Motorbike safety


Riding a motorbike is one of the most exhilarating experiences I know – the open road, the sound of the engine and the rush of wind in your face produces an adrenalin high unlike most other activities.

But with the excitement comes danger, so when I took up motorbiking again later in life, I made sure that I took a practical course in motorbike safety – in particular, defensive riding – to remind me of just those dangers and how to avoid them.


It may seem obvious, but riding a motorbike leaves you much more exposed to danger than driving a car. An accident on a motorbike can be far more serious than a similar accident in a car, simply because of the lack of protection with a motorbike compared with a car.

The best way to practice motorbike safety is to develop your defensive riding skills – in other words, be aware of potential dangerous situations and think ahead of ways to avoid them.


So what does defensive riding mean in practical terms?

You should develop the attitude that other road users are out to get you. This sounds dramatic, but using this approach, rather than assuming another’s intentions, can help you avoid an accident. Anticipating that a car will pull out in front of you, rather than expecting it to wait until you have passed, enables you to be prepared should the worst happen.


You should know – and practice – the basic motorbike manoeuvres, like braking and turning, before heading out on to the highway and mixing in with other road users. Practice until emergency braking becomes automatic and you can swerve around objects without having to think about it.


Make sure that you can be easily seen by other road users. Wear brightly coloured clothing – but make sure it’s protective, of course – and try to make eye contact with other drivers before overtaking, so you know that they have seen you.


Be aware of the road and weather conditions while riding. The blast of air from a passing truck on the highway can force you out of your lane, or a pothole which may cause just a bump in a car can have serious consequences for a motorbike rider. Rainy weather can cause difficulties with your goggles or visor misting up, so use anti-misting sprays on these before the bad weather strikes.


Try to maintain a safe zone around you when riding. Don’t ride too close to other vehicles and if you find yourself being tailgated, allow the vehicle to pass, so it becomes someone else’s problem.


Motorbiking is great fun, but safety must come first. Anticipate and be prepared and you’ll enjoy yourself and stay safe at the same time. Happy biking!