While the roadways are filling back up with summer motorcycle traffic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Motorcycle Association encourage automobile drivers to be extra vigilant and stay on the lookout for motorcycles. Motorcyclists don’t have the benefit of airbags and are not surrounded by the frame of a car or truck to protect them. These accidents can result in severe and possibly permanent injuries. Here are two important safety tips for the beginner rider.
1. Wear Protective Gear
New Hampshire is one of three states, along with Illinois and Iowa, without a motorcycle helmet law. Even though there are no helmet requirement laws in New Hampshire, numerous studies have shown that wearing a helmet while riding reduces the chances of a devastating head injury or even death in the event of an accident.
Choosing the right motorcycle helmet can mean the difference between life and death. We know it can also mean the difference between a comfortable ride and a miserable ride.
Find Your Fit – Keep in mind the shape, size, and style of the helmet.
Check Safety Ratings – Make sure your helmet has the DOT symbol on the outside back; this means it meets our Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218.
Your head isn’t the only thing you should protect while riding. Besides a helmet, the NHTSA and Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) says the proper protective apparel for a motorcyclist to wear includes a heavy-duty jacket and long pants, boots, gloves, and eye protection. Reflective clothing is also highly advised for night riding
2. Know and Improve Your Skill Level
Know Your Skill Level
If you are a novice rider, riding on the road in the middle of traffic is not the time to test yourself.
Always ride in a lane as a regular car would. Even skilled riders shouldn’t share lanes as “lane splitting” is dangerous and is also a common cause of accidents
Don’t rush to take your friend on your new motorcycle. Most riders enjoy taking their friends on rides. If not careful, you can end up face-first on the pavement. The handling and dynamics of a motorcycle are different when carrying a passenger than riding alone.
Improve Your Skill Level
Practice in an empty parking lot at low speed. Learn to properly brake, shift gears, and steer the bike while gradually moving up to road speed. Better to dump your bike in an empty parking lot than on the road in the middle of traffic. Don’t expect to master any of these skills in a single day. Competent riding takes time.
Take a motorcycle safety course taught by a professional. Check with your local DMV to see if they have a required course for you to take, or if there may be classes available through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. You can find a local branch or take their basic eCourse accepted by many states.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Patch & FitzGerald (603) 647-2600 and schedule a free initial consultation.