Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating. It can also be more practical than driving a car in terms of fuel consumption. journey time, carbon emissions and parking, especially if there’s only yourself that you have to transport. At the same time, motorbikes can be considerably more dangerous than other forms of transport.
Here are 10 things that both riders and other road users should know about motorcycles:
1. Incorrect use of motorcycle brakes and the failure to see motorcycles by other road users are the two most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents.
2. When compared to 2008 the number of motorcyclists killed and seriously injured in the UK has fallen. These respective figures are 493 and 5,556 for 2008 and 328 and 5,000 for 2012.
3. Motorcycle helmets save lives. It’s a legal requirement to wear a helmet carrying the BSI kitemark or an equivalent European standard.
4. You are not legally obliged to wear other safety gear such as leathers, boots or riding gloves. Doing so can help prevent injury if you are involved in a collision or come off your bike however.
5. Just like a car, your motorbike requires an MOT when it is 3 years old and every year thereafter. An MOT only shows that the bike is roadworthy at the time of the test and it’s your duty to make sure it is roadworthy and well maintained throughout the year.
6. You also need a minimum of third party insurance to legally drive on UK roads or any public places, or to keep your bike parked on the road. Third party only insurance only covers you for your liability to a third party if you are involved in an accident. It will not cover damage to your bike if you are involved in an accident for which you are at fault.
7. Motorcycles can easily disappear into a mirror’s ‘blind spot’. Drivers should take extra time to check their blind spots before manouvering.
8. Motorcyclists will often slow down by easing off the throttle, meaning drivers behind them will not get the visual cue of brake lights.
9. It can be difficult to judge a bike’s true distance and speed. Drivers should leave plenty of distance between their car and a bike in front.
10. Junctions can be particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. Take extra care whether you are on two wheels or four.