10 tips to help riders stay safe

1. Assume drivers can’t see you

Ride as though you and your machine are totally invisible to drivers – and never assume drivers can see you or that they will do the ‘right thing’. The odds are they can’t (or won’t) so believe it yourself and always have an ‘out’ for dangerous traffic situations. The only person who will keep you safe on the roads is YOU!

2. Maintain safe spacing

Leave plenty of space in front, behind and to the sides of other vehicles (this is called your ‘safety bubble’ – maintain it!). This improves your visibility – and gives you more time to react to situations.

3. Anticipate trouble

Anticipate potentially troublesome situations like junctions – and know what to do when you see them. Analyse what other vehicles/drivers/riders are doing and, if in doubt, hang back – don’t get in their way. They may do something you really didn’t expect. Always make sure you’re ready to avoid a bad outcome.

4. Be aware of right turners

Be aware of motorists turning right in front of you. Slow down as you approach a junction, have an escape route planned and stay visible. Don’t travel too close to the car in front of you. Position your bike so the right turner can see it – eye contact is not enough.

5. Always wear protective clothing

The best solution is to avoid a crash or collision in the first instance. But if you are involved in one, the right protective clothing may minimise the extent of your injuries – especially serious grazes, cuts and burns caused by skidding along the road surface. Good clothing will also help with temperature regulation.

6. Watch out for bends

Take extra care when taking a bend that you cannot see around – a parked car, cyclists or a farm tractor (etc.) may be just around the corner.

7. Take further/advanced rider training

No matter how experienced or careful you are, advanced rider training will improve the way in which you ride – and increase your chances of riding safely, and thus avoiding a crash or collision. You can find out more information about rider training in the training pages on this website.

8. Don’t give in to road rage

Don’t try and ‘get even’ with another rider or driver. It’s better to calm down, slow down and collect your thoughts before continuing with your ride.

9. Don’t allow tailgating

If someone is tailgating you, pull over and let them pass. A bike can stop faster than a car or lorry, so you don’t want another vehicle on your tail in case you have to brake to avoid a hazard. Don’t tailgate the vehicle in front of you – if they brake suddenly you will run out of time. Also, being too close when following another vehicle means oncoming vehicles won’t see you.

10. Maintain your bike

Regular maintenance will help keep your machine safe and roadworthy. Keep records of when you replace tyres, chains, clutch cables, batteries, brakes etc. and inspect them regularly – you don’t want equipment failure to contribute to a long stay in hospital – or worse.