Safety tips for bik­ers this Easter

Be pre­pared for de­lays, im­pa­tient be­hav­iour and more traf­fic on the road over the long week­end, writes Dave Keilty.

Franklin County News - - GARDENING -

Rid­ing a motorcycle of­fers in­cred­i­ble re­wards, but it comes with its fair share of risks too.

If you’re plan­ning on rid­ing a motorcycle over Easter, you should keep in mind that pub­lic hol­i­days and long week­ends are par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous for bik­ers, with more traf­fic on the roads, de­lays and im­pa­tient be­hav­iour.

You might not be able to con­trol how other road users be­have, but you can en­sure you use the road re­spon­si­bly.

Here are five tips from Ride For­ever to keep you safe:

Wear the right gear: At a re­cent Ride For­ever event, one of the stunt riders said he has zero fear of fall­ing off. The rea­son? He wears leathers, ar­mour, proper boots and gloves, and a qual­ity hel­met. As a re­sult, he can’t re­mem­ber the last time he hurt him­self. The ob­vi­ous les­son for all riders is to al­ways wear the right gear. If the worst hap­pens, you’ll have a greater chance of es­cap­ing in­jury. If you’re a bit short of gear, ask for rec­om­men­da­tions on Neigh­bourly for the best lo­cal motorcycle stores. If you’re lucky, a neigh­bour might have some spare leathers you can bor­row or buy.

Check your bike reg­u­larly: Crashes caused by tech­ni­cal faults are rare. But small de­fi­cien­cies can con­trib­ute to los­ing con­cen­tra­tion or con­trol. Give your bike a thor­ough check be­fore you ride: tyre con­di­tion, tread depth, and air pres­sure; brake op­er­a­tion and pad thick­ness; lights (in­clud­ing brake light) and in­di­ca­tors; chain con­di­tion, ten­sion and lu­bri­ca­tion; brake, clutch and oil lev­els; ca­bles and con­trols work­ing smoothly; well-damped, smooth sus­pen­sion; free move­ment but no loose­ness of the steer­ing. All good? Now you can re­lax and en­joy the ride.

Tak­ing cor­ners: The most com­mon se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent in mo­tor­cy­cling is fail­ing to take a corner. Things of­ten start go­ing wrong even be­fore the corner due to bad po­si­tion­ing on en­try, or by turn­ing in too early. Re­mem­ber: en­ter wide to the right on a left- hand corner, or wide to the left on a right-hand corner, and stay wide all the way through un­til you can see the exit. Only then should you cut in to make the apex, tight on the in­side of the corner. En­sure your en­try speed is low enough to roll on a lit­tle throt­tle all the way through the turn.

Fol­low­ing dis­tances: Even in the best con­di­tions a motorcycle can­not brake as sharply as a car. That’s a fact. Give your­self plenty of space just in case you need to stop in a hurry. Be pa­tient; on a motorcycle you’ll soon get a chance to over­take.

Fa­tigue is your great­est enemy: First long trip in a while? You may have for­got­ten how drain­ing it can be. Rid­ing a motorcycle de­mands all your con­cen­tra­tion and com­mit­ment. Don’t over­reach in terms of dis­tance; take reg­u­lar breaks, and drink plenty of water. Have a great Easter and stay shiny side up. For more help­ful ad­vice about stay­ing safe on a motorcycle, visit Ride For­ever at ride­for­ever.co.nz.

A big safety les­son for bik­ers is to wear the right gear at all times.

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