We can’t wait for our annual DAA Motorcycle Ride Out on Sunday 10th July, which is a great way for bikers to celebrate the Devon countryside and support the charity at the same time. The Ride Out will start from Trago Mills in Newton Abbot and cover around 80 miles of beautiful Devon countryside, before finishing in Dawlish Warren with an afternoon of live entertainment.
Unfortunately, while biking is great fun, there’s always a small chance of things going wrong. The Devon Air Ambulance comes to the aid of bikers throughout Devon – we attended 42 accidents involving motorcyclists in 2015 – but the best solution will always be prevention. With that in mind, here are our top 5 safety tips for motorbike riders to bear in mind.
Always Wear the Right Equipment
Motorbike gear might not always be the most comfortable or convenient, particularly when it’s hotter during the summer. It might be obvious, but wearing protective clothing – including a helmet – will always be the safer option. Aside from protection against road rash, suitable equipment will also reduce the effects of flying debris (including bugs- nobody wants to inhale a fly) and wind chill. Reflective gear will also make you more visible to other road users at night, and could prevent a collision.
Find a Good Fit
A powerful bike can be great fun to ride, but that doesn’t mean you should ride the fastest bike you can find, especially if you’re a new or returning biker. Modern bikes (including lower-end models) are especially powerful compared to a few decades ago, which is something to bear in mind if you last rode before the internet was invented. A good fit is also important, including the right weight, height (both feet should rest flat on the ground), and distance to the handlebars and controls.
Test Your Skills
There are now a variety of motorcycling safety courses and tests available in the UK to assess and improve your riding skills, which include learning advanced techniques to help you respond to hazards and ride in difficult conditions. These courses can also identify your strengths and weaknesses, helping to minimise any bad habits that could increase your risk of accident.
Check Your Bike
Even if your bike looks fine from a passing glance, it’s always a good idea to properly inspect your bike before going out on a ride- it’s quick and easy to check your lights, signals and horn. Deflated tires or worn-out brakes can make handling difficult and put your safety at risk, so you should go to a mechanic or check these yourself fairly regularly as well.
Watch Out for Other Drivers
There isn’t one easy way to put this into practice, but it comes down to driving sensibly and being aware of your surroundings- collectively termed defensive riding. It’s an unfortunate fact that many other drivers don’t always pay as much attention to the road as they should, but you can help to counter this by being extra vigilant when you’re riding. This includes maintaining a sensible amount of distance between you and the vehicle in front, so you’ve always got enough time to react and stop if necessary.
Now that you’ve read our safety tips, you can enjoy riding your motorbike while also maximising your safety- and what a way to enjoy the fantastic Devon countryside!