Taking Responsibility for Your Own Safety as a Biker
Over the past decade, there have been numerous national and local campaigns designed to increase awareness of the presence of motorcycles and bikers on the nation’s roadways. Unfortunately, they haven’t had much of an impact. In many instances, the first response of the other motorist is still, “I didn’t see the bike.”
Because you can’t assume that other drivers will be looking for you, it’s important that, as a motorcycle operator, you take your own steps to minimize the risk of an accident. Here are some ways to do that:
- Take measures to improve your visibility—Wear bright or reflective gear. Always use the turn signals on your bike and use hand signals, too, if you can. Use your headlights, even in the daylight. Pay attention to when you might be in another driver’s blind spot.
- Ensure that your bike is road-ready—Don’t get on the road without checking brakes, throttle, horn, mirrors, lights, turn signals, and tire pressure. Make certain your bike is mechanically sound, so that you can take evasive measures, if necessary.
- Enhance your driving and safety skills and knowledge—You can never stop learning how to be a better rider and how to minimize the risk of an accident. Take a safety course or enroll in an advanced skills class, so that you have new tools to help you respond to a potentially dangerous situation.
- Employ defensive driving techniques—Take a proactive approach and actively monitor other motorists. Look for signs that they may be turning without using a signal. Stay far enough behind the vehicle in front of you that you have sufficient time to take evasive measures. Watch for potholes, loose gravel, water, or debris on the road.