Here are some tips to make your teen a better and safer driver. Use them to
reduce your teen’s risk of a fatal accident.
Teens who ride motorcycles do so for a variety of
reasons. Some motorcycle riders in Indiana choose to ride a bike because of
the incredible gas mileage a modest motorcycle offers. Others choose to ride
the baddest hog – thriving on the adventure of the open road.
In addition to thoroughly reading the Motorcycle
Manual, obtaining a motorcycle license, and registering your bike at the
Indiana BMV, there are many responsibilities and safety concerns that a
motorcyclist needs to understand in order to safely and responsibly ride the
Motorcycling can be dangerous. The latest vehicle mile travel
data show motorcyclists are about 27 times as likely as passenger car
occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 6 times as likely to
be injured. Safe motorcycling takes balance,
coordination, and good judgment. Here are some ways to improve the odds that
you'll be around to enjoy riding your motorcycle for many years to come.
Before you take the
Make sure you are properly licensed
Driving a car and riding a motorcycle require
different skills and knowledge. Although motorcycle-licensing regulations
vary, all states require a motorcycle license endorsement to supplement your
automobile driver's license. To receive the proper endorsement in most
states, you'll need to pass written and on-cycle skills tests administered
by your state's licensing agency.
Some states require you to take a state-sponsored rider
education course. Others waive the on-cycle skills test if you've already
taken and passed a state-approved course. Either way, completing a
motorcycle rider education course is a good way to ensure you have the
correct instruction and experience it takes to ride a motorcycle. For the
motorcycle rider-training course nearest you, call the Motorcycle Safety
Foundation at (800) 446-9227.
Practice operating your motorcycle
Given the fact that motorcycles vary in handling and
responsiveness, be sure to take the time to get accustomed to the feel of a
new or unfamiliar motorcycle by riding it in a controlled area. Once you
feel comfortable with your bike, you can take it into traffic. Make sure you
know how to handle your motorcycle in a variety of conditions (e.g.,
inclement weather or encountering hazards such as slick roads, potholes, and
road debris). If you plan to carry cargo or a passenger, be prepared to make
adjustments to the tires, suspension, and placement of the load.
Be sure your motorcycle is safe
Before every ride, you should check
the tire pressure and tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights and
signal indicators, and fluid levels. You should also check under the
motorcycle for signs of oil or gas leaks. If you're carrying cargo, you
should secure and balance the load on the cycle; and adjust the suspension
and tire pressure to accommodate the extra weight.
If you're carrying a passenger, he or she should mount
the motorcycle only after the engine has started; should sit as far forward
as possible, directly behind you; and should keep both feet on the foot
rests at all times, even when the motorcycle is stopped. Remind your
passenger to keep his or her legs and feet away from the muffler. Tell your
passenger to hold on firmly to your waist, hips, or belt; keep movement to a
minimum; and lean at the same time and in the same direction as you do. Do
not let your passenger dismount the motorcycle until you say it is safe.
When you're on the
Wear the proper protection
If you're ever in a serious motorcycle crash, the best
hope you have for protecting your brain is a motorcycle helmet. Always wear
a helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside
back of the helmet. That is the manufacturer's way of certifying the helmet
meets the DOT standard. A certified helmet also will have a permanent inside
label identifying the manufacturer and providing information about the care
and use of the helmet. Helmets meeting FMVSS 218 weigh around three pounds;
have a thick polystyrene-foam lining; and sturdy chinstraps. ANSI or Snell
labels are voluntary indicators of helmet quality. Don't leave your helmet
behind on short trips because it could be a deadly mistake. Some motorcycle
helmets, in addition to offering protection to your head in a crash, include
plastic face shields that offer protection from wind, rain, insects, dust,
and stones thrown up from cars. If your helmet doesn't have a face shield,
be sure you wear goggles because eyeglasses won't keep your eyes from
watering, and can easily fall off.
Arms and legs should be completely covered when riding
a motorcycle, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim. In addition to
providing protection in a crash, protective gear also helps prevent
dehydration. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles,
while gloves allow for a better grip and help protect your hands in the
event of a crash. Wearing brightly colored clothing with reflective material
will make you more visible to other vehicle drivers.
Experienced riders know local traffic laws - and they
don't take risks. Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane
markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between
your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before
you change lanes. Remember to ride defensively. The majority of
multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes generally are caused when other drivers
simply didn't see the motorcyclist. Proceed cautiously at intersections and
yield to pedestrians and other vehicles as appropriate. You can increase
your visibility by applying reflective materials to your motorcycle and by
keeping your motorcycle's headlights on at all times, even using high beams
during the day.
Be alcohol and drug free
Alcohol and drugs, including some prescribed
medications, negatively affect your judgment, coordination, balance,
throttle control, and ability to shift gears. These substances also impair
your alertness and reduce your reaction time. Even when you're fully alert,
it's impossible to predict what other vehicles or pedestrians are going to
do. Therefore, make sure you are alcohol and drug free when you get on your
motorcycle. Otherwise, you'll be heading for trouble.