Motorcycle Safety: Mitigating the Risks

In the process of getting my wife to let me have a motorcycle, and in the interest of self-preservation, I want to take a min to talk about rider safety and my journey to be the safest I possibly can on the road.

The first thing I want to talk about is maturity and common sense. While I don’t claim to be the most mature person, I have always had great situational awareness and after growing up a little, I think I can take myself out of most dangerous situations. I have a knack of spotting distracted drivers and have no problem pulling over and waiting for them to crash into someone else or finding a new way to my destination to get away from them. This is my first line of defense.

The second line of defense is getting education related to operating a motorcycle on the roads with other people. The motorcycle safety class is an invaluable resource to riders. Not only does it teach the basics of riding, but it also teaches the safety aspects of riding and provides things to watch out for. Specifically, I learned about situations to watch out for, escape routes, and how to safely perform emergency braking.

My loyal companion during the MSF course

Next is the gear that I choose to wear. While some people think it looks cool for guys to roll around in white tank tops and cutoff jeans, I plan on being much more protected. I have a DOT helmet with a full suit of adventure gear containing padding in every location you could possibly have padding. While adventuring, I also have motocross boots that will provide much more protection over regular shoes. Gear is one thing I did not go cheap on because I really intend to be fully protected at all times. All the gear, all the time. It’s a cheap price to pay compared to a hospital stay.

Riding gear with as much reflective material as possible

My last line of defense is bringing other people’s attention to the fact that I am there. I do this by wearing bright colors and having as many reflective items on as possible. The CRF has a full-time headlight so hopefully that will help as well. What I am not going to do is dress like a black ninja and go riding in the dark. People ignore motorcycles enough as it is, no need to make it easier for them to do so.

DOT helmet with extra reflective stickers and a nice face shield

Overall, riding a motorcycle is dangerous, no doubt about it. But there are ways to mitigate the risk and a lot of those mitigation factors rely solely on the maturity of the rider, whether that be in riding style or gear selection. I’m not out there to race everything on the road or think I’m invincible. I’m out there to enjoy the ride and be safe doing it.

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