Five ways to avoid a serious motorbike accident

It’s true that some motorbike accidents occur because a car driver didn’t see the biker in time. But in fact, around two thirds of such accidents happen because of a mistake made by the biker. Photo: dpa

It’s true that some motorbike accidents occur because a car driver didn’t see the biker in time. But in fact, around two thirds of such accidents happen because of a mistake made by the biker.

Each year, around 600 bikers die in road accidents. So what can bikers do to ensure they stay safe? Here are five things to remember.

FITNESS: Most bikers tend to be quite heavy, often weighing more than 200 kilograms. But riding a motorbike should be seen as a sport, and keeping fit should be a priority.

To be able to control the bike at all times, it’s especially important to have well-trained arm muscles. Another thing to pay attention to is how well you’re able to hold your balance – and this should also be trained regularly. Getting on a motorbike if you’re unfit is a huge risk.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Being able to see dangerous situations coming and knowing your own capabilities is extremely important. Try to practice breaking and swerving in a safe area every now and again. After a long break, you may want to retrain your muscle memory.

It’s also very important to train riding on different surfaces and under different weather conditions.

DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE: If you ride your motorbike on the same roads over and over again, you will naturally get to used to them, and stop paying as much attention to how you’re driving, because you’re safe.

But roads can change: An unexpected hole in the road can be a danger to inattentive bikers. Bikers should also make sure to be more cautious when encountering new roads — and avoid overconfidence.

FEAR: Some bikers, especially those with less experience, are afraid of getting up to the right speed in order to navigate corners and bends correctly. But this is a huge problem, as a large number of accidents happen in curves. Bikers need to learn how to lean into the corner as much as possible — and the number of accidents would likely decrease significantly.

Another factor in this is knowing the right time to break. If you break too soon, the bike will straighten up again, and then miss the rest of the bend.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Bikers will often overestimate how much their gear can actually do. This is not magic clothing. It can protect your skin in a fall, but it won’t save you if you hit a car or a tree. Don’t rely too much on the protective gear, but on your own awareness and caution. – dpa