Is Your Motorcycle Safe? [If not, how could you make it safer]
Look up the word ‘safe’ in the dictionary, and it says ‘to protect from, or not exposed to danger or risk.’ According to accident statistics, ‘danger and risk’ come with the territory for bikers but what exactly is a motorcycle safe, and how do we make it safer?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), riding a motorcycle is 27 times more dangerous than driving a car. Anti-bike lobbyists always use statistics such as this to prove a point. However, what they never add is another equally compelling statistic, namely, that riding a motorcycle is 95% more enjoyable than driving a car.
Here, we are going to break down the whole safe motorcycle riding culture from different angles. Let’s consider the varying aspects of motorcycle safety and what we can do to make the entire riding experience a lot safer.
Taking Matters into your own Hands
Is riding a motorcycle safe? On the surface, the NHTSA’s stats look pretty bleak but being nonchalant about safety when in the saddle is a recipe for disaster.
For anyone on the road, the key to survival is realizing that you are the only one who is concerned about your safety.
The answer to the question is therefore not, is riding a motorcycle safe but what can I do to make it safer?
To improve the safety odds it’s important to ride defensively, become accustomed to reading the road ahead, and respond accordingly and quickly. These are learnable abilities which can easily be added to your skillset.
Motorcycle training courses are available for all levels. If that feels a little regimented though, consider learning to ride off-road. It gives invaluable, life-saving lessons in how to control a motorcycle even in the most extreme circumstances.
Honing riding skills is great but obviously shouldn’t be backed up by riding in flip-flops and a vest.
Consider this, the abrasion from a 30mph slide down the road will burn through a pair of jeans in 0.5 of a second, so some form of armored clothing is in order. Not necessarily full-on race leathers either. Thanks to smart-fiber technology, there are now jeans and cargo pants featuring the same Kevlar used for bulletproof vests.
Talking of smart technology, say hello to the smart-helmet. These ultra safe motorcycle helmets have a built-in, rear-facing camera streaming live footage to a head-up display (HUD) in the rider’s eye line.
Are Motorcycles Safe to Ride?
Let’s be clear; safe motorcycle riding requires a holistic approach. It’s possible to acquire new skills and buy the latest generation motorcycle helmet and safety clothing, but what about your choice of bike?
After all, how a motorcycle performs will have a significant effect on riding safely.
As of 2019, all new models over 125cc will feature ABS brakes. Most will also feature electronic fuel injection giving them a smoother throttle response and making them easier to control.
Manufacturers such as BMW, and Ducati, as well as the big four Japanese brands, already produce their high-end model motorcycles with cutting edge electronic intervention packages.
These technologically advanced rider aids include traction control, which thanks to a bank of onboard sensors, kicks-in to prevent skidding.
Selectable riding modes are also popular on both sports and touring models. This system allows for the ultimate in safe motorcycle riding. The bike’s power characteristics can be instantly adjusted to suit the conditions.
Thanks to advances in software and microprocessors, several onboard systems can also be linked. Traction control, working in conjunction with ABS, allows for cornering ABS. While on some models, riding modes also automatically adjust suspension settings.
Auto parts giant, Bosch, say safety is an urgent challenge in the motorcycle market but if current motorcycles already offer tech wizardry, what of the future?
Amongst other projects, Bosch is currently working on the Sliding Mitigation System, which fires jets of gas to counterbalance a potential fall. While this may seem too advanced, they’re also perfecting on-board radar for motorcycles.
As futuristic as this sounds safe motorcycle riding, thanks to bike-mounted radar, is potentially only a year away. Both KTM and Ducati have said they will have the system on production models by 2020.
Bosch is not the only show in town when it comes to advanced motorcycle safety. Here, at Damon we are also developing bike-mounted radar, which will warn the rider via haptic alerts through the handlebars.
Insurance for Peace of Mind
If you have honed your riding skills, fitted electronic gadgetry or kitted yourself out with a safe motorcycle helmet, there’s still one missing piece of the puzzle.
As a final back-up for safe motorcycle riding, you really do need the best insurance you can afford. A safe motorcycle insurance policy will give the peace of mind that should the worst-case scenario occur, you have full coverage.
Safe motorcycle insurance policies can be as comprehensive as you want, but there are four essential elements of coverage to consider.
So let’s take a look at the four options of safe motorcycle insurance available.
Firstly, Liability Insurance which covers the rider if he, or she should be the cause of an accident which results in personal injury to another party or their property. Plus, it may also cover legal fees in the event of litigation.
Followed by Medical Payment coverage, this insurance takes care of those mega hospital bills for you or your passenger. This coverage is particularly helpful in the case of a health insurance plan being inadequate.
Thirdly, Uninsured or Underinsured; with as many as one in eight drivers in the USA operating without insurance, this is important if you don’t want the bill for someone else’s uninsured mistake.
Finally, Collision which as the name suggests covers the rider in the event of a collision. Should you lease or take out a loan for your motorcycle this may even be compulsory. Whatever happens, this policy will see you covered even in the event of a self-inflicted slide.
In asking what is a safe motorcycle and are motorcycles safe requires an approach that covers many elements. It is possible to fight the odds but aspiring to safe motorcycle riding means being prepared to put the work in on all levels.
Remember, ‘the gods help those who help themselves.’
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- Is Your Motorcycle Safe? [If not, how could you make it safer]