How To Avoid A Motorcycle Accident

Last week saw the biennial Cologne Intermot motorcycle fair, which saw a bevy of new bikes revealed to the public. Some of those bikes will be heading to the UK’s Motorcycle Live event in November, where they will proceed to tempt and taunt me. Why? Because I still haven’t taken my motorcycle license test.

Kawasaki Z800

Kawasaki’s new Z800. Enough to tempt you into getting your bike license?

One of these days I will get around to getting my motorcycle license but one of the biggest hurdles I face is convincing my dear wife that I won’t end up in a mangled heap underneath a lorry. Easier said than done when her imagination can run riot but perhaps showing an understanding of the dangers a motorcyclist faces and, more importantly, how to deal with them will calm her fears.

According to Rospa the biggest causes of motorcycle accidents are failure to negotiate bends on country roads, collisions at junctions, collisions while overtaking, and losing control of the bike. Fortunately most of these accidents are within your control and just need you to ride within you and your bike’s limits.

Country roads are full of hazards and you will meet all manner of different bends. Fast and open, slow and tight, bends with good clear views ahead and bends that are completely blind. As well as poor visibility you have to be aware of bends that tighten up unexpectedly, as this is where you will struggle to slow down quickly enough without losing control. Always take a corner at a speed where you know you can slow down if something unexpected appears in front of you, and follow the line of trees, telegraph poles and lamp posts to give you a clue about where the bend is going.

Collisions at junctions are harder to control yourself and usually involve drivers pulling out in front of a motorbike simply because they didn’t see you. Riding with your headlight on will help but isn’t a guarantee of safety, so when you see a car waiting to pull out in front of you always expect the worst. Treat the other buy prednisone from canada driver as if they’re insane and make sure you can stop if they do something really stupid.

Overtaking doesn’t have to be dangerous. Make sure you have a clear view ahead so that you know if other vehicles are coming towards you. Don’t overtake on blind bends or approaching hills and dips, danger might be lurking out of sight. Also beware when overtaking queues of slow-moving vehicles, you may find that someone else in the queue has the same idea but didn’t spot you in their mirrors, pulling out just as you’re alongside!

Ducati Multistrada 1200

Ducati Multistrada 1200, ideal for city streets

Loss of control can happen in different ways. Accelerating too quickly and braking too sharply are two easy ways to come off your bike but both can be avoided by being careful with the throttle and brakes. Keep an ever watchful eye out for potential hazards and hopefully you won’t have to make any sudden moves, another way of losing control.

Road conditions can also play a big part and these are harder to judge. Damp or muddy roads can make it easier to spin up your rear wheel and reduce the amount of grip through corners. Hitting a patch of spilt diesel can have the same effect as riding on to black ice and you’ll need quick reflexes to catch the bike and avoid a fall. Keep scanning the road ahead for puddles, potholes and changes in the appearance of the road surface and you stand a chance of avoiding these hazards.

Of course, you can’t control everything that happens on the road and there’s always a chance that you’ll wind up scouring the Yellow Pages for motorcycle attorneys, but if you’re sensible and careful you can really minimise the risk. Stay aware, take no risks and ride sensibly and you should be safe.

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Author: Chris Auty

Voted the Breakthrough Blogger of 2013 by SEAT and the Guild of Motoring Writers , Chris has lived and breathed cars since he was old enough to say 'faster'. With a penchant for hot hatches and an allergy to public transport, he would much prefer to drive a bad car than never drive at all. Fortunately his family has learned to put up with this obsession and the internet has provided a channel for his ramblings.

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