You have your motorcycle endorsement, you’ve taken numerous training courses, abide by the rules of the road and your helmet meets DOT specifications, but the fact is, these things don’t always guarantee your safety. The key to riding safely is remembering that vehicles around you are unpredictable. It is up to you to avoid distracted drivers or hazards on the road and reduce the risk collision by riding defensively. The tips below will help master the art of defensive riding so you can avoid unsafe situations:
Before even starting up your engine, you are already given the chance to be a defensive rider. Maintaining your bike before every ride and performing safety inspections helps prevent unexpected complications on the road.
Always use your blinkers and be confident in your maneuvers. Abide by traffic laws and if someone around you seems confused or hesitant, be assertive and do your best to distance yourself or safely pass.
Be on the lookout for cars changing lanes and make sure they see you. If you are on a group ride, never position yourself right next to someone else. When on a multi-lane highway, use the middle lane when there is a shoulder. The far left lane is reserved for passing and the right lane tends to have more vehicles merging and exiting. When passing through intersections, if possible, use cars as shields by positioning yourself next to them, ideally on the right, allowing them to block you from vehicles turning left.
Monitor Your Speed
Adjust your speed on turns and curves to react to stopped or slow vehicles, on coming traffic and road hazards. Adjust your speed to keep a safe distance away from others to maintain an appropriate following distance. Remember that motorcycle braking distance is different than that of a car. Always assume other vehicles aren’t driving defensively and may stop or react to hazards at any moment.
Always stay alert and never drive when you are tired or under the influence. Look for hazards ahead of you, but also check your mirrors for any dangerous drivers approaching you at high speeds, or that are swerving in and out of traffic or appear to be dangerous.
Be Seen and Heard
Don’t be someone’s blind spot explanation. When passing vehicles, assume they don’t see you and be ready to react. Wear high visability gear and when necessary use your horn.
It’s A Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families and our communities.