Riding a bike is a fun, exciting and practical way to get around. It is also a risky activity. Always remember on thing: Touring is for Joy not for Records. When ever you go for Records, it always includes some kind of risks. These risks can be minimized/ avoided if you care to follow a few safety norms. Here are a few points that just may save you some trouble down the road. Follow these guidelines and drive safely while you are on long tour.
1. Get in gear: A helmet, eye protection, boots and gloves best protect you against injury in case of an accident. Be sure to wear them every time you ride.
2. Get insured: Make sure you and your bike are both properly licensed before you head out. Get insured so that you and your passengers are adequately protected. And make sure you are aware of the current road conditions.
3. Ride smartly: Use your headlight, avoid other drivers’ “blind spots,” don’t make rapid lane changes and be prepared to use your horn so you can be certain other drivers see you.
4. Ride defensively: Three-fourths of all two-wheeler accidents involve collisions with automobiles. They happen because the driver of the car did not see the two-wheeler. That is why it pays to be aware of what the other vehicle operators are doing: or might do: when you ride. Be extra aware of drivers waiting to turn left across your path at intersections since this is the most frequent problem in India.
5. Keep your distance: Don’t ever stop directly behind another vehicle. If you leave enough space, you’ll be able to maneuver around the vehicle in front of you in case an approaching vehicle doesn’t see you and can’t stop in time.
6. Don’t drink and ride: About half of fatal two-wheeler accidents involve alcohol. That is because alcohol and other drugs impair your ability to make sound judgments. So when you’re drinking, let someone else do the driving.
7. Have your bike checked regularly: Follow the recommended service schedules for your bike and have all repairs made by an authorized dealer because they are having good service station equipped with good tools and better workers. What’s more, always check your bike’s tyres, suspensions and controls before hitting the road.
8. Learn to share: Having someone on the back of your bike is a big responsibility. After all, weight has a tremendous effect on handling. So before you give someone a ride, instruct them on proper riding techniques on various kinds of roads and make sure they have appropriate protective gear.
9. Helmet: A helmet protects your head, and is the only thing that keeps you from a fatal head injury. It is supposed to break on impact. Only a good quality helmet should be bought. The jaw covered is the safest. Also it provides protection from drag force caused by wind.
10. Brakes: Remember to check your brakes every time you take your bike for a drive. Also remember to do this when you collect it from the garage. In the rainy season water goes into the shoes and brakes may not work: Drive slow. This may also happen at steep slopes -don’t speed up at the slopes. In the case of disk brakes… always check the oil leakage before starting your journey. If you find anything wrong, please go to the authorized service station because a single small air drop can make your disk brake ineffective.
11. Air pressure: Always remember to check the pressure in the tyres periodically. It is especially important to keep the correct tyre pressure when going on a long drive. This helps you to travel safely on rough terrain. There is also less wear ‘n’ tear for both the tyres and the bike, and it gives more fuel efficiency. Tyre condition is another factor to observe. Tyre must be in good condition without any cracks, with good trends. Cracked tyre can easily get punchered and creates trouble.
12. Carrying Passengers on your two-wheeler: A bike is very unlike any other vehicle like a car or any other four-wheeled vehicle, as it does not have any of the safety measures that are present in them. Therefore, driving a motorcycle is a task that has to be taken with the utmost caution. If you intend to carry passengers on your bike, there are a few precautions you must take for a safer ride.
To start with, you must be an experienced biker, and your motorcycle should be equipped to carry passengers other than you.
As it takes time for you to adjust to the other person’s weight, you should ideally drive at a slow speed before revving up the engine. Take it slow, initially. It will help if your co-rider is seated directly behind you, and after you’ve started the bike. He/she can assist you in asking for route information; traffic signals etc. Apart from your driving skills, a few technical details are to be taken into count. This would include modifying your suspension to withstand additional weight, checking tyre pressure etc.
13. Carrying loads: Unlike a four-wheeler that has ample space for any luggage you might want to transport from one place to another, your bike is not equipped for any such function. If the load is too heavy, imbalance is always a possibility. However, small loads can be carried with caution. Proper positioning and fastening of the load is a must. Try keeping the load light and low. Check it at every stop that you make for proper fastening and positioning. The load should not be kept behind the rear wheel to avoid affecting the centre of gravity and balancing of the vehicle.
Though most of us do not care to go through the owner’s manual, it is extremely important that you consult it before carrying any kind of loads on it. Do not keep the objects in separate bags but encase them in one so that you can easily manage them. Also, an uneven load will cause the bike to lean on one side, making it dangerous.
14. Choosing Eye Protection: Eyes, the most sensitive sense organ, are exposed to the pollution and swift wind that may cause irreparable damage to them. Therefore protection of this most precious gift to mankind is to be kept in mind while riding a motorbike. The use of a helmet is the best mode to keep particulate matter (like dust and dirt), rain, insects and debris away from your eyes, besides providing safety to your head and face, in case of an accident. But enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses is essential. Wearing a face shield is also advised if you wear glasses to prevent them from being blown off.
Moreover goggles should not be worn while driving at night and even during the day time dark glasses should be avoided as they may reflect the sunlight into others’ eyes. The other consideration while choosing glasses or goggles should be that it covers your eyes entirely. Do not forget to check if the glasses are shatter proof or not. In the eventuality of an accident, you must not run the additional risk of having shattered glass pieces in your eyes.
15. Brake properly: You are moving along merrily, a song on your lips, and suddenly…disaster strikes. There’s a pothole right in front of you, and before the brakes could be applied, you are down under. To avoid this scenario, you should have a fairly clear knowledge about applying the brakes and stopping your bike whenever needed. To start with the basics, a two-wheeler has two brakes; Needless to say, both are needed to stop effectively. However, in an emergency, or even otherwise, you should apply both the brakes simultaneously, not one at a time. If you apply the front brake first, it will assist you in slowing down, and immediately, the rear one can be applied.
As for how to apply brakes, though there is no set rule, but it will help if you squeeze the front brake first, and then press down the rear brake, with increasing pressure. Brake gently and with caution when you need to take a turn while braking. Use both the brakes.
16. Position yourself: A two-wheeler is in itself a dangerous vehicle, to be driven carefully. Balancing is an art that has to be mastered while driving a motorbike. Proper positioning is one of the related points that come to mind while on the subject. To make motorbike riding safe, it is advisable that the handgrips are held firmly so that you do not lose control if you happen to skid or have to stretch while driving. Try not to sit at a distance from the handle as it will impede quick reaction when you need to veer away in the opposite direction, or make other directional changes. An erect body while driving helps in better driving.
Your foot should be in the perfect position while driving a motorbike. The best position would be a firm footing on the foot pegs. While ensuring that balance is maintained, it would also be near to the controls, and make life easier and safer while driving through crowded city streets.
17. Tool Box: Many bikers use to remove the tool box provided by the company from their bikes. Many more keep it with bike but don’t know how to use, when to use and where to use. So before starting your journey, get through knowledge about tool box and also for each tool.
18. Medical Kit: Also keep basic medicals with you while touring.
19. Consciousness: Always drive with conscious mind. Keep observing on road and off road happenings. Stop when ever you find appropriate place to refresh. Also keep your eyes on fuel indicator, engine trouble indicator (if available), and Battery voltage indicator (if available) etc.
20. LOVE your Bike: Don’t hassle your bike otherwise bike will hassle you. Ride it with keeping the comfort in mind for both the sides.