Motorcycle Roadway Safety
Motorcycling is a unique experience; the rider is an active participant in negotiating curves, playing along with the rhythm of the road, shifting, accelerating and braking with precision. Whether you ride to and from work, prefer the camaraderie of a group ride on the weekend or enjoy the vistas of an off-pavement excursion, motorcycling engages all your senses and creates an exhilarating sense of freedom.
Along with that freedom comes responsibility. All states require some form of license to ride on the street to demonstrate a minimum level of riding skill and knowledge, and liability insurance is required. If your state does not require a hands-on training course before applying for a license, consider taking one anyway to learn basic riding skills and how to stay safe in traffic.
Riding a motorcycle requires a heightened sense of awareness, and more strength and coordination than driving a car. Riding also involves some risks not encountered when driving other vehicles. Motorcycle riders require more maneuvering skill and are more vulnerable in a crash. Motorcycles are not as easily seen as cars or trucks because of their narrow profile. Other motorists, particularly those who don’t ride a motorcycle, may not be looking for motorcycles in traffic. This places the motorcyclist at risk, particularly at intersections.
All these risks can be managed through training and education. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers a wide variety of tips and videos on general riding safety, as well as on specific aspects of motorcycling. Check out complete the MSF Library.
MSF offers an interactive, 3-hour online course, the Basic eCourse, which is a key component of the hands-on Basic RiderCourse, but can be also completed as a stand-alone program. Graphics and videos help you understand principles of motorcycling and determine whether riding is right for you. The Basic eCourse includes a Spanish language option.
The MSF Basic RiderCourse is a great place to start once you've made the decision to ride. The BRC covers the basics of operating a motorcycle:
Straight line riding
Safety-oriented mental strategies
You’ll learn that safe riding depends as much on the mental skills of awareness and judgment as it does on the physical skill of maneuvering the machine. Motorcycles and helmets are provided for your use. Successful completion of this course – which typically includes the 3-hour Basic eCourse, five hours of formal classroom activities and 10 hours of riding instruction conducted over two or three sessions, plus knowledge and skill tests -- may waive the license test in your state. The course may also earn you an insurance discount.
● Motorcycle helmet use from NHTSA
● RideApart publishes its list of the 10 most common causes for motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them, complete with videos taken by helmet crash cams of what can go wrong
● How to select the right helmet from NHTSA
NSC provides Defensive Driving Courses that help drivers improve driver safety skills. Learn how to handle real-life driving scenarios from NSC driver training modules, how best to avoid distracted driving to reduce the potential of a tragic incident and how prescription medications may cause impairment.
Learn about motorcycle safety statistics and facts by visiting InjuryFacts, which for 100 years has been the go-to source for safety facts.