Rev Up Your Safety: 6 Overlooked Motorcycle Safety Practices

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Safety Practices That Are Often Overlooked

Anyone who rides a motorcycle has heard, “OMG! Bikes are so dangerous!” ad nauseum. Yes, we know motorcycles are dangerous - that’s why we take our safety on the road so seriously, Karen. You don’t get on a bike to screw around, and, if you do, you don’t last very long.

Motorcycle safety is crucial whether you are hitting the open road or adventuring off-road. While most riders have well-informed practices on how to stay safe on or off the road, a few important safety protocols tend to be overlooked.

Although less commonly talked about when discussing rider safety issues, the following safety practices might greatly help you avoid an accident or get help after a collision. Many overlooked safety practices are preventative and aim to stop accidents before they happen. 

Increasing your visibility on the road, appropriate protective gear, and regular checks on equipment and gear might help you avoid an accident. If an accident is unavoidable, you should be prepared. Wearing the right protection, having an emergency kit, and using the buddy system might reduce the severity of the crash or help you get to safety faster.

Uncommon Safety Practices That Deserve More Attention

The following are some common safety practices that often go overlooked:

Inattentional Blindness

Inattentional blindness is a strange phenomenon where drivers do not see or notice motorcycle riders when they are in plain sight. To combat this safety risk, motorcycle riders should make themselves more noticeable. Wear reflective gear, make sure tail lights are on, and don’t be afraid to use your horn.

Any experienced rider can probably tell you about at least one near-miss on the road due to a driver claiming they did not see them. How convenient. How does someone not see a person on a motorcycle in the middle of the road? The answer is inattentional blindness.

Drivers might experience inattentional blindness because they do not expect to see motorcycles on the road. While this is ridiculous since motorcycle riders are on the road every day, there is some truth to it. It’s easy to miss something you’re not scanning for. And motorcycles, while louder, are smaller than cars.

Drivers tend to focus more on safety around other cars, trucks, and similar vehicles. Small vehicles like motorcycles are sometimes disregarded because drivers do not perceive them as a safety threat. As such, drivers do not look out for motorcycles and might be blind to them when they are right in front of them.


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Gloves are not just fashionable, but functional as well. While riders usually wear protective gear like helmets, one piece of protective gear often overlooked is a good pair of sturdy gloves.

It might be tempting to disregard gloves when riding your motorcycle. Some riders find them uncomfortable, especially when the weather is warm. But don’t neglect your hand protection - they’re your hands, dude. You need them for, like, most things in life. Why do all that moisturizing if you’re not going to protect your ten-fingered beauties? In a fall or crash, motorcycle riders often stick out their arms to brace for the impact.

As a result, riders often injure their hands, and sturdy gloves might help you avoid an emergency room visit. Having a pair of thick gloves to wear while riding your motorcycle might prevent injuries like road rash on your hands or even prevent fractures in your fingers.

Reaction Time

Two Fingers Brake

Your reaction time in an accident is critical. Half a second might be all you have to hit your brakes and avoid a crash. As such, riders should take steps to make sure they have as much time to react to a crash as possible.

One way to maximize your reaction time is to ride with your fingers over the brake levers on your motorcycle. Riders often have their hands firmly gripped on the handlebars, but leaving one or two fingers over the brake lever is a good habit to have. Doing so might allow you to brake faster if another vehicle cuts you off or stops short.

Replacing Equipment and Gear

If you have all the safety gear you need and your bike is outfitted with the best equipment possible, you should still regularly check on your gear and equipment to ensure it is in working order. These things do not last forever and should eventually be replaced. You should check your gear and equipment before each ride. If something looks a bit off, it might be safest to avoid riding until you can get the gear or equipment replaced or repaired.

You should check helmets for cracks, clothes and gloves for tears or holes, and bike equipment for signs of wear and tear. Equipment and gear checks should be a regular occurrence. It is easy to let these things fall by the wayside, and you do not want to learn that your gear was worn out after a crash. Don’t get complacent, keep a good eye on your equipment and take care of them.

Using the Buddy System

Motorcycle - riding together

Even when you are riding your motorcycle directly in front of them, a driver might completely ignore you and cause a crash. Then they have the unmitigated gall to say that you came out of nowhere! Driving with a partner can help make you more noticeable and provide you a witness to back your story up. Besides, who doesn’t love having a buddy by their side?

When motorcycle riders increase their numbers, they also increase their visibility. Drivers are often more aware when approaching a group of motorcycles. They might overlook you if you are alone. Even having one other rider by your side might make other drivers around you wake up and pay attention. Driving in a group might be even better, especially if you plan on making a long road trip.

Driving with a buddy is especially important in off-road settings where there might not be many others around to help in case of an accident. Motorbiking on off-road trails can be dangerous as there might not be another person nearby to help you if you crash.

Be Prepared for Weather

Riding motorcycle in the rain

While riders do not usually like riding in the rain, you might be caught in an unexpected downpour. In such a case, you might be confronted with several risk factors, including the risk of hydroplaning and reduced visibility.

If it looks like rain, try to avoid riding your bike. If you are caught in the rain by surprise, pull over to a rest stop if one is nearby and wait out the rain. If there is nowhere to stop, make sure your lights are on, and you slow down. While most of us have driven in the rain in a car, it is a far different experience on a motorcycle.

Stop and call for assistance if you are caught in the rain while off-roading. Being stuck on a muddy trail or somewhere nobody can help is dangerous. Simply keeping an eye on the weather can help you avoid potential disasters.

Be Prepared in Case of an Accident

Even when riders exercise all possible caution, negligent drivers might cause a crash and severe injuries. Whether on public roads or off-roading, riders should have an accident emergency kit.

You should always have a working cell phone, road flares, and a first aid kit on your bike. You should also carry a disposable camera or make sure your cell phone has a working camera. After the accident, you should take photos to show insurance companies or even a lawyer if you plan to sue for damages.

What to Do if You Are Hurt While Riding Your Motorcycle or Off-Roading

If you are injured on your motorcycle or motorbike while on public roads or off-roading, you should first call for help and get emergency medical care. These kinds of accidents can be very dangerous for riders, and many people have experienced life-altering injuries because of careless drivers.

The second thing you should do is call an attorney - preferably a motorcycle accident lawyer. Medical expenses aren’t getting more affordable. On top of that, you might be so badly hurt that you cannot work for the foreseeable future, and you might lose valuable income when you need it the most. It’s never a bad idea to have an attorney friend at the ready.

Safe Riding, Folks

Protective Motorcycle Gear

So, what have we learned today? Haters gonna hate, but you gotta stay safe. Treat your pre-ride ritual like the opening to Batman & Robin: Gloves? Check. Helmet? On. Equipment? Ready. Buddy? By my side and ready to ride.

Prepare for the worst, no matter how confident you are. 

Stay sharp and stay safe.

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About the Author, Chris Blondell

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia writer who covers business, tech, legal, true crime, opinion, and anything that sparks his curiosity.

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