Keeping the Rubber Side Down: Motorcycle Safety Tips
Jarrod Beachum, PA-C
Tis the season for motorcycle riding. I used to ride myself up until a few years ago. I remember the joy of riding and know how eager many of you are to get out of the house and on the open road. I just wanted to remind everyone of a few safety tips that will help keep you safe on the roads and out of the ER.
The first step is to make sure your bike is in proper working condition. A good safety check consists of checking the battery, lights, tire pressure and tread, fluid levels, brakes, and chain. Make sure to address any oil leaks. Once on the bike, make sure the mechanical parts such as handlebars, levers, and clutch all work.
The next step is making sure YOU are in proper working condition. Riding a motorcycle involves most of your senses and requires a heightened awareness of your surroundings with the ability to quickly predict and react to changes in traffic. Before setting out on a trip, you should be well rested and hydrated. Do not drink alcohol or use any illicit drugs before or during riding. All the above can greatly dampen your sense of vision, hearing, balance, and reaction times. Riding with injury can also be problematic. Wrist, shoulder, ankle, and back problems can potentially impact your ability to control the motorcycle when it matters the most. Riding can also exacerbate those conditions.
Here are some final recommendations for safe riding. Always wear a helmet. In Tennessee it is required, but even if you are not in a state that requires it, do it. Riders without helmets are five times more likely to experience severe head trauma. Protecting the rest of your body means riding boots, long sleeves, and pants. Road rash is a strong risk factor for scarring and infection. Proper clothing can greatly reduce the damage from an accident. Drive defensively. Two-thirds of accidents are when cars cut off our right-of-way, usually when they are coming onto a street from a parking lot or other street. This is the major reason it is so important to be alert and well rested. Unfortunately, much of the responsibility for preventing accidents ends up on the shoulders for motorcycle riders.
Just as you take your bike in for a tune up, I encourage you to come in to 45 Urgent Care for a tune up to make sure you are in top riding condition. Be safe out there!
Jarrod Beachum, PA-C