Making Everyday Buying Decisions Easier
Are motorcycles unsafe? Motorcycles by themselves do not have the potential to harm anyone. Law-enforcement agencies have mandated every vehicle being driven on the roads should be insured to cover any incidents which may cause injuries, fatalities, and losses to property. When I considered purchasing my first motorcycle I too had a similar impression in my mind. It was only after I visited the dealership for a Harley-Davidson that I realized there was much more to motorcycle safety than what I believed.
I never for a moment considered the issue of safety being discussed wasn’t just of driving the motorcycle, wearing proper gear, insuring the motorcycle and taking some of the most common precautions advised. I had to look at a different angle and consider that any actions of mine when driving the motorcycle had the potential to cause harm to people and property leaving them dealing with losses, injuries, fatalities and me being haunted by the law enforcement agencies for penal action.
I began looking at motorcycle safety from a different perspective with the realization I did not have to do anything to safeguard the motorcycle but had to make all the arrangements needed for my safety, that of people as well as the property and infrastructure which I would certainly come across when commuting by motorcycle from one place to another.
The Harley-Davidson motorcycle I had decided to purchase was a monster which could reach speeds similar to cars. The thrill of driving the motorcycle was sufficient to excite me into believing I was the master of the roads as I could pass by any vehicle at high-speed. However, before I began my first journey on the motorcycle I needed all the information about motorcycle safety [mine in fact] and therefore began conducting some research to understand how I could be a fantastic motorcycle rider who could be the talk of the town for the kind of safety precautions I practiced.
I was determined to be an individual who would be appreciated by everyone for the practices I followed when driving a motorcycle. However as a first timer, I was not aware what were the things I could do, the things I had to learn and the kind of problems I could face when I began using the motorcycle I just purchased. I, therefore, began collecting some data which would enhance my knowledge of how I could use my motorcycle in the best way without causing harm to myself and others. I decided to accept my responsibilities in their entirety leaving nothing for an assumption. I wanted to understand everything a motorcyclist should or shouldn’t do before I even kick-started my prized possession. Given below are the things I learned even before the Harley-Davidson was delivered to my doorstep.
When people notice an accident involving a motorcycle with any other vehicle, individual or infrastructure the first assumption made states that the motorcyclist was either driving too fast or was unable to control the motorcycle for some reason. Data is available to show the United States records approximately 13% fatal accidents for every 100,000 cars sold. The percentage for motorcyclists is however outrageous with 72.34% out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles.
The fatality rate among motorcyclists is also higher when compared with other vehicles. Motorcyclists getting involved in a fatal crash is 35 times higher than a passenger vehicle while the chances of getting seriously injured are 16 times higher than commuters in cars. This was a red flag for me to delve deeper to understand why motorcyclists were exposed to the higher risks of fatalities and injuries as compared to other vehicles. Was it a jinx of some kind which was haunting motorcyclists? Were the governing authorities not providing proper infrastructure to safeguard motorcyclists when driving? The research I conducted exposed me to an entirely new set of reasons I had never before considered. I, therefore, decided to make a list of my findings which are mentioned below.
– Compared to cars and other vehicles motorcycles are smaller and have the potential to move faster.
– A motorcyclist despite having the best motorcycle in the world may not have the skills to use the same appropriately.
– He or she could be driving the motorcycle in bad conditions.
– The motorcyclist could be taking turns on roads where visibility is restricted due to many reasons.
– The motorcyclist may not be maintaining the proper speed as determined by the governing authorities and may have Chosen A Motorcycle Unsuitable For The Riding Skills They Have.
– Not looking for hazards on the roads is another reason for motorcycle accidents which I had to learn before I decide to take my motorcycle for a spin around the town.
Having the information mentioned above give me a better understanding of what motorcycle safety is all about. As I was determined not to commit any mistakes I began studying how I could ride a motorcycle safely on the roads. Here are my findings.
Riding motorcycles safely just did not mean being aware of the speed limits of following the guidelines provided by the traffic department. I also had to learn a lot more in order to become a skilled motorcycle driver. Most importantly I had to use my knowledge of motorcycle driving to ensure I safeguarded myself as well as everyone and everything which I encountered on the roads. What do I need to polish my knowledge?
– I had to determine I would only drive the motorcycle according to my skills and ability without trying to show off on the roads just because I had purchased an expensive monster.
– I decided to obtain a motorcycle safety course before I visited the traffic department for a motorcycle license. Though it was not mandated in the country I decided to go to the classes anyway to learn about all the rules that apply to motorcycles in the state I was living in.
– I gathered the information I had to verify my motorcycle was in perfect condition before I decided to use it on any occasion. This included looking at the motorcycle from every angle and ensuring everything worked fine without any exceptions.
– I was told always to maintain a good speed which for a moment exhilarated me because my monster had the capacity to hit 80 or 100 miles. I was however disappointed when I was told the speech being spoken about were not about the motorcycle but the ones set by the governing authorities. The only option available to me was to use my motorcycle at the highest speed as determined by the traffic department and none other.
– I was advised to purchase a motorcycle suitable to my driving skills which I considered were appropriate for a Harley-Davidson. However, it also set bells ringing in my mind making me question myself whether I was really qualified to drive one of the best bikes in the world. However, as I had already purchased one I had no options but to use the motorcycle or consider selling it off to purchase another model.
– had to invest in insurance for the motorcycle covering all parties who may become involved in an accident with my motorcycle. The insurance would also serve as a protective barrier for me in the event of injuries or fatality and damages to my bike.
I received advice to always wear a helmet and proper riding gear, conduct proper inspections of the motorcycle, learn about the weather, install antilock brakes on the motorcycle, stay in my comfort zone [wonder what that was], and to respect all the laws determined by the traffic department.
I also had to ensure I had a good nights sleep before I decided to use my motorcycle during the day to make sure I wasn’t stressful for any reason. I could plan when my physical and mental state was in great condition. The things I learned were not something I was prepared for before I decided to invest some money in the monster I purchased. Now that it was delivered and I had collected all the information necessary I was determined to hit the roads the moment I had ingested all the information to have a safe ride on my bike.
I was confident I could drive my motorcycle without any concerns but I felt there would be no harm if I decided to improve my riding skills. I had already obtained a motorcycle safety course but that was a theoretical course which did not give me any practical experience. As I was looking forward to improving my riding skills I had to find how to do so before I even took my Harley-Davidson for a ride.
Improving my riding skills was something I couldn’t ignore unless I was prepared to face the consequences. The difficulty levels of improving my skills were higher as the information wasn’t available from books. I needed to develop some practical experience and therefore adopted the following technique.
– I decided not to get close to the vehicle ahead of me regardless of how quickly I wanted to reach my destination.
– Adjusting my speeds before approaching corners was also something I decided upon.
– I always covered my brakes when approaching an intersection.
– I was determined not to brake hard but do so longer.
– I decided never to fix my gaze on objects which could be lying on the roads in order to look around them and find an escape route to avoid hitting them.
I was aware I would learn a lot more as I gained experience using my motorcycle. However, as a beginner I was certain I had collected the information necessary to understand motorcycle safety as best required. I also collected information about fresh technology which could be introduced in the future which could make a vehicle to vehicle and infrastructure communication possible.
The technology is still in its infancy and will take at least another five years before it could possibly be used. However, the technology would definitely make it easier for motorcyclists to identify hazards on the roads to improve safety and bring down the number of accidents currently being reported.
I am now confident I can use my Harley-Davidson without the fear of being another statistic in the records of the traffic department as another individual who simply purchased a motorcycle for the thrill of it.
by Darion Robinson
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