Underestimating the risks while riding can have disastrous consequences. Last year alone, 206 motorcyclists died on Australia’s roads and for every rider killed in a crash, around 35 more are admitted to hospital. In fact, motorcyclists can be up to 20 percent more likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash than other motorists.
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has long been an advocate for safer roads for drivers and riders alike, so we sat down with David Young, Senior Road Safety Specialist, to get some advice on avoiding an accident.
#1 – Prep properly
“Interestingly, when it comes to being as safe as possible on the roads, most of what you can do comes before the ride” says David. “Especially if you’re going to be heading out on unfamiliar ground.”
Do a quick recce of your route on Google Maps to suss out any particularly hairy sections. Fatalities happen on all kinds of roads, so being able to pre-empt sharp bends, know when high-speed limits kick in, and where to expect heavy traffic in urban areas will all help make for a safer ride.
#2 – Vet your gear
The list of potential injuries is long for motorcyclists with some of the more serious injuries including severe friction burn and brain trauma. Wearing the right protective gear can go a long way in keeping the crash aftermath to a minimum, but do you really know how safe your kit is?
“But if you’re getting your gear from outside of Australia, we advise that you check each individual piece has been approved or evaluated to meet the top safety and quality standards, so you’ve got total confidence in what you’re wearing.”
The TAC is also a big advocate of prevention being better than cure, so try to choose stuff that will make you visible from distances to reduce the risk of colliding with another vehicle. It’s also worth investing in items with added reinforcement, like impact protectors, wherever you can get them, too.
#3 – Keep control
Bike safety has come a long way over the last few years, thanks to improvements in anti-locking braking system (ABS) technology. The name’s a dead giveaway, but just so you’re clear: ABS is the hidden tech that stops your wheels from locking up when you hit the brakes.
“We know from research that ABS has a big influence on loss of control and therefore the potential of a crash – particularly if you happen to get caught up in any unexpected adverse weather,” explains David. “Some of that research actually shows ABS could reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury by up to 31 percent.”
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, one thing to be aware of is that only about one in five new motorcycles currently come with ABS as standard, so make sure you’re actively checking out those models next time you’re looking for an upgrade.