Motorcycle riding involves specific habits and a different mindset than driving your car. You know this because you’ve been riding for several years. But, at the same time, you haven’t changed your riding routine since the day you first received your motorcycle license.
According to the National Safety Council, the motorcycle accident fatality rate in the country in 2017 is over two times the rate recorded in 1997. Also, over one-third of all motorcycle accident deaths in 2017 were riders 50 years of age and older. So, although you might like the warn-in feel of your gear or trust your skills, there are small changes you can make to help prevent a minor or fatal crash.
Take a refresher course
Even if you used to travel solely by motorcycle at one point in your life, you can lose skills you don’t consistently use. So, if you only take a few trips each summer, then you might be due for a refresher course. Going back to the basics can allow you to master skills that are a lot different on bikes than in cars, like hitting the brakes, controlling the throttle and counter steering.
Drink water, not alcohol
You wouldn’t just fill your bike with unleaded gas if it required premium fuel to function. In a similar sense, you should be mindful about what you fuel your body with ahead of or in between riding. Riding to local bars with your friends may be an activity you’ve always participated in. However, it’s crucial to remember older age may impact your alcohol tolerance level. You can try to come up with other motorcycle outings or plan a safe ride if you aren’t sure you’ll have enough time to sober up before the bar closes.
You should also keep in mind that there isn’t a drink quite as hydrating as water. Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration or fatigue while riding, which can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Upgrade your gear
If you find yourself still using the same protective gear after several years or throwing on your trusty black leather jacket, then it might be time to reconsider your riding attire options. Helmets, boots and gloves can all wear down with age and not offer the same support they once did. Investing in a new helmet alone can save you from head injuries, which are a common outcome of motorcycle crashes. Adding some splashes of fluorescent or reflective clothing to your riding wardrobe can also save you from the dangers of a crash, as it could help other motorists see you.
Since anyone can fall victim to a collision — seasoned and beginner motorcyclists alike — it’s important to do regular self-check of your skill level, riding habits and safety gear.