When it comes to personal motorcycling safety, there are only two types of bikers: the ones who have been in accidents and the ones who will be in accidents.
This is true regardless of where you may be biking or the type of biker you are, accidents can and will happen, no matter how safely they ride.
Accidents are really an issue of probability and it is easy to write off riders who get into accidents as careless or reckless. But there are just so many ways to get hurt: an unexpected tire burst, a veering car, sudden drafts, invisible slicks… The truth is, the longer you spend on your motorbike, the higher the chances of you getting involved in an accident.
If you're a frequent rider or you travel a lot, this means a higher likelihood of meeting an accident. Assuming you already have a regular maintenance schedule, there are still some things you have to check before you go on your next long ride or road trip.
Here is a pre-journey safety checklist and suggestions from most motorbike insurance firms to help ensure you maximise your chances of accident-free travel.
1. Tyres and Brakes
This is standard procedure but often overlooked – your tyres should have good pressure, good threading and clean surfaces (no glass, no debris that could cause punctures). Test your brakes by straddling and pulling the front and then brake lever – your bike wheels shouldn't move even the slightest.
2. Lights and Cables
The lifetime of your lightbulbs are quite unpredictable so it's a good habit to check them before any ride and after every rest, especially if you're travelling in the evening. It's a good idea to have a spare bulb for headlights and brake lights so you don't have to worry if you can be seen after sundown.
3. Chains or belts
The good thing about modern bikes now is that the chains are easily removed for cleaning and adjusted so it takes only minutes to check that it's clean and oiled. Take those minutes and spare yourself a lot of worry.
You'll want the security of being able to call for help if anything happens on your road trip, especially in unfamiliar territory. Make sure you have your motorbike insurance company's contact and check that you're fully covered for breakdown assistance while travelling, especially once you cross the border. It might be a good idea to use specific travel insurance for the specific dates you are travelling.
You'll realise after going through the checklist that most accidents can be prevented or minimised by early preparation.
Remember, prepare yourself not simply for the event but for the eventuality of accident. It doesn't mean you take the fun out of riding, it just means you can stay riding as long as possible, as safe as possible.