Let’s face it, we live in a country where the majority of people choose to commute via motorcycles or mopeds or anything on 2 wheels. Accidents are inevitable but that does not mean we cannot prevent them or take precautionary measures to keep ourselves safe.
We all like to be daredevils and ride on a motorcycle, but that does not make us invincible. Unlike Ghost Rider, we have not sold our souls to the Devil, we still are humans and very very breakable. As The Fat Flash has mentioned in an earlier article, its quite simple, ATGATT – All The Gear, All The Time. It might sound silly but, this is the best prevention till date.
Before you ride out every morning, it is a healthy habit to walk around your motorcycle while she is warming up and do some basic checks.
– Headlight, flasher, blinkers and tail lamp should be working fine
– Check brake pads
– Freedom of steering
– Chain slack and lube
– Tire condition and pressure
– Inspect the side stand and center stand of your bike to ensure that they fold and stay up.
– As you roll off on your bike, be sure to thoroughly check your brakes to ensure proper functionality.
If you find something out of place, you can head down to the local mechanic and get it sorted. Better still, invest in a decent tool kit and learn to start working on your motorcycle yourself. Starter ratchet kits are economical and will help you tackle most small jobs on your motorcycle.
ON THE ROAD
Once you head out, always remember, it is difficult to be seen by everyone. One good habit to incorporate is to ride with the headlight always on. This way you are more visible to others on the road.
A few things to remember:
– Pay attention to your surroundings and always scan the road
– Avoid distractions such as listening to music while riding
– Don’t be shy to use your horn if you feel the other driver or rider is doing something which is making you uncomfortable
– Position yourself where you can be seen and where you can see the drivers face in his mirror. Avoid blind spots.
– In city traffic, maintain a 1 or 2 second gap from the vehicle in front and in areas where vehicles are moving freely, extend that gap to 3 seconds. This will give you enough space to brake suddenly if needed.
– Dusk is actually the most dangerous time to ride, when people’s eyes are adjusting from daylight to headlights.
– The distance between you and the vehicle in front of you becomes even more important as it gets darker.
– Wear a clear face shield without scratches. A scratch can create light refractions that may confuse you – two headlights can look like four, for example
RIDING WITH A PILLION
Who are we kidding, half the time we have someone sitting behind us. Few tips to follow when riding with a pillion :
– Suggest the passenger to wear a helmet as well or carry an extra helmet if you know you will be carrying a pillion
– Instruct your passenger to limit movement and talking
– Remember that the extra weight from carrying a passenger can affect braking procedures, starting from a stop, and riding through a corner
– Try and avoid sudden braking, as a passenger can move and bump your helmet with theirs
– You would require more time to overtake a vehicle
– Allow the passenger time to adjust to the speed of riding and the feeling of leaning.
– When in a corner, the passenger should look over the operator’s shoulder in the direction of the corner
-If the pillion is having difficulty sitting and keeps sliding forward advise them to squeeze their knees together. They will feel more secure and stable.
– The passenger should not make any sudden movements or turns.
– When an unexpected obstacle or bump comes up, it would be apt for the passenger to stand on the motorcycle pegs with knees slightly bent, allowing the legs to absorb the shock upon impact.
– Make sure the motorcycle has been started before the passenger hops on.
IF AN ACCIDENT DOES TAKE PLACE
Prevention is indeed better than cure. However, in a rare case, if you do meet with an accident, there are a certain things you must keep in mind during such situation.
Post accident –
– Avoid sudden movements and slowly assess the situation
– Remove keys from ignition and place them in your pocket.
– Clear out from the road.
– If there is no stinging pain 2 minutes post the accident, slowly take your helmet off.
– Check movement of your body, start with the neck, shoulders, arms, hip and legs. (This should be done only in the parts where there is no pain. Exercise precaution in the areas where you feel the pain)
– Remove jacket and gloves and make sure you place them close to yourself. And check for any kind of bruising.
– Keep calm and request people to give you enough space to breathe.
– Call or give the number to a bystander of someone who you wish to inform of the incident.
– In case another vehicle was involved, try and avoid confrontation and wait for the police to reach the accident spot.
– Even if there is no sign of injury, visit a hospital and let the experts clear you off.
Pro-Tip: It is a good idea to save your emergency contact on your phone, that way most phones will allow a bystander to make a call even if the phone is locked. This helps in cases when you lose consciousness or are unable to move.
Once all this has been sorted, its time to go check on your motorcycle. A motorcycle is rarely rideable post an accident. However, if you wish to ride the motorcycle or have it ridden by someone to the service station, these are few checks that could help you out:
– Brakes and accelerator should be working fine.
– Make sure both tires are inflated and no rim is bent.
– Avoid riding the bike if the handle bar and/or foot rests are bent.
– Tape up or tie up any loose wires.
– Request a friend to follow you.
Though these are the steps you can follow to ride your bike away from an accident spot, I would still suggest calling a tow truck as there might be some internal issues with the bike which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Hope this helps.