Staying safe when riding is top of the priority list for any biker, and riding defensively is one of the best ways to prevent accidents.
Here are our top 7 defensive riding tips, designed to help you minimise your risk of vehicle accidents and stay safe when riding on Britain’s busy roads.
1. Maximise your visibility
Bikers can be difficult for other motorists to see, which is why it’s so important that you take extra efforts to be visible. A brightly coloured bike and highly visible clothing are a good place to start, but it’s more about where you position yourself on the road.
The viewing angle from inside a car or lorry isn’t ideal for spotting bikers. Always make sure you leave enough space for the car in front to see you, and think about driver blind spots. With lorries, buses and coaches, remember that if you can’t see their side mirrors, they can’t see your bike.
2. Watch out for junctions
Almost 70% of motorcycle accidents that cause injury to the rider happen at junctions, which is why it’s so important to be extra careful at them – read more about Hornsby, Watson & Hornsby, they take care of accident cases. Riverside personal injury attorney deals with such cases.
Plan ahead when approaching junctions, and be aware of drivers pulling out onto main roads from side streets and driveways. Always think one step ahead, and anticipate where there may be concealed drives or side roads ahead, especially around concealed bends.
Controlling your speed, and being ready to take evasive action will help to ensure you don’t become part of the scary accident statistics.
3. Careful overtaking
Around 1 in 5 motorbike accidents occur when overtaking, and avoiding overtaking accidents comes down to common sense. Don’t overtake on blind corners, and be aware of oncoming vehicles on the other side of the road.
When overtaking, bear in mind that the driver may not be aware that you are there. Many overtaking accidents occur when a driver turns right across the path of the rider, so be ready to brake or take evasive action if necessary. Avoid overtaking near junctions or near side roads where cars could pull out across your path.
If you’re in a queue of traffic on multiple lane roads, be extra careful if when passing stationary or slow moving vehicles. Often, these drivers may change lanes without warning, so try to maximise your visibility through careful lane choice and positioning.
4. Speed & braking
Excessive speed is a factor in around a quarter of motorbike accidents. Bikers have a somewhat justified reputation for speeding, with police forces in the UK regularly clocking bikers at 150mph!
It’s simple – the faster you ride, the less time you’ll have to react to hazards, dangers and the actions of other motorists, and the more likely you are to suffer a life-threatening accident.
Controlling speed, learning how to understand, apply and master the power of your bike, and leaving enough space between you and the driver in front to brake safely at all times is the best way to avoid accidents.
5. Be aware at bends
25% of motorcycle accidents happen at bends, with rider error due to excess speed, under cornering and failure to stop in time to avoid hazards the leading causes.
When negotiating bends, make sure you anticipate potential hazards, and ensure that you’re riding at an appropriate speed. It’s at bends that weather and road surface conditions will be felt most, so it’s important that you take those into account and ride accordingly.
6. Riding together safely
Riding together with your friends is one of the great joys of motorbike riding, but it’s important to do it safely.
If you’re in the lead, make sure you take into account the experience and ability of the other riders in your group. Don’t try to push it and ride within everyone’s abilities.
Avoid lane sharing, and take a staggered formation to maximise visibility and provide you with maximum room to manoeuvre. You should only ever be parallel with another rider when overtaking, or when coming to a stop at traffic lights or a junction.
7. Always remember how vulnerable you are!
There’s a fine line between being a confident rider and an arrogant one, and as bikers, we need to remember that we are the most vulnerable motorists on the road.
Aggressive riding is likely to get you killed – if there’s a collision between a biker and another vehicle, it’s the biker who will come off worst! Don’t tailgate other drivers, ride too fast, or attempt to push your limits beyond your abilities.
You should always be in complete control of your bike, and act in a considerate way to other road users.
Stay safe with Ridersmate
Driving defensively will help to keep you safe, but accidents still happen, and if you’re riding alone when they do, the consequences could be disastrous.
Ridersmate is your electronic guardian angel – there to protect you wherever you choose to ride. If you ever have a serious accident and become separated from your bike, Ridersmate will send an emergency SMS message to your loved ones, so they can come to the rescue.
Head over to the Ridersmate Store, and get the confidence that comes from knowing you’ll never be left stranded, injured and alone.