Dated: 04 April 2011
Blackcircles.com’s Top 5 Motorbike Safety Tips
Last week we published a top tip on the subject of motorbike safety every day. Now, we’ve put them all together in one handy article for you to peruse at your leisure.
1. Mental Attitude
“Riding Motorcycles can be very physically and mentally challenging. Never go out on your motorcycle if you are tired or in a bad frame of mind.
“Ensure that you are strong, healthy and confident to ride the bike. You must also learn how to handle the full power of your bike – a very good way to do this would be by taking an advanced riding course.
“This is not a test so there is no pass or fail. It is an ongoing assessment and will improve your skills as a rider – it may also offer you a bit of reduction on insurance costs.”
2. Helmet Safety
“Make sure that before getting on your bike that you have completely inspected your helmet for any potential dangers. It is very important to pay attention to an area that is often overlooked – the helmet webbing.
"If the webbing of your helmet has become worn or damaged then you must replace it (the webbing) immediately. This can also be said for the straps of the helmet.
“After all, it is no secret that your helmet is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment a motorcycle owner owns. If you look after your helmet, your helmet will look after you – bit of a cliché, but it is true.
“The visor of your helmet is another area that you cannot afford to take for granted. A scratched visor will have a negative effect on your vision.
"This becomes even truer when you are out at night, or at dusk. If your visor has been damaged or scratched – as with the webbing – it is imperative that you buy a replacement as soon as you can. Don’t worry about the cost (you can buy replacement visors at very low prices), just worry about your safety.”
3. Using Your Brakes Correctly
“It is a misconceived notion that the purpose of the brakes is to stop your motorcycle. This is not quite right – if this was the case, all they would do is lock the wheels. This is, as you will be aware, very dangerous as it leads to loss of control and skidding.
“The most important job that your brakes do is slowing your motorcycle down. It is very important to read any situation that involves braking as accurately as possible. Never leave it to the last second to brake.
"Always gradually bring your motorbike to a stop - of course in an emergency this is not always possible, but ultimately this should always be your goal. Not only is this safer, but it helps to prolong the life of your brakes and of your tyres.
“Some pointers of good brake management are:
- This might sound obvious, but use both brakes. This will slow down your vehicle a lot quicker.
- If you use both brakes, you will extend their lifespan – in particular the front brakes.
- When travelling at a very slow speed, the rear brake alone can offer an extra amount of stability and control over your bike."
4. Running In New Tyres
"The running in period of a tyre is very important. This time is vital in allowing the new tyres to form itself naturally into the rim of the wheel. It also gives the surface of the tyre the time it requires to “scuff-in”.
"On top of all this, the rider is also given a period of time to become acquainted with the new feeling of his/her bike. After all, different tyres will produce varying performances in handling, braking and acceleration. It is important to get used to your new tyres.
"Once you have fitted new tyres to your bike, it is imperative that you drive cautiously. Do not push the bike too hard. A good rule of thumb, distance-wise, before you can start pushing the bike further is around the 100 mile mark.
"During this time try not to suddenly accelerate at high speeds, brake hard or partake in any tight cornering manoeuvres.
"Once you’ve reached the first 100 miles on your new tyres, check them. As long as everything is as it should be, you can start to gradually increase your average speed (stick within the speed limit mind!) as well as leaning angles, brake forces, etc."
5. Tyre Safety
“The tread of a tyre has the purpose of improving the grip of a motorcycle. Different designs will have varying effects, depending on the road conditions.
“Generally, a motorcycle tyre will have wear indicators within the groove of the tread. If you are able to see these, it is a sign that your tyre is beginning to get close to the minimum legal tread depth required by law. It is a good idea to replace your tyres sooner rather than later once these begin to show.
“Currently, the law says that for motorcycles – over 50cc – must have, as a minimum, 1mm of tread depth on the tyres across 75% of the circumference of the tyres.
“However, it is a widely acknowledged fact that once the tread depth goes below 2mm, the handling, braking and overall performance of a tyre will begin to deteriorate. Therefore it would be wise to start sourcing replacement tyres when the depth is below 2mm.
“As well as the depth of the tread, always remember to keep a close eye on the overall condition of your tyres. Especially look out for bulges or tears in the in the surface or sidewall of the tyre. Any damage – never mind how slight – could quickly escalate into a larger problem if left.
“Stay smart and stay safe.”