Ride easy—ride safe
Some of the greatest motorcycling pleasures are reserved for those who head out onto the open roads. It’s the highway that reveals the joy of shifting your body weight in unison with your bike as you lean into the sweeping s-bends. It’s the open road, shared with like-minded bike club members, that provides so many fond memories. Here too safety is paramount.
As pleasurable as motorcycling is, the fact remains that for every kilometre travelled, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die or be seriously injured than other motorists (ors.wa.gov.au).
Part of riding safely is riding at ease—that is within your limits and the limits of the conditions around you. Although more motorcyclists sustain serious injuries within metropolitan areas, the higher speeds on the open road make it more likely that a crash will be fatal.
• Maintain safe stopping distances and that includes when you are travelling in a group of motorcyclists
• Be alert for road hazards. When you are travelling at open road speeds you are covering a lot of ground very quickly and road surface conditions can change very rapidly
• Slow down on the approach to a corner and then ease off the brakes as you enter the corner
• Use your body weight to help you steer. Match the amount you lean your body to the corner and the conditions—don’t lean the bike over too much especially in wet conditions—in other words, lean your body not the bike.
• Take rest breaks before you need them: tiredness or inattentiveness can kill you.
Swerve to survive
One of the great joys of motorcycling is the smooth, fluid transition from corner to corner but there may be a time when you need to take emergency evasive action. It may be an object that falls off the trailer in front or an animal darting across the road but if you need to swerve make sure that you lean your body as well. You should master the art of sudden cornering, perhaps in an empty car park or better yet as part of a motorcycle safe riding course.
Sometimes poorly loaded bikes or incorrect tyre pressures can set up what is known as, ‘speed wobbles’. If this occurs or your bike sustains a puncture, maintain a calm, relaxed balance. Do not brake suddenly but slow down gradually.
Get your gear on
The points about protective gear for smaller bikes—see Motorcycle Safety—Commuting and bikes up to 500cc—all apply here on the open road. However, owing to the higher speeds and greater impact forces that can be generated in open road accidents you should think about adding body armour such as chest protectors and neck and back braces.
If you are carrying a pillion passenger, make sure that they have the right gear also.
Make sure you are equipped and informed to make the most of your bike and the open road.
Take a look at: “Motorcycle Safety Foundation Guide To Group Riding”. This is an oldie but a goodie video on YouTube.
https://www.esurance.com/info/motorcycle/8-rules-for-group-motorcycle-riding is a good basic reference, thanks to esurance.