GEM encourages motorcycle safety

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has issued a list of seven simple tips to help motorcyclists put safety first on journeys this summer.

GEM chief executive David Williams MBE comments: ‘Most motorcyclists show high levels of anticipation and observation; these are vital for staying safe. But we all have to take responsibility for our own actions, and we have a duty to drive or ride within the laws.’

Follow GEM’s simple ‘lifesaver’ safety tips and reduce the risk of being involved in a collision:

  • Check your motorcycle before riding. In particular pay attention to tyre pressures, tread depth, chain (if fitted) tension and lubrication and make sure all controls move freely and – where possible – are adjusted to suit you.
  • Make sure you are wearing appropriate safety clothing manufactured to a recognised standard. The law only covers the crash helmet, but nowadays both leather and textile garments come with protection for vulnerable areas. Remember there is no such thing as a cold wet motorcyclist, only a badly prepared one!
  • Take time to warm up, especially if you are not a regular rider and not ‘bike fit’. Ease into the ride and make sure everything is working as it should and the tyres have warmed up before you start increasing your speed and lean angles.
  • Make use of all your senses when riding. You are not cocooned in a tin box so you can smell diesel and mown grass, and you can hear approaching sirens. Because you are sitting higher than most cars you can see things well in advance, giving you more time to react.
  • Motorcycles have a small silhouette, so always try and position yourself so you can see into the mirrors of the vehicle ahead. If you can see the driver they can (hopefully) see you, but never assume. Trust only your senses and skill.
  • A motorcycle is very manoeuvrable and nimble so can filter through and past stationary and slow traffic. But do so at an appropriate speed and give yourself time to react and stop if a car suddenly turns. A rider with real skill filters slowly rather than at speed.
  • Remember your journey only finishes when you turn off the engine and place the machine on its stand. Make sure the ground is safe for the bike and it will not roll off the stand, causing damage or injury. Also, consider machine security to ensure it is still there when you next want to use it.