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According to reports the biggest motorcycle accident hotspots are London and the South East, closely followed by the West Midlands. However that doesn’t mean rural or suburban roads are safe. A recent new article has reported the tragic death of a biker killed in Norfolk when a car turned across his path at a junction, the classic ‘sorry mate I didn’t see you’ scenario. So what can you do to ensure you don’t end up in the fatal accident statistics?
It is often said by bikers that they need eyes not only in the back of their head but everywhere else too. It’s true that you need to give your full attention to the road all the time. Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than other motorists; bikes offer no protection so if you fall off it’s always going to hurt!
NEVER assume that other drivers – or pedestrians – have seen you. They may be distracted by any number of things and not paying attention to what’s around them so you need to be doubly vigilant.
SPEED awareness helps. The rider in Norfolk was riding a powerful 1300cc Yamaha, but even smaller capacity bikes can reach speeds that gives you less time to react to hazards. Car drivers are often unable to judge the speed of a motorcycle which is coming towards them and so will pull out thinking they have plenty of time. Slow down when approaching junctions and turnings.
MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE. When approaching a junction and you see a vehicle waiting to pull out, position yourself towards the centre line rather than in the gutter, weave about a little even. Modern bikes have headlights permanently on but if you are on an older machine switch them on. Wear clothing that is light-coloured and reflective, especially at night. Many riders opt for hi-viz jackets or tabards. Dress appropriately for the weather; if you are too cold or too hot this may affect your concentration.
MAKE sure your eyesight and eye line is not impeded. If you need to wear glasses – put them on. Always keep your visor clear of bugs, dust, smears and scratches and make sure the visor is the correct one for your helmet. If your helmet is fitted with a black or tinted visor then carry a clear one to put on when it gets dark.
Finally, always ride as if everyone out there is determined to knock you off your bike and hopefully you won’t be!