Motorcycles Are For Responsible People
Starting in the 1950’s and 60’s, motorcycles have been considered the vehicle of choice for bad boys. The speed, the danger, the noise were just made for the young rebel looking to defy the status quo. Fast forward to the next century and the landscape has changed. Crowded cities and roads, greenhouse gases and expensive foreign oil provide more than sufficient reason to give the motorcycle a second look.
I do not recommend motorcycles for new drivers due to safety reasons. It takes practice to learn now to navigate in traffic and to be aware of everything going on around you. During that learning period, many if not most, new drivers experience minor accidents. This is the main drawback to motor bikes. What would only be a fender bender in a car becomes a major accident on a motorcycle. That’s because there’s nothing to prevent the motorcycle rider from being thrown from the bike. Even if he stays with the bike, there’s nothing between him and the road.
Safety is an issue for more experienced drivers too, but there are things they can do to reduce the risk of injury.
Wear protective gear. A helmet is a must for any motorcyclist and passengers. Leather jackets and pants can go a long way toward protecting against injury to the rest of the body. No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. Protective gear can greatly reduce the damage in such an event.
Drive defensively. One of the biggest dangers to motor bike riders is other vehicles. They drive as if, well, they’re driving a car and not a motorcycle. It’s often difficult to see motorcycles due to blind spots. Motorcyclists need to be very aware of this and do everything they can to prevent possible problems – even problems that wouldn’t be their fault. Motor bike riders should make sure that they’re seen. Get out of the drivers’ blind spots, don’t zip up on a car and expect that they’ve seen you. Leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles. This will allow you the time to move out of the way if necessary.
Be hyper-vigilant about road conditions. Windy roads, snow and ice, even rain are a bigger issue for motorcycles than they are for cars. Ride slowly and cautiously. Don’t ride your bike at all in really bad conditions. Those are days for taking your car or catching a ride with a friend.
Make sure you have good insurance. Your motorcycle is probably less expensive than most cars. The amount of damage you’re likely to do to others in an accident is no more, and probably less, than if you were driving a car. The big difference on a motorcycle is the risk of injury to the rider and passenger. Make sure that your motorcycle insurance covers injury to yourself or anyone else who is riding your bike. Also, not all policies cover passengers. If you might ever carry a passenger, make sure that you have good coverage. Lastly, look at the dollar limits on your policy. In a really bad accident, you could need medical care for months. Don’t just take the standard coverage. Make sure you have high enough limits that your medical expenses will be taken care of, whether or not the accident was your fault.
There is a higher risk to riding a motorcycle, but there are steps you can take to reduce those risks. The benefits of lower costs, using less gasoline and getting through traffic quickly might be worth the incremental risk.