Motorcycle Safety Tips for New and BAMBI Riders
Since the economy tanked and gas prices began to run amok a few years ago, motorcycle sales have enjoyed a boom time. After all, fuel costs and insurance typically are lower than they are for your gas-guzzling full size truck or SUV. And then there’s Sons of Anarchy – the crazy successful FX network show that some pop culture pundits say has lent the motorcycle industry a bit of a popularity boost.
As a result, America’s roadways today are filled with relatively inexperienced, but nonetheless licensed motorcycle drivers. If you’re among them, welcome to the club. Motorcycle enthusiasts are a bit of a brotherhood, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, riding a vintage Indian you pieced back together yourself, or a shiny new Rolex ride.
Then, there are the BAMBIs, or “Born Again MotorBIkers.” These are riders who, for whatever reason (age, jobs, nervous and nagging spouses, etc.) parked their bikes for a decade or so and have only recently revved them up and headed out onto the highways again. While you may, indeed, “still got it,” you also likely have slower reflexes, weaker eyesight and more brittle bones than you did the last time you straddled a bike.
If you’re a newbie, E3 Spark Plugs has a few tips to help keep you and those sharing the roadways with you safe. And if you’re a BAMBI, suck it up and read ‘em, too. Chances are you could use a refresher:
- Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. Today’s models typically are faster and more powerful than they were even a decade ago. Make sure you can easily mount the bike, that you can idle with both feet flat on the ground and that handlebars are in easy reach – even if you’re opting for a set of ape hangers.
- Invest in antilock brakes. Research shows that motorcycles equipped with antilock brake systems (ABS) are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than are bikes without them. That’s because ABS helps you retain steering control when you’re forced to stop quickly.
- Slow down. Forty-eight percent of motorcycle fatalities in 2010 involved speeding.
- Skip the cocktails. Alcohol was a factor in 42 percent of motorcycle crash deaths that same year.
- Invest in antilock brakes
- Wear your brain bucket. We know, we know – it’s a sore point for many veteran bikers. But the stats back up the helmet laws – rider without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash. For those who live, there’s a tripled chance of sustaining brain injuries.
- Wear the right gear. And that ain’t shorts, a T-shirt and sandals. That’s more than a fashion faux pas, it’s a tragedy waiting to happen. Opt instead for a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear – even in the sweltering Southern summers. It’ll protect you from wind chill, flying debris, bugs and some serious road rash in the case of an accident.
- Hone your skills. There’s no shame in taking a few motorcycle courses, even if you’re a BAMBI. And in many states, it’s required for new motorcycle drivers and those renewing their licenses after a lengthy hiatus.
And of course, stock your bike with a set of E3 motorcycle spark plugs for a stronger, cleaner, more fuel efficient ride.