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Road safety tips for motorcyclists

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Motorbike accidents and fatalities remain a major cause for concern in South Africa. According to the World Health Organization, traffic-related deaths are more prevalent in Africa compared to anywhere else in the world. The most at risk are vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, who unfortunately account for more than half of all deaths. 


The four main causes of motorcycle crashes, according to the Automobile Association (AA) are: right of way violations; loss of control in bends, corners and curves; speeding; and judgement errors.


To help address these key risk factors and causes, Auto & General suggests the following safety tips for both first-time motorcyclists and seasoned riders.


First, start by protecting yourself off the road:


  1. Know your ride: make sure that you are familiar with and well in control of your bike’s features, capabilities and limitations. Be especially careful when using someone else’s ride.

  2. Get the right gear: invest in quality protective gear and remember the golden rule of ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time. Correct helmet use can lead to a 42% reduction in the risk of fatal injury. When it comes to your choice of clothing, adding neon apparel sold by many motorcycle companies is recommended. The right pair of gloves are also essential and a thinner pair can provide better grip and control.

  3. Maintenance: make sure to keep your bike in a roadworthy condition. Routine duties include checking battery health, lubricating parts, changing the oil and filter, and keeping tyres in good condition. 

  4. Get motorbike insurance:  insurance doesn't only cover you from a financial perspective, but can also support you if you need medical assistance. As motorcyclists are at greater risk, we don't offer third-party bike insurance, only fully comprehensive. Take a look at our motorbike insurance offering here for more information. 



Ready to hit the road? Here's how to ride a motorcycle safely:


  1. Keep a safe distance from vehicles up ahead: by maintaining a safe following distance, you’ll have sufficient room and time to react should other vehicles make unpredictable and unsafe manoeuvres. Always look ahead for hazardous objects so you have time to plan the safest approach.

  2. Move safely and swiftly: timing is imperative. Once you’ve identified what action you need to take, whether it be overtaking, changing lanes, or turning, do so without hesitation.

  3. Don't be overconfident: no matter how experienced you are, there is always room to improve. Even the most seasoned riders can make common mistakes.

  4. Make the right choices: destructive influences like peer pressure or intoxication can lead to  fatal decisions.

  5. Every day is an opportunity to learn: continuously improve your riding by training under the guidance of expert professionals and learning from more experienced riders.

  6. See, be seen, and keep your eyes on the road: don’t fall in behind big vehicles or trucks that obstruct your view, and others’ view of you. Don’t rely solely on your mirrors and check your sides and over your shoulder before every manoeuvre. Signal every move with foresight and concentrate on the road at all times.

  7. Get the right momentum for turns: too much clutch and no clutch can both lead to your bike tipping over. For slower, tighter turns, ensure that you feather your clutch. This will give you the ideal momentum needed to make the turn.

  8. Corner cleverly: when cornering, ensure that you start on the outside of the curve. Delay your turn-in so you can see further ahead, and give yourself extra space to manoeuvre. Always look where you want to go. This is also true for emergency escape routes.

  9. Never make assumptions: always be on the lookout for vehicles about to change lanes – don’t assume they see you. If necessary, move out of the way, and avoid driving into other road users’ blind spots.

  10. Stay alert: According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, driving fatigue results in thousands of road accidents every year[3]. Stop every 120 to 200 kilometres if you're travelling a long distance. This way you will be alert and refreshed for your next stint.

  11. Ride with those you trust: if you’re driving in a group that is prone to pushing the limits too far and taking risks, this could endanger not only the entire group but other road users too. If you feel uncomfortable, rather leave the group than risk being involved in an accident.


Keeping the above tips in mind will help make the roads safer for all road users – giving us all peace of mind. 


Need a motorbike insurance quote?


With Auto & General, not only do you get motorbike insurance with one of South Africa's most trusted insurers, but a service you can trust - just check out our service promise. If you'd like to get a personalised motorbike insurance quote in minutes, simply click here

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