This Friday, more than 100,000 motorcycle riders will travel through southwestern Ontario to the tiny town of Port Dover, population 6,400. They will be taking part in the “Friday the 13th” ride, an event described as “the biggest single-day motorcycle event in the world.” Here are some tips for a safe “Friday the 13th” and riding season:
- Get professional training. Benefit from a riding course to sharpen your skills and learn the latest techniques.
- Maintain your bike. Have it regularly maintained by a good mechanic and check it yourself before and after each ride.
- Dress for the fall, not the ride. The proper gear – which includes an approved safety helmet, eye protection, a motorcycle jacket, motorcycle pants, gloves and over-the-ankle boots – may reduce your risk of serious injury. Shorts and T-shirts are not proper riding attire.
- Wear bright colours or reflective material to make you more visible to motorists.
- Stay sharp. Keep your eyes moving and do frequent shoulder checks.
- Scan the road surface ahead of you. Watch for road surface irregularities such as railroad tracks and potholes. Also, avoid gravel, oil, mud, water, wet leaves and rocks that can cause your motorcycle to slide or topple over.
- Mind the gap. Leave an adequate gap between you and the car in front of you. On open roads with higher speeds, adjust your gap.
- Be seen. Always signal lane changes and position yourself where others on the road can easily see you. Make eye contact with motorists when possible. Many drivers claim they “just didn’t see” a motorcycle after colliding with it.
- Always have a way out. Identify potential hazards as you ride. Predict the worst case scenario and prepare an escape route.