Road safety tips
Our advice for driving a two-wheel vehicle can be summed up in three words: awareness, attention and care. Furthermore, on all journeys you should always respect the traffic rules and road signs.
What are the most common risks faced by motorbike and moped riders?
1: Instability. Because they only have two wheels, motorbikes are unstable vehicles. Since they only have a single wheel per axle, motorists are required to use their own body as a counterweight in order to ensure the stability of the vehicle. This means that when you drive a motorcycle, as well as to the traffic around you, you must also pay attention to your balance on the vehicle.
2: Not being seen. The dimensions of motorbikes and mopeds often mean that drivers of other vehicles can’t see you. For this reason, you must make sure you have your lights on, and in good working order, both day and night. Don’t get too close to other vehicles, else you risk straying into the blind spot: drivers can’t see a motorbike or moped next to them in their rear-view mirrors.
3: Manoeuvring. Motorbikes are able to move laterally at great speed, which is highly dangerous. You must always indicate clearly and well in advance before you make such a manoeuvre.
4: Separation distance. There must be sufficient distance between your motorbike and the vehicle ahead of you in order to be able to stop without the risk of a collision.
5: Your eyes. You must be sure to wear eyewear (goggles, glasses) to protect your eyes from dust or dirt.
Other important risks include:
Speed: You must drive at a speed that is suitable for the type of road and traffic circumstances, allowing you to control or stop the bike in the case of any incident or emergency.
Stopping distance: This is the distance covered by a vehicle from the moment the driver sees a problem to the time the vehicle stops. This distance doubles when the road is wet, and can increase by up to ten times in the event of snow or ice. As such, in adverse weather conditions, riders of two-wheel vehicles must take even greater care when driving. Stopping distance is linked to reaction distance and braking distance. Drivers who are tired, distracted, sleepy or under the effects of alcohol or drugs have an increased reaction time. Braking time varies according to speed, weight, the road surface, the condition of the brakes and the tyre tread, amongst other factors.
It doesn't matter the engine of the motorcycle, you have to drive with caution
What should I avoid doing?
1: Under no circumstances should you drive wearing earphones, since they will prevent you from hearing the signals made by other vehicles or traffic officers.
2: Avoid transporting bulky or heavy luggage or objects that might destabilise the vehicle and affect the brake grip. If you have to make a long journey, position the load in such a way as to guarantee the balance of the bike and bear in mind that the heaviest luggage shouldn’t be placed at the back, but rather divided up in cases and bags on the tank.
3: Don’t overtake unless you are sure that it’s safe to do so.
4: Don’t go through the traffic lights when they are just about to change.
5: Don’t drive alongside other vehicles, zigzag across the road or impede the flow of traffic.
Road safety elements
You must adopt a responsible attitude and make sure that equipment such as your lights, rear-view mirror, signals, helmet and clothing are in proper condition, through periodic check-ups and maintenance.
Generally speaking, you must carry out periodic maintenance on parts of the vehicle like the lights, brakes and tyres, to check that they are in proper working order. Riders are advised to take their bike to an approved garage for a check-up once a year.
- Lights: allow you to see other road users and for them to see you. They must be in good condition and correctly positioned all year round.
- Brakes: check the level of brake fluid and the condition of the brake lever or brake pedal.
- Tyres: these must be the right size and type for your motorbike and the right pressure according to how you wish to use the bike. They must also be properly balanced and you should check them regularly for possible signs of wear.
What about passive safety?
First and foremost, helmets, alongside protective clothing, are the key elements for motorists’ safety. Helmets protect the head, as well as the face and chin, in the case of full-face helmets. They must be fastened securely.
You should only wear approved helmets. Light coloured ones are better than dark models, and these should feature reflective devices and the strap should close tightly around the neck. Make sure you check the expiry date. Equally, be sure to take good care of your helmet: for example, avoid strapping it to the side of the bike, where it can be damaged by heat and rain.
Glasses and visors help reduce glare and must be fog-proof. Try to avoid your visor getting scratched, as this may decrease your visibility in the rain or cause excessive glare, as well as generally reducing the helmet’s effectiveness.
We remind you that you should replace your helmet after any significant impact, since its characteristics and functionality will have been affected and it thus will no longer guarantee your protection.
As for clothing, to reduce grazing and road rash, the most effective option is the so-called one-piece suit, which protects the body and joints, as well as a pair of boots and gloves. At least for motorbikes, that is. As for mopeds, trousers, a long-sleeve jacket and shoes that are large enough cover the ankles, as well as gloves, will do the job.