Stumbled on a super-cool motorcycling youTube channel last night – Boris On Bikes. Sensible dude who understands riding and commuting on two wheels !
There’s a lot of fear in the public eye in general about biking. “Ooh I could never ride a bike because it’s too dangerous.” Fear, I think, that hasn’t been properly been thought through and that is based on emotion and hear-say rather than analytics and fact. Sure, a biker can’t control everything that happens out there but I can sure change the odds in my favour a lot more than you think.
So, here’s my take on “How to stay safe on a motorcycle?”
1. You take your life in your own hands when you throw a leg over the saddle. You alone are responsible for your safety. Own that!
2. Take the emotions out of it. You get angry and react, you increase your chances of dying immeasurably. Know that people will be stupid, will drive erratically, are sexting their boyfriends on the phone. Accept that they are stupid, inattentive, unaware and totally self-absorbed. That’s how sheeple are. It’s not personal. And in the very few cases where it is personal, shrug it off and move on.
3. Cover the brakes at all times!
4. If the car in front stops suddenly and you can’t stop behind him then you’re going too fast!
5. If the car next to you changes lanes into you where are you going to go? If you don’t have the space to run off into then you’ve positioned yourself in the wrong place. Another way of looking at this is – Don’t lane split between cars that are next to each other. Allow them to move back or ahead before taking the gap. That way, if the car ahead changes lanes you have a space alongside to escape.
6. Never, never, never lane-split alongside a big rig, even if the driver ahead moves aside for you. You might survive with limbs intact if a light vehicle runs over a leg or arm. If a big truck runs over you, whatever it crushes you will loose, guaranteed.
7. Stay off the wet paint.
8. What you going to do if you’re taking that corner and a patch of sand or diesel appears right in your path? Have a plan and keep your speed appropriate.
9. Just because you’re on a bike you have no more right to the road than anyone else. The motorist in front of you is not obliged to move over for you. If he does accept his gesture with a friendly wave. If he doesn’t why push aggressively through a dangerous gap? Patience dude! After all, you have so much power and acceleration, a 3 sec wait until a safe gap opens up is not going to delay your life by anything.
10. Alcohol and bikes mix even less well than alcohol and cars.
11. If you’re not aware of a little bit of fear for your own safety every time you ride then it’s probably time to sell the bike and move on.
So, there you have it. There are probably a hundred others but bottom line is; “Take a deep breath, be nice, stay alive.”