Although less than 2% of vehicles on Irish roads are motorbikes, 12.5% of road deaths are motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are at a considerably higher risk on the roads as they are more exposed and more likely to be injured in the event of an accident. While motorbikes may be an efficient and exhilarating way of travelling, motorcyclists are more exposed and thus more attention needs to be paid to safety considerations.
Good Quality Gear
First of all, it’s important to have the correct gear. A good quality helmet is essential; it could save your life, so don’t be stingy. If your helmet doesn’t have a glass visor, you’ll need goggles to protect your eyes from any flies, chips or other airborne creatures and debris – you don’t want to be deprived of your eyesight when travelling on a motorbike at 100km per hour! Likewise, you should wear padded, protective clothing in fabrics such as nylon, leather or Kevlar as these will be able to withstand skidding on tarmac or other road surfaces, protecting your skin and body. A reflective vest should be worn in the hours of darkness so other drivers are aware of your presence on the road.
Extra Weight and Passengers
If carrying weight on your motorbike, ensure that it does not exceed the maximum recommended weight for your make of bike and distribute it evenly on the motorbike, ensuring that it is secure before driving. Only carry a passenger if you are an experienced driver and are comfortable doing so; otherwise you are putting both your and your passenger’s lives at risk. If you do carry a passenger, he or she must also wear protective gear, including a helmet, in order to decrease the risk of serious injury in the event of an accident.
Riding a motorbike requires alertness and concentration, so if you feel fatigued or if you have consumed any alcohol, do not ride your motorbike as a lapse in concentration could be fatal. When driving, do not overtake unless you can see the road in front of you clearly and take a quick look behind you before you pass someone out to make sure you are fully aware of all the vehicles on the road and their movements. Braking when driving a motorbike is much more like braking on a bicycle than it is like braking when driving a car, so be sure to master braking fully to avoid being vaulted over your handlebars. Finally, when biking in a group, only ever drive in a way you’re comfortable with.
If you take the above safety considerations on board and always drive carefully, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t spend many years driving your motorbike around the country without incident – and if ever you are in an accident, you’ll be well-protected and you won’t regret having spared a thought for safety.