1. Don’t skip the riding gear
The first commandment that every sensible rider needs to follow is to equip himself with an essential riding gear. Riding gear is the most important way to help you stay safe on the road and can greatly reduce the extent of damage/injury caused by accidents. A complete set of riding gear may consist of – a good quality full face helmet, riding gloves with knuckle protection, a riding jacket with in-built armour to protect shoulders, elbows and the back, riding pants with thigh protection and in-built knee guards as well as ankle length riding boots.
2. Avoid Road Rage
Most riders have experienced aggressive and inconsiderate drivers on the road, but that is no reason for road rage. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are of course the most vulnerable due to the lack of physical protection around them but the fundamentals of personal safety of the roads remains the same. If you come across a situation where you feel unsafe as a result of the actions of another road user, avoid direct confrontations and remove yourself from the situation as safely as possible. If you still feel that you are in imminent danger, pull over and notify the authorities.
3. Watch out for unexpected elements
A motorcycle has much less traction than a car, and one has to be wary of unexpected elements like construction gravel on roads, deep potholes and cattle crossing (a sight not uncommon in India). Unexpected elements can lead to panic braking that can lead to the skidding of tyres and can cause the rider to even fall. While cruising on the highways always maintain a speed comfortable enough for you to handle the bike even if you have to brake hard at times.
4. Take Warning Signs Seriously
Disregarding warning signs can prove to be very fatal especially for motorcycle riders. Some of the diamond-shaped yellow warning signs advise motorists of the potential for hazards along the road ahead especially seasonal hazards. Often we see these signs and the hazards like fallen rocks do not appear or are not visible but mishaps on hills happen almost always unexpectedly and following these signs can be a blessing in disguise. (Also read: 5 Travel Movies That Will Inspire You To Go On A Journey)
5. Don’t bite more than you can chew
It is good sometimes to push your body to new limits but one should take into account individual fitness levels. Sun stroke while riding can have serious implications and one simply should give a heads up to other people if he/she cannot carry on riding due to weakness. If riding continuously is taking a toll on you and you are feeling weak, light headed don’t be afraid to flag it off to your fellow riders and take adequate rest intervals.
6. Carry a basic First Aid Kit
Motorcycle riders often suffer life threatening injuries, including those to the head, neck and spine. For seriously injured motorcycle riders, first aid can be the difference between survival and death until emergency medical help arrives. (Also read: What Baggage Handlers Recommend When Buying Luggage)
7. Riding in groups
Motorcycling is primarily a solo activity, but many prefer riding as a group with friends and family as well. If you are riding in a group there one should keep the group to a manageable size and avoid side-by-side formations as they reduce the space cushion and if you suddenly needed to swerve to avoid a hazard, you would not have room to do so. (Also read: 7 Cheapest International Travel Destinations From India You Must Visit Atleast Once)
8. Using the Wrong Brakes On Hills
One should keep in mind when riding on hills that the way the brakes are used are different when one rides downhill to that when you are going uphill. When riding downhill, there will be more weight on your front wheel and less on the rear wheel which will have less grip with the pavement. This will make it prone to locking up when too much rear wheel braking is applied causing the bike to skid out from under you. On downhill, take it easy on the rear brakes and apply most of your braking to the front brakes.
9. Study the road
Mountainous terrain often provides motorcyclists with both stunning scenery and exciting curvy roads, but this environment also poses additional challenges to be mindful of. For a smooth and comfortable ride it is best to study the trail and road using local maps so that you are aware of the curves , dips and are more comfortable in navigating your way through a new location.
10. Don’t Drink
This is a no brainer. Drinking and driving should never be mixed. Alcohol not only slows your reaction time but also gives a false sense of confidence, making you more likely to take unnecessary risks and short cuts on the road.
(Image Credits: Pinterest)
(About the Author: This article has been contributed by Sunil Dhingra, co-founder and CEO at Jazzmyride, an e-commerce player for car/bike accessories and spare parts)