Motorcycle Safety: Rally Time

Motorcycle Insurance| Insurance AdvisorsBikers & Motorists Need to Share the Road

Heavier than normal traffic during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally requires bikers and drivers to share the road for safety, officials with the South Dakota Highway Patrol and Office of Highway Safety caution.

Motorcycle traffic has increased since early summer and likely will continue to be heavy through the end of August. There has already been eight fatal crashes involving motorcycles this year. “Rally Time” puts thousands more motorcycles on the highways. Many of the fatal injury crashes involving motor cycles happen to inexperienced drivers.

The Highway Patrol reminds motorcyclists and motorists alike of the rules for sharing the road. Once again, it pays to follow a few safety tips.

  1. Motorcyclists should ride in single-file lines and avoid crowding he center line or crowding motorists.
  2. Motorists should remember not to crowd cycles. Motorcycles have the same rights on the road as motorists.
  3. Motorists and cyclists should follow the recommended speed limits. Motorcyclists should be especially aware of speed limits on curves.
  4. It is against the law to drink and drive. Motorists and cyclists must be sober when driving.
  5. Motorists, remember to buckle up. It’s the law.
  6. Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear helmets.

Motorcycle Safety: How Was Harry Hurt?

Perhaps the most renowned study of motorcycle accident causes and countermeasures was done for University of Southern California by researcher Harry Hurt. He investigated 900 motorcycle accidents and analyzed another 3600 motorcycle traffic accident reports. The Motorcycle Safety Courses developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation are designed largely to build the skills that the Hurt Study found to be missing in the accident-involved rider. Some of the findings allows us to see some essential things we can do to avoid an accident.

Who hits us?

Motorcycle Safety

Most accidents involve a car violating our right-of-way. Most frequently, the car turns left in front of the motorcycle.

Where do we get hit?

Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the car not only violating our right-of-way, but often traffic controls as well. Most accidents are on short trips, and occur close to the trip origin.

Why do we get hit?

The main reason is that the driver of the other vehicle does not see us in time to avoid the collision. Alcohol is involved in almost half of the fatal accidents. Most motorcyclists are vigilant with regard to drinking and driving.

Why aren’t we seen?

Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor; especially from the front of the bike.

How can we be seen?

Wear high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets. Helmets should be white or bright colors during the day and reflective material at night. It also means positioning our motorcycles where we can be seen in traffic.

How else can we avoid accidents? 

Pay attention! Be extra cautious if you have less than 5 months experience. Motorcycle rider courses reduce accidents and injuries by teaching the braking and swerving skills that are necessary. Remember to wear proper eye protection to avoid impaired vision which delays hazard detection.

How can we prevent injuries in an accident?

Heavy boots, jackets and gloves reduce or prevent road rash. Full coverage helmets increase protection and reduce face injuries.

By: Robert Vaughan

Motorcycle Safety: 5 Key Tips

“You have to be completely crazy to ride a motorcycle. Those things are dangerous!”

Motorcycle Safety TipsHow often have we heard that? Zealous four-wheelers are bent on saving us from our own stupidity. Anyone bright wouldn’t go near one of those death machines.

 In small part, they are right. There is risk involved in operating a motorcycle. There’s also risk involved in driving on a freeway, even in a tank. The trick is to manage the risks and to not take dumb chances.

Managing risk is key, and taking a motorcycle rider course will help you do just that. (And, you may get a discount on your motorcycle insurance.) Keep your mental and physical skills sharp; practice good cornering and curve-riding techniques.  Know the limits of your motorcycle and the limits of the environment.

Five Key Tips for Safe Riding

  1. Assume you are invisible to other drivers. Don’t ever assume another driver knows you’re there.
  2. Look where you want to go. It’s called visual and directional control. Keep your head and eyes oriented 3-4 seconds ahead of you when cornering. In an emergency, do not stare at the guardrail, the gravel shoulder or the oncoming car. The term for this is target fixation, and it can distract you from the task at hand.
  3. Counter-steer. Use precise inputs to the hand-grips to lean the motorcycle. Press forward on the left hand-grip, the bike leans left. Press forward on the right hand-grip, the bike leans right. You can learn this technique by taking a rider course.
  4. Use both brakes. Your front brake provides 70 percent or more of your stopping power in an emergency. Squeeze, do not grab the front brake.
  5. Never stop riding the bike. Don’t ever give up control of your motorcycle. Again, part of the challenge of motorcycling is risk management. Don’t create dangers for yourself by taking unnecessary chances.  As a biker, that is your responsibility, and the joy of motorcycling.

    Watch for  more articles about motorcycle safety, sense and sensibility.

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Information gathered from:
Minnesota Department of Public Safety