According to the Singapore Police Force, more than 50% of road accidents involve motorcyclists. Even though our roads have become safer with less fatality and injuries in an accident, motorcyclists remain a vulnerable group on the roads. After all, being on the bike means you are largely exposed to whatever can hurt you, even if it was a flying object that fell off from a lorry.
So while you may do your best to stay alert to your surroundings when riding, here are some common mistakes to avoid that can help you stay on the safer side.
Not Wearing the Right Gear
Do you know that you can prevent injuries or lessen the severity of any just by wearing the right gear? Yes, we know that it’s hard to put on layers in the heat of the sun, but there’s more than just your the suave motorcycle jacket we are talking about. Gearing up also means wearing pants/Jeans, riding gloves and covered shoes instead of bermudas and flip-flops.
Other than protective gear, you might want to wear clothes that have reflective stripes or brighter colours to ensure you remain highly visible at night.
Swerving In and Out of Traffic
You might be thinking, isn’t that the point of getting a motorbike? To cut through traffic when there’s a traffic jam so that you can jeer at the car-owners on the road stuck way behind you? If that’s really what you are thinking, you might be putting yourself in unnecessary danger. Swerving in and out of traffic makes it difficult to anticipate any movement from nearby vehicles when they start to move, making you vulnerable to being hit.
Riding when You are Tired
It’s already dangerous to be driving, so you can imagine the kind of danger you put yourself in when you ride on a motorbike when you are tired. If you have to ride late at night or after long hours at work, consider taking a break before riding or simply park your bike somewhere and collect it the next day. Your life is more precious than some parking fees.
Not Practising Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is a set of driving skills that allows you to defend yourself against possible collisions and accidents caused by bad drivers and poor road conditions. Defensive driving can help you avoid dangers on the road using safe driving practices such as the following:
- Keep to your left unless overtaking.
- Never ride when you have consumed alcohol or have taken medication
- Keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
- Always keep within the road speed limit.
- Slow down when approaching a bend.
- Anticipate pedestrians who may be jaywalking or looking to dash across the road
- Practice the 2-Second Rule – allow for two seconds between braking and making a full stop behind a vehicle.
- Stay out of the blind spots of large vehicles
Riding in Heavy Rain
Anyone living in Singapore would know that the weather can be unpredictable. You can have the hot sun at 34 degrees weather and just half an hour later, the heavy rain starts to pour. While it can be much more cooling to be riding in the rain, it can be twice as dangerous as well. While we wouldn’t say that you should avoid riding in the rain altogether, you’ll need to be extra cautious though. The following tips can help you have a safer journey when it pours:
- Watch out for the rainbows – no we don’t mean the ones in the sky, it’s the ones on the floor. Those colourful swirls are just slippery oil pools so be extra careful when you’re stopping or crossing intersections.
- Ride on a dry line whenever possible – this may sound commonsensical, but may motorcyclist simply ride along the roads without using the dry tire tracks made by the vehicles in front. Do remember to keep your eyes on the surrounding instead of just looking at the ground though.
- Apply more rear brake during wet weather than you would during normal road conditions. Try not to brake too strongly as well since there’s a likelihood of sliding.
- Stop riding when there’s lightning.
- Reduce your speed by up to 20% when it’s raining.
Having your own bike can give you lots of freedom, but your exposure to road accidents is exceptionally high compared to car drivers. In order to keep your journey safe, practise the above tips to prevent accidents and safeguard your No claim discount as well!