Whether you're using your motorcycle to ride to the shops on a cold, wet winter's day or to take a nice cruise in the country on a sunny afternoon, motorcycle safety should always be a priority.
Take a look at our list of top ten safe riding strategies which includes things to do before you head out and things to remember while you're on the road.
- Look out for other road users that are not looking for you. Remember to ride conspicuously, avoid blind spots and assume that the other vehicle won’t stop for you.
- Unlike car drivers with air bags, collapsible steering columns and stability of 4 wheels, riders only have their hazard perception, advance skills and their protective clothing to keep them safe.
- Always wear visible, good quality, protective clothing from your head to your feet. Protect your extremities with a helmet, gloves and leg and arm protection in all weather conditions.
- Motorcycles require more time and distance to stop than cars in an emergency situation and even more so in wet conditions. Always keep a three-second gap to the vehicle in front of you.
- Always do a head check before changing lanes. Just checking your rear view mirror is not good enough.
- It is vital to ride at a speed to suit the conditions. In bad weather, this could mean a speed that’s under the posted speed limit.
- Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is suicidal. Your faculties need to be at a high level to ride a motorcycle successfully.
- Consider the safety of your pillion passenger as well as yourself. They will also need good protective clothing, plus knowledge of motorcycle dynamics and the best ways to assist the rider as a pillion passenger.
- Lending your motorcycle to riders who are unlicensed or inexperienced is a bad idea. There are severe penalties for riding an unregistered motorcycle.
- All intersections and junctions are high risk areas. Slow down when approaching an intersection and be ready to avoid a possible collision.
Riding in the Wet
Winter presents a whole different set of road conditions for motorcyclists. Here are some basic tips for wet weather riding.
- Rug up. Make sure you’ve got proper rain gear that’s breathable yet waterproof. If you’re riding long distances, consider thermals as well.
- Helmet. Make sure your helmet covers your face — a no brainer really.
- Hand grips. Consider investing in some heated handgrips or a pair of hand guards.
- Tyres. Check your tyres to ensure they’re in good condition and suitable for wet weather.
- Watch the road. Things like line markings, metal plates, potholes, tram tracks and wet, soggy leaves can be more dangerous than you think.
- Puddles. Water hides the surface and you just never know what you’re riding into.
- Oil. A coloured rainbow on a wet road is sure sign of oil. Use extreme caution.
- Brakes. You’ll need more time to brake and when you do, apply more rear brake than normal and brake gently.
- Be visible. Because rain makes it difficult for others to see you, now’s the time to put on high visibility clothing.
Motorcycle riders only have their helmet, the gear they’re wearing and their riding skills and ability to protect them from unforeseen hazards and other road users. Whatever the conditions, make safety your highest priority by doing everything you can to protect yourself before you set off on a ride and while you’re on the road.
Find out more
MAC General Manager Road Safety, Michael Cornish said on the football field one poor decision can have a profound impact on the game, but on the road one poor decision can have devastating consequences.
“Whether you’re a player thinking about the choice to dive over the ball or to leap to take a contested mark, or a driver creeping over the speed limit, drink driving and not wearing a seat belt, the choices we make can change the outcome in an instant,” Mr Cornish said.
“It is inexcusable that excessive speed, drink driving, inattention and non-seatbelt wearing continue to be among the major contributing factor in the serious injury and fatal road crashes occurring on South Australian roads.”
“On the road, there is a lot more to lose than a game of footy.”
Through the campaign, players from each SANFL club, the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power – MAC’s road safety ambassadors – will remind drivers that road safety is everyone’s business and the significances of one poor choice, one lapse in concentration, one wrong move.
SANFL General Manager Football, Chris Davies said the League is pleased to be partnering with MAC in delivering important road safety messages through the introduction of SANFL road safety ambassadors.
‘’The SANFL is well aware of the positive role it can play in assisting young men and women to make educated decisions regarding road safety,’’ Mr Davies said.
