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Saturday, 30 June 2018 07:28

July 4th Survival Strategies for Motorcyclists

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4th of JulyAre you planning on hopping the border for a bike ride across the US for some July 4 fireworks?

Hold up a moment. Did you know that the 4th of July is the deadliest day of the year for bikers in the US? 

Statistics have consistently shown Independence Day to be the day that causes more loss of life on roads than on any other day of the year. And the demographic that takes the hardest hit are motorcyclists.

The reason for the rise in fatalities over this annual American holiday weekend has varied in the past. But on average, almost half of the accidents that cause death are due to one driver being under the influence while driving. Another major issue that has resulted in death are helmetless motorcyclists.

But these are not the only reasons to be cautious if you are heading to the US over the July 4th weekend.

According to Springfield criminal defense attorney at Noll-Law.com,"Statistics tell you that you will be stopped at least once in your life for a traffic offense. Even if the numbers show that road-related violations are commonplace, it does not mean you should take them lightly."

Getting written up over a small traffic violation can hang a cloud over your day and your weekend.

To top it all off, this year's summer weather promises to be unpredictable. So it is not only human error you’re dealing with. Heavy rains and summer storms could make riding conditions dangerous, too.

So what's a bike enthusiast to do if you want to stay safe on your July 4th bike road trip? We rounded up the best tips to keep you alive and kicking for more bike rides in the future.

Increase your visibility on the road.

One of the most widely cited excuses for hitting bikers given by vehicular drivers? Apparently, your motorcycle works as a magical mantle that renders you and your ride invisible to car and truck drivers. "I didn't see him/her" is the most widely cited excuse drivers give for knocking you off the road.

So how do you stay safe? Increase your visibility by effective lane positioning that makes you highly noticeable.

Motorcycling veterans cite the best position that gives you the most visibility is the left and center of your lane. This position not only makes you more noticeable to drivers, but it also allows you to see the oncoming lane and beyond the vehicle in front of you.

Wearing a Batman costume could also help drivers sit up and pay attention, but you might die of heat exhaustion if you try that. A simpler alternative is wearing a Batman helmet. And a word about wearing helmets...

Helmet laws vary from state to state in America. Play it safe by bringing one and using it all the time. You'll double your visibility and your overall safety, thus increasing your chances of getting home in one piece.

Avoid night travel.

The most dangerous time of day for you to be on the road? At night, when drunk drivers are more likely to take to the roads.

Naturally, driving during the heat of the day in the dead of summer is not advisable either. But try to avoid driving too late either. A large percent of fatal crashes over past July 4th weekends occurred during the night time.

Travel during non-peak heat, but also not at night. Which means you are looking at windows of opportunity to the tune of 6 to 10 in the morning and 4 to 8 pm in the evening. If your tolerance for heat is high, then expand that timeframe, but stop for plenty of hydration breaks along the way.

Follow the rules and all will be well.

If you are driving intoxicated or under the influence of something, your chances of staying alive will drop dramatically. A simple rule of thumb as you hit the roads? Abide by traffic laws, and you will stay safe. This includes following speed limits, even on relatively empty roads 

It might be tempting to let loose and push when the road is clear of traffic, but empty roads do not protect you from road hazards. Broken asphalt that you missed seeing could mean a fatal crash if you're going way above the speed limit. Whereas, it might only be a minor glitch if you've been sticking to the limit.

Additionally, keep in mind that when traveling through city centers, you should ride slow, or close to the expected speed. Ride too fast, and other drivers could misjudge their distance to you, which often results in a crash.

Last modified on Saturday, 30 June 2018 21:33
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