A lot can be said for rider safety, especially in a country such as South Africa. But I think riders everywhere would agree that the roads are not as safe as they used to be, and bikes are faster now than ever before. Therefore it is important that every rider pay attention to ensure his or her own safety.
So a few points that may assist you in ensuring a safe journey:
Let us now address the age-old issue known by many names. Lane splitting. Line hopping. Line riding. In essence, the act of riding on the white line between lanes. I know a lot of riders do this to avoid traffic, this is twofold, as it reduces travel time and keeps the bike from running hot. However, non-bikers tend to dislike this and believe it’s against the law. Luckily for us it isn’t, but please double-check the laws in your region. Here’s the catch, cars in slow-moving traffic tend to switch lanes and bikers tend to get caught up in this mess. Keep a manageable speed, and be alert. Think about every possible action the cars ahead of you can perform.
Going along with the above is the issue of speed. That sweet, sweet temptress all true riders chase after. In many cases to our detriment. If the ignorant lane-changer doesn’t get us, the speeding fines surely will. Therefore, in my opinion, keep the speed well within the limits while traveling in urban areas. Leave the high-speed runs for when you are well outside urban areas and the reach of traffic.
Furthermore, keep your bike well maintained. A large percentage of bike accidents are caused by mechanical failure. Checking tire pressure, oil and coolant levels, remaining brake pad material, and light functions before a trip is of far more importance than most riders realise. If any of these components are not up to scratch, top up fluids, replace brake pads and check your electronics.
On the topic of electronics, riders should ensure that all the motorcycle’s running lights are functional. In a country such as South Africa, law dictates that riders should keep their headlights on at all times. Even if this is not mandatory, a running light or headlight greatly increases the notability of a motorcycle and therefore I recommend keep yours on at all times.
Alas, being mindful of one’s machine and surroundings can only decrease risk to a certain extent. This brings me to an old saying “Dress for the fall, not for the jol(party)”. Therefore wear all your protective apparel regardless of the weather conditions. In the event that your skill or machine lets you down, your gear will keep you from injury to a certain extent.
Ride safe and enjoy the journey