Ride on the Safe Side: Nine Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Two people wearing helmets riding on a motorcycle on a road during fall

Motorcycle accidents continue to be a leading preventable cause of traffic fatalities in the United States.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,014 motorcycle fatalities in 2019.

Motorcycle riders are five times more likely to be injured than persons riding in vehicles and 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a traffic crash.

Staying alert, staying sober, and sharing the road go a long way toward making driving safer for all vehicle types.

In addition, here are nine motorcycle safety tips from South Shore Health's Trauma Program Injury Prevention team:

1. Take motorcycle safety courses routinely.

Motorcycle safety courses teach riders how to quickly apply brakes in a dangerous situation, as well as emergency swerving techniques.

2. Wear the appropriate clothing/equipment.

If you are not wearing the appropriate gear, your chances of injury are significantly higher.

A proper, DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment. Helmeted motorcycle riders have up to an 85 percent reduced incidence of serious, severe, and critical brain injuries compared with un-helmeted riders.

Bluetooth connected gloves allow riders to control smartphone functions by touching certain areas of the glove.

Additionally, riding boots are introducing new, flexible impact technology that are designed to absorb more impact during a crash.

3. Assume you are invisible to other drivers.

While it may seem like the other drivers can see you, it's always best to assume that they can't.

Make sure you have reflective clothing/reflective lights on your bike, avoid blind spots, and always drive with your headlights on (even in daylight).

4. Never stop riding the bike.  

Laying it down is a last-resort strategy.

5. Check the weather before heading out.

Rain, ice, and snow can create dangerous riding conditions.

Dress in layers to adjust to changing weather throughout the day.

6. Obey traffic rules.

Use your signals for turning or changing lanes and obey the speed limits.

7. Inspect your motorcycle before each ride.

Check your headlights, taillights, turn signals, brakes, fuel, oil, tire pressure, and mirrors to make your ride as safe as possible.

8. Stay at a safe distance; tailgating is never safe. 

Speed needs distance in order to safely to slow down.

9. Don’t ride impaired.

Don’t use drugs, or alcohol while operating a motorcycle or ride when you are tired.  

This post was written by South Shore Health's Trauma Program Injury Prevention Team.

Learn more about our Injury Prevention Program.