Motorcycles and Safety: Tips for Drivers and Safety Technologies
Motorbikes are often associated with a sense of freedom, adventure, and excitement. It’s just you and the open road. However, it is crucial to remember that riding motorcycles also comes with inherent risks and motorcyclists are far more at risk than car drivers.
The Importance of Rider Safety
In this article, we will discuss essential safety tips for motorcyclists, covering topics like safety technologies and innovations that can enhance road safety. By following these tips, you can enjoy riding your motorcycle while avoiding accidents and injuries.
Remember, 285 motorcyclists lost their lives on UK roads in 2020, with a further 8,890 injured. Don’t add to these statistics.
Motorcycle Clothing: Gear Up for Protection
One of the most critical aspects of motorcycle safety is wearing appropriate protective gear. Wearing a helmet is not just a recommendation but a legal requirement in the UK. It protects the head and significantly reduces the risk of severe head injuries in case of an accident. When purchasing a helmet, ensure that it adheres to the British Standard BS6658:1985 or carries the ECE 22.05 mark. Helmets must fit correctly so they can do their job. Visit a reputable motorcycle clothing store for a new helmet, so you can try a few on for size.
While a suitable helmet is essential, riders should also wear appropriate protective clothing such as jackets, trousers, gloves, and boots made of durable materials like leather or textile with CE-approved armour. These provide added protection against abrasions, cuts, and impacts. Reflective elements on clothing can improve visibility, making riders more noticeable to other drivers.
Riding Tips: Stay Alert and Aware
Riding a motorcycle safely requires specific skills and knowledge of road rules. Here are some essential riding tips to enhance safety:
Stay focused and avoid distractions: It is illegal to use mobile phones or any handheld devices while riding in the UK. Stay focused on the road and be fully aware of your surroundings.
- Maintain a safe distance: Keep a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead to allow for sudden braking or manoeuvring. The Highway Code recommends a minimum two-second gap.
- Be visible: Use your headlights, indicators, and reflective clothing to increase visibility, especially during low light conditions or inclement weather.
- Observe traffic rules: Familiarise yourself with UK traffic rules, including speed limits, roundabout etiquette, and signalling procedures.
- Ride defensively: Anticipate potential hazards and be prepared to react quickly. Always assume that other drivers may not see you, especially at junctions or when filtering through traffic.
Technology and Safety Innovations
Advancements in technology have significantly contributed to improving motorcycle safety in the UK. Here are some of the most notable ones:
- Anti-lock braking system (ABS): ABS stops wheels from locking up when a rider brakes, allowing them to maintain control and stability, particularly on slippery roads.
- Traction control: This technology detects wheel spin and adjusts power delivery to prevent loss of control, providing additional safety on wet or uneven road surfaces.
- Stability control: Similar to traction control, stability control systems monitor the motorcycle’s stability and make adjustments to reduce the risk of skidding or sliding, enhancing overall safety.
- Blind-spot detection: Some motorcycles are equipped with blind-spot detection systems that warn riders of vehicles in their blind spots, reducing the chances of collisions during lane changes or overtaking manoeuvres.
- Adaptive lighting: Adaptive headlights automatically adjust the beam pattern based on the motorcycle’s lean angle, providing better visibility while cornering.
Child Safety Seats for Motorbikes
The UK government strongly advises against carrying children as passengers on motorcycles due to the increased risks involved. However, if unavoidable in certain circumstances, specialist child safety seats are available for certain types of motorcycles. These seats are designed to provide a secure and comfortable position for the child, with built-in restraints and protective features. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and regulations. The child seat must be the correct size for the size and weight of the child being carried.
Motorcycle safety is paramount for both riders and other road users in the UK. Remember to always prioritise safety when enjoying the open roads on a motorcycle in the UK. Riding sensibly is your best protection, but appropriate clothing and the latest safety technology are also important.