Motorcycle Safety

May 14, 2019
Motorcycles bring joy to millions of dedicated riders around the world every day. They’re small, lightweight, and easy to zip through traffic with. However, due to the inherent nature of their design, they’re less safe than cars. Motorcyclists face danger from cars, trucks, and the elements, and unfortunately, accidents can and do happen. In fact, about 78% of motorcycle accidents result in injury to the rider. It’s a reality that every rider faces, but for many, the risk is worth the reward. The statistics don’t tell the whole story however. If you’re determined to ride, there are steps you can take to make every journey safer, starting with taking a safety training course such as one offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or MSF. After learning not just how to ride a motorcycle, but how to do so safely, it’s time to invest in proper gear. Adhere to the mantra ATGATT, or All The gear, All The Time, and you’ll cut down the risk of injury even further. Finally, it’s important to choose a motorcycle that fits your skill level and intended use. Let’s dive in and take a look at the first step to making you a safer rider.


Statistics suggest that up to 90% of motorcycle riders involved in crashes received no formal training. Training courses aren’t mandatory, but taking one is an excellent low-cost way to start feeling more confident on the road. In certain states in the US, completing a safety course will even exempt you from taking a road test to get your license and can make you eligible for discounted insurance. Begin by finding a course in your area; you should have no problem doing so as the MSF offers courses all over the country. If you’re outside the US, find an equivalent accredited course that will teach you similar foundations of safety. If you’re a new rider, your best choice will be to take the MSF’s Basic Rider Course. This course combines classroom instruction with practical hands-on training, covering everything from the basics of operating a motorcycle to safety-oriented mental strategies. Motorcycles and helmets are provided for use, too. Completing the course entails a three-hour eCourse, five hours of classroom activities, and ten hours of riding instruction, which are conducted over two to three sessions. You’ll also be taking associated knowledge and skill tests. This course will do well to provide you the basic skills you need to feel confident and safe on the road, and don’t forget about the insurance discount too!


All The Gear, All The Time is fairly self-explanatory; meaning to wear all the appropriate safety gear all the time. Adhering to the philosophy of ATGATT every time you ride is a great next step in practicing utmost safety on the road. From a five minute ride to the grocery store to a 1,000 mile road trip, it’s important to do so. While “All The Time” is self-explanatory, let’s clarify what it means by wearing all the gear. Firstly, helmets. Not all states in the US require helmets as mandatory equipment for motorcyclists, but they’re vital to wear to protect your head and the vulnerable squishy organ inside. Statistics show a distinct correlation with fatal head injuries in states where helmets are not required by law as opposed to states where helmets are mandatory. Full helmets are by the safest option, protecting both the head and face from serious injury. ¾ and ½ helmets are also available but compromise safety compared to full helmets. Next are specialized riding gloves, jackets, pants, and boots, which are crucial for safety in the event of even a minor accident. The price may seem prohibitive at first, but shop around and you’ll be able to find these items used at much-reduced prices.


Finally, selecting the right bike and doing your due diligence to maintain it. If you’re a new rider, consider buying a motorcycle that has ABS, or anti-lock brakes. This is a safety feature which will aid in sudden braking, an important consideration for new riders. Be honest with your skill level—don’t choose a bike with more power than you can handle, you’ll have the chance to upgrade later down the line when you’re more confident in your abilities. Until then, be safe, take an MSF course, practice ATGATT, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying many years of motorcycle riding to come!
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