Motorcycle Safety is something that we ought to seriously think about, some people tend to worry about it, but the majority never give it a second thought, do too little or nothing about it! For the majority, it seems that protective clothing is too expensive or is it restrictive?
It is this kind of riders that are contributing to the increasing death rate for motorcycle riders worldwide. While we are contributors to our own accidents, injury and death rates, we are also victims of other motorists at an alarmingly frequent rate!
Much as the motorcyclists are the motorists’ big “nightmare”, the motorist likewise could be termed the same! Each one of us drives or rides in an own confinement that may be categorised as “zones”, this virtual zone, coupled with perceived priorities, put you in danger of encroachers that think or want to demarcate their own zones!
One of the greatest causes of death or injury, and the leading mortality factor for bikers, is not being seen by nearby motorist. Many people have died simply because another motorist didn’t see them.
It’s not that people in cars can’t see bikers, they just don’t see them. Motorists get into the habit of driving "in zone and not necessarily in a full awareness mode. We are all guilty of it.
Driving becomes so second nature that it’s almost a reflex rather than an activity. As motor vehicle drivers, it becomes especially easy to drop into the zone while we enjoy our favourite CD, play or chatting off on the mobile phone or even enjoying a bite while driving.
While in the zone, we tend to see mostly obvious objects such as big vehicles and other attention grabbing objects. These big objects break through the "zone and motorist respond accordingly by stopping, slowing down, or clearly signalling an intended turn.
Are there records of accidents when the drivers or bikers were truly making an effort to drive or ride cautiously? Probably not in the rain or during a terrible storm when the driver or rider was most cautious!
This zone can be a very cosy place for most road users, but its a deadly zone for any rider. Our bikes are not big enough or loud enough to break through the zone. Even the times someone else hit us, we probably could have avoided or minimized the vehicle to vehicle contact had we not been in the zone.
The zone is the deadliest thing you will face as a motorcycle rider! Most times, the bikers want to compete for space with all sorts of drivers, they forget the fact that, though they are on the same road, they are in different zones and hence may be invisible!
As a motorcyclist, if you want to avoid being injured or killed by another motorist, stay out of their zone! The best way to stay out of the zone is to ride defensively, assume every driver is in the zone, and most of all, call a lot of attention to you, your bike, and your presence.
A huge SCANIA truck does a pretty good job of staying out of the zone. Most motorists will absolutely see the SCANIA truck. Your tiny motorcycle is another story completely, It very comfortably hides in its own open lane and that’s a fact! Your bike calls very little attention to itself and if you believe otherwise, you are in the zone right now!
Often, a motorist appears to look right at you and still may pull out in front of you. Bikers need a much bigger zone presence and anything you do to increase your zone presence can save your life!
Fortunately, there are a few inexpensive things you can do to increase your Zone presence and some of them only require a few minutes of your time. First, do you ride in daylight with your headlight on? Is head lamp properly adjusted for maximum legal beam height?
Many bikers are riding in daylight with the low beam or even turned off. That’s a grave mistake that could cost you your life! Besides, many bikes have a misadjusted headlamp pointing way too deeply into the road.
These are the lucky few; you should be able to pick out the high visibility bikes immediately. Well lit bikes simply have a great street presence and headlamps can be your greatest defence against an opposing left turn in front of your bike. Honestly, brightly lit bikes are hit less often than dimly lit ones.