Spring is creeping over the horizon in many parts of BC’s interior. With spectacular weather in early March, motorcyclists are on our roadways.
With the increased mix of vehicles now vying for road space, we request that drivers think MOTORCYCLES, CYCLISTS & PEDESTRIANS.
Trucks, buses, trollies, cars, trailers, motorcyclis, cyclists, pedestrians: these road users present a wide array of characteristics that govern and generate traffic patterns.
Motorcycle riders make up one of the components of the "vulnerable" road user group that also includes cyclists and pedestrians.
Owing to their differing size, acceleration, and braking capabilities, motorists and riders should equip themselves with procedures and techniques to ensure the increased safety and awareness of sharing the road with motorcyclists.
Number One Reason Riders Crash
The number one reason that riders are killed is vehicles turning across their path of travel. Owing to their size, motorcycles are both hard to see, and it is exceptionally difficult for other motorists to judge their speed.
For all drivers, be especially vigilant when turning left across the path of oncoming vehicles. If you see a motorcycle, it may be prudent to wait for the rider to clear the intersection before proceeding.
It is strongly recommended for riders to equip their motorcycles with a headlight modulator. This technology greatly improves the chances of you being seen by motorists!
Wear the right gear.
For most riders, it is not “if you are going to crash”, but “when you are going to crash.”
There is no room for error; if you or another road user makes a mistake, the rider is going to suffer the consequences. Therefore, on absolutely every ride, wear your riding gear and helmet. Studies show that wearing your helmet and having it properly fastened will reduce head injuries in more than 70% of collisions.
Good leather jackets and pants will save your skin if you go down in a low-side crash. If you are wearing a full-faced helmet (properly fastened), good riding clothing and sturdy boots, you make come away from a crash with only your pride and bike damaged.
Finally, if you are wearing high visibility clothing, it makes it easier for other motorists to see you in traffic.
High visibility clothing, proper gear and good scanning techniques will mitigate risks associated with riding.
Watch the road surface.
Road crews are only beginning to clear the winter sand and debris from our road. It is imperative for those early riders to watch the road surface. Sand or gravel on the road surface can cause the bike to lose traction, especially in a corner. Leaves or other debris on the bitumen can cause the motorcycle to lose traction when braking, and collide with another vehicle or fixed object.
Owing to the winter frost coming out of the ground, the pavement is uneven in many places. Keep an eye out for broken, uneven or rough road surfaces that could compromises your bike’s traction.
Do a pre-trip inspection before every ride.
During a walk around, check the tires. Look for any uneven wear on the surface of the tire. The majority of tires now have wear bars, and if the tread of your tires is anywhere near the “wear bar” replace the tire immediately. Look at the rim and spokes for damage, wear or cracks.
- Inspect that the chain is properly lubricated and the proper tension.
- Check the entire bike for components to ensure these are secure, not damaged and not leaking.
- Importantly, check the bike's tire pressure every time you fuel up!
- Adding increased weight to your bike often necessitates increasing the tire pressure. Adjust the tire pressure according to the weight you are carrying. Check your owner's manual for specifications.
- An under inflated tire causes the bike to become sluggish and handle poorly. If you are unsure about the correct tire pressure, consult a qualified mechanic.
Make your spring riding experience one of exuberance. Keep these tips and techniques in mind to make your ride both an enjoyable and crash free.