‘’SANFL players are viewed as role models in their local communities, providing them with the ideal platform to have a positive influence on the lives of young South Australians.’’
An important part of the South Australia Road Safety Strategy is to build partnerships and encourage community organisations to integrate road safety into their priorities.
The campaign will run throughout the 2014 SANFL season at each SANFL club ground, through the television broadcast match of the week, the South Australian Community Football League (SACFL) and Adelaide Oval at each Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power home game.
Protect those that are protecting you. #Drive25 when you see red/blue flashing lights. http://mylicence.sa.gov.au
592 people killed or seriously injured in rural crashes in South Australia last year
64 of Drinkwalkers aged 24-29 killed or seriously injured had a BAC of 0.08% or more.
MAC has the following tips for safer road use during wet weather:
- Drive to the conditions, and lower your speed in cases where visibility is poor or roads are slippery;
- Keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front – count at least three seconds;
- Check your tyres – if they have less tread on them, the tyres cannot displace enough water, which may make the vehicle aquaplane;
- Check for wear and tear on wiper blades and replace them as soon as they start to smear rather than clean windows;
- Check your car’s lights and indicators to make sure all are working properly and always turn on headlights in wet or foggy conditions;
- Cyclists should use their lights during the day as well as at night, and wearing florescent and reflective clothing will make it easy for drivers to see you;
- Pedestrians should always cross at the lights and be aware that drivers could have difficulty seeing them
Fog lights are designed to be used in fog or other hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility.
When fog lights are used in clear weather conditions the glare from these powerful lights can make driving difficult for approaching traffic.
Did you know that it is an offence to use fog lights when not driving in fog or other hazardous weather conditions and can incur a penalty of $218?
Visit the Gear Up website
81 of riders suffer leg injuries in a crash
This should be a time for celebration, not suffering the devastating consequences of road trauma.
Road safety is all about making good decisions, and understanding the consequences of poor choices. The holiday season is certainly not a time to be complacent on our roads.
MAC is urging all road users to ensure they make it safely home to spend time with family and friends.
If you want this year's festivities to be remembered for the right reasons, take notice of these tips from the Motor Accident Commission.
MAC General Manager Road Safety Michael Cornish said there had been nine motorcyclist fatalities in South Australia this year so far.
The new MAC resources, developed in consultation with the Motorcycle Riders’ Association of SA, share important safety reminders to help reduce the number of motorcycle crashes including tips on getting motorcycles road-ready after winter. There are also ‘gear up’ tips for riders and protective tips for pillion passengers.
“Motorcyclists are more vulnerable on our roads because they more exposed, so wearing the right gear can be the difference between a nasty fall and injuries that prevent you from riding again,” Mr Cornish said.
“MAC is encouraging motorcyclists to do everything they can to help ensure they can be more easily seen by others. This means wearing bright, reflective clothing including your helmet.
“When other road users around you are focused elsewhere on busy roads, you can take some positive steps towards boosting your visibility.”
MAC is also airing its popular Mick Doohan safety campaign featuring the five-time 500cc World Champion sharing ‘No Place to Race’, ‘Gear Up’ and ‘Black Spots intersection’ messages.
Mick Doohan became MAC’s motorcycle ambassador in 2009 following research amongst motorcyclists that determined it was imperative to have messages coming from a credible, reliable source that understood motorcycling. Mick’s legendary status amongst motorcyclists made them sit up and take notice of MAC’s award-winning campaigns that have been commended worldwide and chalked up more than 2.5 million views on YouTube.
Director of Trauma Services and a senior consultant at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr Bill Griggs said wearing the right gear could prevent or reduce many of the most common rider injuries.
“We see many injuries from motorcycle accidents and they are significant injuries that can have long term consequences,” Dr Griggs said.
“There’s no question that protective clothing helps shield riders over and above the level of normal clothing.”
Motorcycle safety tips can be found on the MAC website here:
Mick Doohan safety messages can be found on the MAC YouTube channel here: