In just a few short weeks, spring will be upon us, and for thousands of Americans, improving road conditions signal the beginning of motorcycle season.
Even after a winter layoff, experienced riders can jump right back on their motorcycles and ride safely. But for those just starting to ride, there’s enough of a learning curve that getting on the road is not something to be taken lightly.
Motorcycle Deaths Rise Along With Sales Figures
In 2015, more than 500,000 motorcycles were bought in the United States, a 3.55 percent increase over 2014. While motorcycles are fun and fuel-efficient, there’s no getting around the fact that they are more dangerous than cars. Statistics show that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car.
In Colorado, motorcycle accidents and deaths are on the rise. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), there were 106 motorcycle deaths in 2015, the first time in state history there were more than 100 such deaths recorded in a single year. Learning how to handle a motorbike properly is essential for keeping yourself and others safe on the road.
Common Motorcycle Mistakes
- Buying more than you can handle: Motorcycles today are faster than in past years, meaning that even smaller bikes are When shopping for a motorcycle, it’s vital to start with one that fits you, not just in performance but in size. When seated on the bike, you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground.
- Not getting basic training: Experienced motorcyclists say taking an approved safety course is well worth the money and time. In a course, you will learn the basics, as well as advanced techniques such as evasive emergency maneuvers. Also, in some states, participating in an approved safety course may make you eligible for an insurance discount or allow you to skip the licensing road test or written test.
- Trying too much too soon: Being pressured to perform beyond your limits can be deadly. Whether it’s riding at extreme speeds or trying to squeeze through traffic, rookie riders probably are not experienced enough to pull it off. You need to learn and practice basic riding maneuvers in order to perform them safely. It’s best to take it slowly in the beginning until you build up confidence in your ability to handle the bike.
- Not Keeping a Clear Mental Picture of Traffic: Keeping an eye on the road ahead of you is not the only thing you must focus on. Being aware of everything going on around you is essential to safety since anything can happen, and happen quickly. A parked car’s door can open, or the driver behind you may not realize you’re slowing down. These are just two scenarios that can end in a crash.
There’s a lot of information out there for beginner bikers. It will be time well spent to review it to make sure the next time you’re on the road you’re creating a safe environment for you and those around you.
And just a reminder: Colorado is a partial helmet law state. Riders and passengers under age 18 are required to wear a helmet approved by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).