Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. You are exposed to different factors that can cause a fall, but there are always ways to mitigate them or minimize injuries in the event of a fall. We will continue with the advice we previously provided, when we explained aspects such as the safety distance, the maintenance of the motorcycle or the correct behavior when traveling in a group. On this occasion, we will give you other tips for safer riding.
It has been extensively proven that in the event of a motorcycle accident, if the rider is properly equipped, they experience fewer injuries. Therefore, it is important to be aware of this and equip yourself correctly, even if the trip is short. It is recommended to wear a full-face helmet, as it provides much better protection than an open-face helmet or any other type of helmet. It is important to have a wide vision area of the visor to be able to see better from the sides. During the night you should not use tinted visors, as they reduce vision significantly.
The jacket you wear must have protection on the arms and especially on the back. The gloves, in addition to being comfortable, must comply with a minimum of safety and protection and above all must fit each hand precisely, otherwise in an emergency maneuver, your grip and control of the handlebars may be inadequate and imprecise. Appropriate footwear is also necessary. It is advisable to avoid sneakers and definitely high heels whenever possible. Most sneakers will disintegrate the second they hit pavement at speed. Any shoe with a considerable hardness with a flat sole and well adjusted will be sufficient. As for the pants, it is enough that they have protection and/or armor on the hips and knees.
While we understand the reasons for not wearing this gear daily, we strongly recommend getting accustomed to it. As they say, dress for the slide, not the ride. Continental recommends that you carry a bag or backpack with the everyday clothes that you will wear at work or anywhere else and change clothes as soon as you arrive at your destination. Nowadays, there are also lots of options for riding gear that looks and feels like everyday clothes.
Executing an emergency maneuver can be challenging, but you have to know how to put it into practice, since every millisecond is vital to avoid any impact. How to perform an emergency braking maneuver? Always be attentive and concentrated while driving. If the moment comes when you feel something is wrong, do not hesitate and stop or slow down the motorcycle as quickly as possible. Having ABS on your motorcycle makes everything easier. Direct your gaze towards the clear space and press both brakes with maximum power and intensity consistently without any fear, raise your elbows to be able to maneuver better and apply pressure with the corresponding leg on the footpeg to enhance the effectiveness of the evasive maneuvers. The situation changes if we do not have ABS. As with ABS, you must look for clearances, but when applying force on the brakes, you must do so with maximum intensity at the first moment, and gradually reduce the pressure on them to avoid locking the wheels as the speed decreases, until you reach the point of stopping the motorcycle completely or avoiding the collision as much as possible. It is very important to never stop pressing the levers during the whole maneuver.
The Influence of Tires
The influence of tires on braking distances, agility of movement and grip is fundamental. Using the right tire with the correct pressure and in good condition ensures optimal control. A tire in bad condition, even if it has the right pressure, reduces grip efficiency and causes the motorcycle to behave incorrectly or unpredictably. It reduces maneuverability, loss of traction and lengthens the braking distance. No matter whether ABS or traction control is used, the risk of an accident increases considerably, since ABS can be activated prematurely and traction control can be activated unnecessarily. In tests carried out on asphalt with the same motorcycle and the same set-up, but with tires of different condition (i.e. new vs near the end of their life), emergency braking at medium and high speed is capable of increasing by 30 to 40%, if not during the maneuver the wheel locks up and causes a crash. With the ABS system activated, the braking distance increases up to 20 to 30%, without fear of the wheel locking. It is very important to check tire pressure periodically, since different factors influence sudden tire pressure changes. Heat, humidity or cold are environmental elements that have an influence. These problems affect both very high and low pressures.
Rain and wet asphalt must also be taken into account. When rain appears in the city or on the road, in addition to losing visibility, both yours and that of others, safety distances must be increased and all senses must be alert. If you fail to meet a single safety and maintenance requirement, it is best to stay at home or opt for another method of transportation that day. Braking distances in the wet, even when the bike is in perfect condition, increase considerably and the loss of grip in an emergency is notable. ABS in this situation is essential as it will prevent locking up, however it will not change the fact that you will travel more distance before stopping or avoiding an obstacle. In the case of side grip, the step between losing the bike or not is much more critical than when it is dry, since there is no prior warning and consequently the reaction capacity is very low. Spending no more than 5 minutes to perform a preliminary check on your motorcycle or scooter can help save yourself from a crash or worse. The loss of control takes only a few seconds, and the physical consequences can be serious. Concentration, anticipation and serenity are the best driving tools.