Summer is here, and for motorcyclists, it doesn’t get any better than a long day on the open road. Those days are not without risk, however. More than 5,000 Americans die in motorcycle crashes each year — many of which are completely preventable. So before you hit the road, here are a few summer motorcycle safety tips.
1. Inspect Your Bike
If you kept your bike in storage for the winter, be sure to check it out before jumping on. Spend at least 10 minutes inspecting the bike and checking for any signs of damage or malfunction. Look for any issues with:
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Tire pressure
- Tire tread
2. Stay Cool
Those hot summer days can wear anyone out, but motorcyclists face an increased risk of sunburn, fatigue and heat stroke. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid overheating on your bike.
- Stop for air. Gas stations and rest stops are great places to relax in the air conditioning while you cool down.
- Ride early in the day. By starting your ride in the morning or early afternoon, you’ll avoid the hottest part of the day.
3. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration is important any time of year, but especially in the summer. As your body sweats, it loses the water it needs to function. Drinking water, and especially electrolytes, will help you stay cool and alert while on the road.
- Avoid overly caffeinated drinks. Drinks like coffee and soda will actually dehydrate the body over time.
- Make hydration a habit. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, make time to pull over and drink water every so often.
4. Stay Covered
T-shirts and shorts are great for summer days by the pool, but they’re a real hazard on motorcycles. Instead, invest in a set of lightweight gear specifically for the summer months. We recommend every rider dress for safety, which includes:
- A well-fitting helmet with high safety ratings
- A lightweight jacket that fully covers the arms
- A pair of padded gloves to protect the hands
- A pair of durable boots that firmly grasp the bike
5. Stay Aware
Without the protection of four walls and airbags, motorcyclists need to practice much more situational awareness on the road. Keep your focus on the road at all times and be wary of other drivers. Just like car crashes, most motorcycle crashes occur due to distracted drivers.
- Watch for hazards. Summer is a particularly bad season for potholes, which means loose gravel and uneven pavement.
- Practice defensive driving. Give other vehicles plenty of space and look out for any unexpected maneuvers.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Rain or fog can create hazardous road conditions. Consider delaying your ride if they’re in the forecast.
Be Safe, Have Fun
We understand the thrill of riding a motorcycle through a gorgeous summer sunset. But as personal injury attorneys, we’re often faced with the reality of motorcycle crashes. Even longtime riders can make simple mistakes that lead to major consequences. So this summer, follow these motorcycle safety tips to keep the roadways safe for everyone. Enjoy the ride!