Tips for Staying Safe as a Motorcyclist

The UK is full of passionate motorcyclists. It is an exhilarating way to travel, but it also comes with risks.

Under the Highway Code, motorcyclists are considered vulnerable road users due to the fact that they are often less visible than cars and are not protected by the same safety features.

Sadly, this means that motorcyclists are statistically much more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a collision. In 2022, 16,962 road casualties involving motorcycles were reported, representing a five percent increase from 2019. Of these casualties, 354 were fatal.

There are, however, things you can do to make riding your motorcycle safer. We’ve listed five motorcycle safety tips in this guide – they include:

We’ll also look at what you should do if you’ve suffered a motorcycle accident and whether you could claim compensation. To find out more, keep reading or get in touch with our knowledgeable claims team today.

1. Wear protective gear

It is illegal in the UK to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet that meets British safety standards. Be wary of online sellers providing cheap protective headwear – it might look like the real thing but it may not be able to protect you in an accident.

The Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) is a great place to look when you’re searching for a new helmet. They provide ratings and reviews for helmets on the market, based on the level of protection they give.

As a motorcyclist, you don’t have the same outer protection as someone in a car. This is why it’s so important that you invest in the right kit. As well as a sturdy helmet, you should also look into buying:

  • Boots
    Most motorcycle boots are waterproof and many motorcyclists choose to buy taller pairs that will seal better to trousers and prevent water getting in. These style of boots can also provide greater shin and ankle protection in an accident.
  • Gloves
    These are important as your hands will often be the first part of your body to touch the ground in an accident. Make sure the gloves you choose fit well and will be comfortable enough for you to wear on long rides .

Most retailers offer summer and winter gloves, so make sure to consider the weather when you’re choosing which pair to go for. If you wear gloves that are too lightweight in the cold, you could risk your hands going numb and losing grip on the handles of the bike.

  • Jacket and trousers
    A lot of motorcyclists choose to wear leather as the material is strong and thick enough to protect the skin in the event of the bike sliding on the road. But this isn’t the only option. Just make sure the clothing you buy meets EN17092 Regulations.

You should also consider rule 86 of the Highway Code which states motorcyclists should make themselves as visible as possible. This doesn’t mean wearing full hi-vis, but clothing with fluorescent strips could reduce the risk of you being missed by another road user.

2. Inspect your motorcycle regularly

It’s important that you check your bike regularly to make sure that everything is in working order. Some of the key areas you should inspect include:

  • Brakes
  • Handlebars
  • Lights
  • Oil
  • Tyre pressure

If there is something that needs to be fixed on your motorcycle, don’t delay getting this seen to. Making sure your bike is fit for purpose is essential for ensuring your own safety and the safety of other road users.

We would suggest taking a quick walk around your motorcycle before and after riding it. This will help you to keep on top of any leaks, loose bolts or other issues that may need addressing. You should also make sure not to put off any routine services or MOTs.

3. Stay aware of your surroundings

A key part of motorbike safety is being aware of your surroundings. As a motorcyclist, you may not be as visible to other road users, especially in bad weather. But by preparing for road conditions and staying alert, you can minimise your risk of being involved in an accident.

Some of the main steps you can take to help keep you alert include:

  • Checking the weather forecast
    Before you head out on your bike, check the weather forecast for rain, snow or ice – especially if you’re going on a long journey. If the conditions don’t look good, it may be best to stay at home or use another mode of transport.
  • Leaving enough space
    From 2016-2021, 1,224 serious or fatal collisions involving motorcycles were due to a lack of space being left between vehicles. Try practising stops in a safe area so that you know exactly how much time you need to brake.
  • Taking away distractions
    Driving while distracted is never a good idea for any road user . But it can be even more dangerous for motorcyclists. Any distraction – such as loud music or a phone call – could interfere with your control of the bike and lead to an accident.

4. Check you’re in the right mindset

For a lot of people, riding a motorcycle is a way to escape the trials and tribulations of day-to-day life. But if you’re in a bad mood, feeling distracted or are on edge about something, it might be better to wait a while before getting on your bike.

If you’re not in the right mindset, you may find yourself unfocused while out on the road and this can result in severe consequences – both for you and other road users.

Relaxing yourself before setting off on a ride could also make controlling your motorcycle easier. Upper body tension can often make steering difficult, so a few deep breaths could help to improve your handling of the bike.

If you find yourself thinking about other things while you’re out on your motorcycle, try to note everything that’s happening around you. Some motorcyclists will even talk to themselves as they manoeuvre. Although this sounds odd, it can be very helpful for refocusing your attention.

5. Know your limits

As a motorcyclist, you’ll know that overthinking the dangers of riding a motorcycle can present a risk in itself. While it’s important that you pay attention to what’s happening while out on your bike, becoming overwhelmed at any point could put you in a dangerous position.

But what you should remain aware of at all times are your own limits in terms of your capability. Riding a motorcycle is a skill that needs to be developed over time. So although it can be tempting, try to avoid pushing yourself to complete complicated manoeuvres or riding more powerful bikes before you’re ready.

If you’d like to improve your skills in a safe environment, you could consider taking a motorcycle safety course. And even if you have years of experience riding a motorcycle, you may still find a course useful as a refresher.

Could I claim compensation for a motorcycle accident?

If you’ve been injured while riding your motorcycle, the most important thing to do is seek medical attention. In more severe cases, motorcycle accidents can result in head injuries, so it’s important that you get checked over to be on the safe side.

After this, you might consider making a motorcycle accident claim. To do this, you will usually need to prove that another road user was to blame for your injuries. Or, if your accident was caused by a defect in the road, the local authority responsible for maintaining it could be held accountable.

This is where we could help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.

To find out more, give our claims team a call or start your claim online.


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