We do not have the traffic problems that Los Angeles faces, but the roads here in San Diego County are pushed to capacity and beyond. Moreover, distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions with drivers trying to use their devices while driving or operating their vehicle when they have not gotten a proper amount of sleep. This dangerous combination means that it is more important than ever for drivers to drive defensively, particularly if they ride a motorcycle.
Motorcycles are well suited to Southern California because the climate allows us to ride year-round and we do not get a lot of rain. Other benefits include better gas mileage than most cars, more accessible parking and an overall sense of fun that comes from riding. However, there are much higher risks to riding like the fact that there is no metal cage of a car or truck to protect the driver, which leads to a greater likelihood of severe injury. Therefore, it is especially important to develop good riding habits.
7 tactics to safer riding
While these tips are especially important for novice riders, they are very applicable to riders of all skill levels:
- Maintain the bike: Improperly maintained motorcycles can mean unnecessary risks. Check fluid levels and air pressure before hitting the road.
- Wear protective gear: Its best to choose clothing that covers the body, specially designed gear is great, but leather and denim work well. Also wear heavy footwear, gloves and eyewear. It goes without saying that riders should always wear a helmet.
- Look around: Look where you are going, but also check your mirrors and vehicles on either side (watch to see if they are using their device or driving erratically).
- Know your route: Indecisive driving involving last-minute decisions can lead to accidents. GPS with audio directions fed into the helmet can help.
- Know the laws: Following the rules of the road is crucial to proper bike safety.
- Ride with confidence: Second-guessing can lead to erratic driving and last-minute maneuvers.
- Not too aggressive: Defensive driving is safe driving, so avoid the temptation to ride aggressively. Also, motorcycles are much faster, smaller and more maneuverable than the average car, so other drivers may react improperly to aggressive maneuvers.
There are countless news stories about motorcyclists who were severely injured or died in a crash. While they are often not at fault for their injuries, driving defensively can be the difference between life and death. Drivers of other vehicles need to be aware of motorcyclists as well, knowing that any mistakes or negligent actions can cause significant harm to riders.