Understanding basic facts about motorcycles helps all drivers

Our Blog | June 15, 2018

Riding a motorcycle in California comes with specific safety hazards. Even though most motorcyclists are safe drivers, all bikers know the real danger is with inattentive car drivers they share the roads with.

There are no real secrets to safe biking skills, but it is always a good idea to review some common sense tips to enhance your riding safety.

Keep control

Keeping control of a motorcycle takes a lot of skill. The rider has to be able to balance on the bike. Proper body position is important, but there is much more to operating a motorcycle than that.

Learning how to shift gears and bank into turns can take time. New motorcyclists might not be able to make smooth transitions on their motorcycles. Any drivers who see motorcyclists should be sure they are giving the bikers a wide berth to ensure they can maneuver as needed.

Braking takes skill

One thing that drivers need to remember is that stopping a motorcycle isn’t as easy as just hitting the brake pedal. Motorcycles have two brakes, one for each wheel. A driver will usually have to use both brakes and downshift to stop in a normal situation.

An interesting point about motorcycles is that the front brake is the primary brake and accounts for around three-fourths of the stopping power. This means that there is a chance that when braking is done from a high speed and handled improperly, the bike might flip. Trying to brake in a high speed situation can be dangerous because stopping too fast can lock up the brakes.

Keep safe distances

All motorists must ensure they are leaving enough space between vehicles. Motorcycles have an increased collision risk from tailgating because of a two-wheeled cycle’s smaller profile. The biggest hazards for riders is in intersections and when passing or being passed.

No drivers should tailgate other vehicles. If someone is tailgating, the leading car shouldn’t try to speed up to increase the distance between their vehicle and the tailgating vehicle. Instead, they might need to slow down a bit to give the tailgater time to pass.

Motorcyclists need to remain as visible as possible to other drivers. This can be done by keeping closer to the left side of the lane and making sure that turns and lane changes are signaled appropriately.

When an accident does occur, motorcyclists will likely need medical care. From there, they might face a long road to recovery.