Staying Safe as a Rider
Before Moving Off – Pre-Ride Checks
1. Wear appropriate safety gear at all times
Unlike in a car where you’re protected by a metal frame, riding a motorcycle makes you infinitely more vulnerable. Always be aware that you’re protecting the machine, and not the other way around – thus any impact would most certainly result in an injury of some sort.
It’s thus essential to always put on the appropriate safety gear, regardless of how short the ride may be. Wearing covered footwear, long pants, riding gloves and a riding jacket keeps your skin away from the tarmac in the event of an accident, saving you a painful trip to the doctor’s. Do also ensure that your helmet is not past its expiry date; this is no more than 5 years from date of production, typically printed behind the inner liner.
2. Ensure tyres are in good working condition
In an ideal situation, your tyres are the only contact your motorcycle has with the road. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure that they’re in good working condition, with no damage and sufficient tread depth.
The tread on your tyres has been designed to improve traction on the road, and to disperse standing water under rainy conditions. Having adequate tread depth is essential – for effective acceleration, smooth cornering and adequate braking!
While Riding – Safety Precautions
1. Always check your blind spots
The act of checking your blind spots is typically referred to by the painfully accurate ‘lifesaver glance’. It’s essential in all situations – when moving off, making directional changes, overtaking, or even when slowing down and stopping.
While on the move, it’s always a good idea to routinely perform a combination of mirror checks and blind spot checks to be kept updated on exactly what’s going on behind you. To minimise blind spots, you might like to consider getting additional blind spot mirrors fitted.
2. Don’t weave in and out of traffic
While lane splitting is legally permitted in Singapore, it’s always a good idea to have the mindset that all other road users are out to kill you. Extreme it might sound, but we’re sure that you wouldn’t want to be injured or killed by an inattentive driver that’s performing a last-minute lane change.
To stay safe and both yourself and other road users sufficient time to react, keep your speed differential – that’s the difference between your speed and other road users’ speed – to a maximum of 15km/h. Although this isn’t dictated by law, it’s a recommendation by experts based on studies of traffic behaviour.
3. Scan the road surface and anticipate other road users’ intentions
The road is an unforgiving beast, and can throw the worst surprises – gravel, potholes, or oil – at you at the worst possible occasion. Other road users, too, may throw curveballs at you by abruptly changing lanes or merging out in front of you.
Anticipation and foresight is key to stay safe on the roads. Ride defensively, and leave at least 6 metres between yourself and other motorists to give both parties sufficient space to react.