Quick Tips for Staying Safe on Your Motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle can be a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous. Motorcycles represent 2.5% of all registered vehicles but 11.3% of traffic deaths. In 2006, motorcycles accounted for over 4,800 fatalities and 88,000 injuries in the United States. Specifically in Virginia, there were 2,601 motorcycle crashes which resulted in 126 motorcycle operator deaths and 2,284 occupant injuries in 2007.

Follow these safety tips in order to have a safe ride.

  • Use ropa brillante o reflectante para maximizar su visibilidad por la noche.
  • Wear a DOT, ANSI, OR Snell-approved helmet which are designed with hard outer shells and a retention system to protect the head and the brain in a variety of impacts. In 2006, 41% of those killed in crashes were not wearing a helmet.
  • Si su casco no está equipado con un protector facial, use anteojos o anteojos con lentes de plástico para proteger sus ojos contra insectos, viento, suciedad, rocas u otra materia en el aire.
  • Use coderas y rodilleras.
  • Use zapatos antideslizantes y evite usar sandalias, chanclas o zapatos con cordones.
  • Conduzca con el flujo del tráfico.
  • Obey the speed limits and never travel faster than your skill level or than the conditions allow.
  • Sepa cómo usar las señales de mano y las señales antes de dar una vuelta o cambiar de carril.
  • Tenga especial cuidado en las intersecciones, las entradas y salidas de los estacionamientos y los caminos de entrada.
  • Avoid hitting road hazards, such as sharp bumps and holes in the road surface. These hazards can cause loss of control or damage.
  • Sea especialmente consciente del tráfico que viene detrás.
  • Consulte con su DMV para averiguar dónde se llevan a cabo las clases de seguridad locales.
  • Get licensed. In Virginia, you must hold a valid class M endorsement on your driver license.
  • Register your motorcycle. In Virginia, you must have a VA title, registration card, and license plate.
  • Wear durable, non-slip gloves which provide firm grips on the controls along with long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket.
  • Learn how to use both front and rear brakes.
  • Learn how to properly downshift through the gears as you slow down or stop.
  • Pass vehicles with extreme care.
  • Keep your headlights on both day and night.
  • Reduce your speed when riding over bumpy roads.
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots frequently.
  • Use caution when riding in bus traffic and watch out for buses pulling to and from curbs and passengers getting on and off buses.
  • Do not block sidewalks, handicap and building accesses, or emergency drives when parking your motorcycle.

You should follow all of these general tips, but keep in mind that this checklist is not completely exhaustive and you should check with your state DMV for state specific rules.