s perfect across the US and you’re out on the road every day, and as the miles pile up on the clock, now’s the time to consider some strategies you can use to get home safely at the end of the day.
The researchers at Allstate Insurance say June is the start of the most dangerous string of months for motorcyclists. The company’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) Encyclopedia, at least for 2010, says 534 rider fatalities occurred in June, and that made it the third most rider-unfriendly month of that year, Next on the list; July with 563 rider deaths, and August with 576 fatalities.
Riding on surface roads seems safer than traveling on the highways. Slower speeds make you feel less at risk, but it’s just not the case, at least in a statistical sense. So where are you most at risk on your bike and why? Intersections. Nearly a third of motorcycle crashes happen at intersections. Do yourself a favor and assume motorists just don’t see you because, well, they don’t. Pay particular attention as you accelerate through them after the light changes as those are the moments you’re at a higher risk of collision.
Also keep in mind that any drivers behind you may not be able to stop as quickly as you can as a rider when you slam on the binders, so know what’s behind you with regular looks at your rear-view mirrors.
Assume you’re invisible to Cagers
Use your brakes to alert vehicles around you when traffic is slowing down ahead. Flashing your brake lights is more effective than getting on them and staying on them as a flashing light will be more visible. A series of light taps on the brakes does the trick.
You only have a split-second to react to a dangerous situation, and the best way to maximize your reaction time is to keep lots of distance between your bike and vehicles around you on the road. Keep a buffer zone around you as you ride, and by all means, give yourself time to react. Tailgating a semi at eighty miles an hour might put you in a nice little slipstream of calm air, but it can also get you sheared in half. Just saying…
Ride within your limits
I get it. You’re going to ask,”How do I ride within my limits if I don’t test what those limits are?”
There’s only one way to know that, and it’s to get lots of experience riding. So when is it safer to test those limits? When you’re out on a clear stretch of road with ample space outside the roadway if you lose it. Dodging in an out of traffic might give you the rush you need, but it will likely get you a visit to the ER to have gravel scraped out of your flesh as well, so take your chances when the risk is at its most minimal.