Motorcycles are a great alternative mode of transportation, and they are both fun to ride and fuel efficient. One of the first things new or soon-to-be owners start to think about after their purchase is how to customize a motorcycle to make it stand out on the road. Customizing motorcycles is a fun way to make a new ride unique and flashy, and there's no doubt that custom motorcycle parts and accessories are fun to shop for. That said, there are more important things that new motorcyclists should focus on before customizing motorcycles.
As fun as motorcycles are to drive, they also pose many safety risks. Motorcyclists are hard to see, and they are not nearly as well protected as drivers of cars, SUVs and trucks. Almost 50% of motorcycle crashes in the U.S. happen as a result of a motorcycle colliding with another vehicle, according to the NHTSA. Many car drivers aren't as careful as they should be when passing motorcycles, which is all the more reason for motorcycle riders to exercise extreme caution when on the road. Some motorcycle riding safety tips that all motorcyclists should abide by include:
Wear a Helmet - Only 19 states in the U.S. currently have universal helmet laws for motorcycle riders, but that doesn't mean that riders shouldn't wear one. People who don't wear helmets have a 40% greater chance of suffering fatal head injuries than those who do wear helmets, according to Consumer Reports. The skull is extremely vulnerable when exposed on the open road, and being in a collision without one almost guarantees significant brain damage, if not death. Riders should invest in a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation and wear it every time they get on their bike.
Take a Safety Course - Taking a motorcycle safety course can greatly improve a rider's skills and can teach them how to improve their safety on the road. Safety courses can teach new riders the necessary techniques to protect themselves on the road, including evasive maneuvers. Aside from picking up some new safety skills, many motorcycle safety courses also lower a rider's insurance rates.
Drive Defensively - Studies have shown that in many cases when motorcycles are in an accident involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle is at fault. Car drivers are not always good about sharing the road with motorcycles, not to mention that motorcycles can be hard for them to see since they are much smaller. Therefore, it is even more important for motorcyclists to be alert when driving around cars. Riders should lookout for cars changing lanes, objects in the middle of the road, and they should avoid getting too close to cars if they can avoid it.
While customizing motorcycles is a fun way to make a motorcycle stand out, following motorcycle safety tips should always be a priority. Investing in a safety course and protective gear like helmets, gloves and jackets could be the difference between life and death out on the road. Motorcyclists should never underestimate the importance of rider safety.