Essential Safety Tips from Yuasa for Motorcycle Safety Month and Beyond

May is Motorcycle Safety Month, a time for riders of all skill levels to reinforce their knowledge of motorcycle safety and reflect on the basics. With the exhilaration and freedom of the ride, comes significant responsibility and, of course, calculated risk.

It's vital to commit to responsible riding practices.

Adhering to these safety guidelines, whether a beginner or a seasoned rider, can significantly reduce your risk of accidents and enhance your overall riding experience.

The Importance of Defensive Riding

Defensive riding means being aware of your surroundings at all times, and always having an escape route planned. It means expecting the unexpected and being prepared for any and every possible danger.

Knowing your escape routes and maintaining focus allows you to act quickly when a hazard presents itself, from a car pulling out in front of you, to a pothole that could end your ride too quickly.

Distractions can be deadly. When riding, your full attention should be on the road and the vehicles around you. Avoid using mobile devices or any other activities that could divert your attention. Keep your eyes and ears open to everything happening in your environment.

Visibility, alertness, and focus are your best defenses against accidents.

Here are some strategies to ensure you're seen and safe:

  • Avoid Blind Spots: Stay out of the blind spots of cars and trucks. Position your motorcycle where you can be seen.
  • Use Your Signals: Always signal your intentions, whether changing lanes or turning, to inform other road users of your movements.
  • Headlights On: Keep your headlights on even during the day to increase your visibility to others.
  • Stay Alert: Always be vigilant of other motorcyclists, cars, trucks, and pedestrians.
 

Weather Preparation is Crucial

From our climate-controlled houses to our vehicles' heated seats and dual-zone climate control, to chilly convenience stores or slightly too-warm offices, “the weather” isn’t really something that casual riders may consider a daily safety concern. For daily commuters, however, the weather can become almost an obsession, for good reason.

For riders, even a spring shower or a blustery day can mean the difference between a cruise and an impromptu trip to the emergency room. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to riding, that means being prepared for the weather.

Before you hit the road, be sure to check the weather conditions. If bad weather is in the forecast, consider postponing your trip. If that’s not possible, ensure you're equipped with suitable rain gear and that your motorcycle is in top condition to handle slippery roads.

Gear Up for Safety

Proper riding gear is essential whether you are ripping up the trails off-road, cruising the backcountry and taking in the scenery, or filtering lanes during your commute.

Contrary to what some may think, riding gear is a lot more than swag to look cool in. It could save your skin, literally. From leather jackets that protect your torso to gloves that maintain grip and keep your hands warm and working, “the look” is far from why most bike gear is as tough as you are.

Make sure you have high quality and reliable gear:

  • Helmet: Always wear a DOT-approved helmet. It's your best protection against head injuries.
  • Protective Clothing: Invest in high-quality jackets, gloves, pants, and boots specifically designed for motorcycle riding. They offer protection against injuries and the elements.
 

Adherence to Traffic Laws & Motorcycle Safety Courses

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), speeding and not following traffic rules are leading causes of motorcycle accidents.

Research has also shown that completing a motorcycle safety course, like those endorsed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), not only improves a rider's skills but also significantly enhances their understanding of road safety. That often leads to safer riding behaviors.

Based on a plethora of evidence and studies from the above agencies and others, it’s safe to say that educated riders are less likely to be involved in crashes and are more likely to wear appropriate safety gear.

It does not matter if you are a seasoned rider or if you just acquired your license, it is pivotal to always obey all traffic signs, signals, and speed limits. Being a responsible rider not only protects you, but also protects others, while setting a positive example.

MSF offers several safety courses across the country for riders:

Road safety, however, starts before you ever enter the roadway. Keeping your bike maintained properly is the foundation of motorcycle safety.

Regular Motorcycle Maintenance

Your ride isn’t just your moment of freedom or ticket to adrenaline; it’s a machine. Like any other machine, proper maintenance is absolutely crucial. Unlike in a car or truck, where a flat tire is a real inconvenience, a blown tire on a motorcycle can mean injury or worse.

It’s easy to do a quick inspection before you ride. Make sure you have a basic understanding of your bike, and follow the MSF's T-CLOCS pre-ride inspection checklist to ensure your motorcycle is in safe riding condition.

T-CLOCS Pre-Ride Inspection:
  • Tires: Check for any signs of wear or damage and ensure they are inflated to the right pressure.
  • Controls: All levers and pedals should be intact and responsive.
  • Lights: Ensure all your lights are functioning properly.
  • Oil: Regularly check oil levels and look for leaks.
  • Chassis: Inspect the frame for cracks or bends.
  • Stands: Ensure that your motorcycle’s stand is not bent and operates smoothly.
 

Battery Maintenance & Changing Your Battery Safely

Yuasa has set the industry standard for powersports batteries for over 40 years. We pride ourselves on safety, power, and reliability. As the battery experts, we can say without any reservation that proper battery maintenance is always important.

Regular battery maintenance and inspections can prevent breakdowns and accidents, keep your lights running properly, and ensure that your sound system won’t turn off until you decide it should.

Battery Inspection:

  • Ensure the battery is:
    • Properly maintained
    • Fully charged
    • Securely mounted
  • Connection Checks: Regularly check the connections for corrosion and ensure they are tight and secure.
 

Changing the battery:

  • Turn off the motorcycle engine
  • Remove the key from the ignition
  • Wear safety gloves and goggles

For more detailed guidelines on battery safety, you can visit Yuasa Batteries’ safety guide.

Here are some more resources on battery maintenance and safety:

 

Keep the Thrill Alive: Commit to Safety Every Ride

During Motorcycle Safety Month, we remind ourselves of our commitment to keeping the road safe for everyone. Safety is a lifelong dedication that we must never take for granted, especially as it concerns our loved ones and cherished possessions—the reasons we strive to ride safely and arrive alive.

By staying observant, properly geared, and diligent about your motorcycle’s maintenance, you're not only protecting yourself but also contributing to safer roads for everyone.

Motorcyclists who prioritize safety can enjoy the thrill of riding with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are doing everything possible to prevent accidents. Ride safely, stay aware, and let's aim to make every month a motorcycle safety month.

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