The much anticipated summer weather is finally here. To some, this may mean long walks on the beach or days by the pool. To weekend road warriors, this means taking to the open road on a motorcycle. Soucy Insurance Agency wants to remind you of some tips to take with you on your road trip to ensure that you arrive at your final destination safely.
One of the best ways to ensure a safe trip is to practice motorcycle safety. Consumer Reports has created a list of several tips to keep in mind before you begin your trip. Whether you are a new rider or have years of experience, these tips will help to ensure your safety and make your journey that much more enjoyable:
- Don’t Buy More Bike Than You Can Handle: The technology and performance of bikes today has increased dramatically over the years. When shopping for a bike, purchase one that fits you and your expectations. If you are planning on riding on highways and trying to keep up with traffic, you may need a larger engine. However, if you are planning on using it for short, commuter drives a small engine may be sufficient.
- Antilock Brakes: Studies show that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without them. ABS brakes help to prevent crashes during emergency stops and to keep the driver in control. Many standard models today are equipped with ABS brakes. If you have an older model, it only adds a couple hundred dollars additionally to add them.
- Practice Makes Perfect: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has about 2,700 locations across the United States that offer courses to fine tone your motorcycle skills at a price ranging from free to $350. Courses like these often encourage motorcycle manufacturers to offer credit towards a new bike or training. Regardless of the cost and potential benefit, it is important to be familiar and comfortable when riding your bike in order to ensure the safest trip.
- Use Your Head: Riders without helmets are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets, according to studies. A full-face helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation is the safest choice. These helmets are clearly marked with a DOT certification sticker on them. Helmets today are light-weight, comfortable, easy to manage, and much more practical than they have been in the past.
- Dress Appropriately: Leather jackets, gloves, full pants and over-the-ankle footwear are the best ways to protect yourself from flying debris, bugs, wind chill, and road rash. It is also important to protect your eyes. The best way to do so are goggles or a helmet visor. Wearing bright colors can help cars see you and make yourself noticeable in a fast-paced environment. When riding a motorcycle it’s important to dress the part and stay safe.
- Be Defensive: A recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car, car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. It is imperative to practice defensive driving and be prepared for the unknown when riding a motorcycle. Don’t tailgate, and always allow a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Avoid Bad Weather and Watch for Road Hazards: Rain cuts out visibility but also reduces your tires’ grip on the road. If you can avoid rainy days it is safer to do so. However, if you must ride on a rainy day it is important to remember that the most dangerous time is right after participation begins, as water can cause oil residue to rise to the top. Sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can interfere with tires’ grip on the road and can be potentially dangerous. If you cannot avoid them, practice a slower speed.
- Be Ready: Before setting off on your motorcycle, do a thorough inspection. Make sure your tires are not improperly inflated and that your breaks are working efficiently. If you notice anything wrong or concerning, seek alternate transportation until you can have your motorcycle serviced.
One of the most important ways to stay safe and protect yourself is with motorcycle insurance. At Soucy Insurance, we offer many affordable insurance packages for your motorcycle or other recreational vehicle. To learn more call us at 726.2218.