Safer riding tips

Motorcycle and scooter riders have a higher risk of death or injury compared to other vehicle occupants. Regardless of who causes crashes, there are things you can do to reduce your risk.

The key to staying out of trouble on the road is to:

  • continuously OBSERVE the road around you
  • ANTICIPATE what may happen that could be a risk to you, and
  • RESPOND by taking appropriate action before the risk increases.

Then you can stay in control and shouldn’t get caught in a risky situation where you have to brake suddenly or swerve sharply to avoid a crash.

As motorcycle and scooter riders aren't as wide as other vehicles, they can take advantage of the positioning in a lane to ensure they have an appropriate buffer from road hazards. Simply, this means moving away from and choosing the right position in the lane to avoid traffic or other hazards.

As the road environment is constantly changing choosing the safest position in the lane is crucial to low risk riding. This tactic takes continuous managing and alteration.

  • Always set up your speed before you enter the curve by backing off the throttle or braking before you begin to lean. Enter at a speed that will easily allow you to respond to anything that crops up. Depending on the conditions, such as in the rain, this may be below the advisory speed shown for a curve.
  • The key to riding safely through a curve is positioning yourself to have the maximum view possible of the road ahead, not only as you approach, but also as you ride through. Enter wide so you can see as far as possible around the corner, and finish in more tightly if the road is clear. This way you have better vision and you avoid the ‘head on crash zone’.
  • Always look ahead to where you want to go as you approach and move through a curve. This helps you keep to the right line all the way round as well as helping you to see a hazard more quickly and giving you more time to respond.

Many crashes with cars and other vehicles happen at intersections. The key to safety at intersections is to:

  • BE SEEN. Wear light/bright colours and use the headlight.
  • OBSERVE. Take in the big picture, scan ahead and to the sides and use your mirrors.
  • ANTICIPATE. Expect the unexpected and don’t count on other drivers seeing you.
  • RESPOND. Approach the intersection carefully and be ready to stop or take other evasive action.

Keeping a safe distance from other road users, parked cars and fixed objects on the side of the road gives you more time to see a potential problem and to respond if something unexpected happens.

  • Keep at least a 3 second gap to the vehicle in front.
  • Change lane position to maintain your survival space on each side.
  • Change lanes to get away from a tailgater or let them overtake.

All roads are different. Even a familiar road can change overnight because of rain, different patterns of road use, roadworks or unexpected traffic conditions.

Experienced riders 'read' the road and adapt their riding to suit.

  • In bad weather and poor light - increase the distance between you and other road users, slow down, wear light/bright coloured riding gear with reflective panels/strips and make sure your lights are on.
  • On variable road surfaces - observe the road ahead, anticipate and respond by slowing down and taking care when the road surface becomes tricky. Take care when you notice painted lines, shiny bitumen, loose surfaces, potholes, oil and tram or railway tracks.
  • If conditions are good remember this is when the majority of motorcycle and scooter crashes happen and speed is often a factor. The faster you ride, the less time you have to react, and the longer it will take to brake or take evasive action. Speeding increases the risk of a crash and being killed or seriously injured.

Reflexes, coordination and vision are key to controlling your bike. Riding when you are fatigued or impaired by alcohol or drugs can affect your control and concentration.

Motorcycle crash statistics

Regardless of who is at fault, as a rider you are 37 times more likely to be seriously injured than a car occupant per kilometre travelled. Riders account for around 14% of the road toll in Victoria with about 950 killed or seriously injured each year.

From motorcycle and scooter crashes that have been reported to police we know that:

  • half involve a motorcycle or scooter only with no other vehicle reported
  • half involve crashes with other vehicles – sometimes the fault of other drivers
  • around half of all crashes happen on curves
  • over a third happen at intersections where other vehicle drivers often do not see the motorcycle or scooter.

Download The Right Line [PDF 768 Kb] or visit Spokes website for tips on better riding.

Below you will find helpful information and tips on how to be a safer rider.

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