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.
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.