Safety tips for bikers

Bikers, who are in abundance in India are at a high risk of casualty in accidents. Given below are tips and information that I have learned from experience or from various sources over the course of time.

Unlike in the more developed countries where bikes are only for hobbyists, we ride bikes for affordability. India has more bikes on the road that most of any countries, even as a percentage of total vehicles. Also considering the careless driving that we notice in India, the bikers are a high-risk party in case of accidents. The following are a few tips that can help avoid accidents and reduce the problems in the event of an accident. I have also included some tips for keeping the bike in good condition and saving some fuel as well.

Always check your bike before moving forward

You can never know what has happened to your bike since the last time you parked it. Before you start off on your way check the below mandatorily.
  1. Indicators are working well
  2. Horns are working well
  3. Breaks are fine
  4. There is no oil leakage
  5. Headlights work
This entire testing will take a few seconds, but will save you a lot of hassles on the way.

Use rear view mirrors

This is one of the most underutilized accessory of a motorcycle. In the heavy traffic situations that we have on our roads, it helps to be able to view the rear without having to turn back. Have mirrors affixed and use it properly.

Wear proper helmets

If you give any importance at all to your head and what it keeps safe, you should wear a helmet while riding a bike. You could get a decent helmet for about Rs. 700. If you tell me that you could afford a motorcycle which costs more than Rs. 30000 and could not afford a helmet, that just says that it was not your priority. Also please note that I used the word proper helmet. How do you identify a proper helmet? Below are some of the tests that are recommended:
  1. Has the helmet got a quality certificate from a reputed authority? In India it is usually the ISI mark. There can be other such certificates for imported ones. Find about such certifications before importing helmets.
  2. Perform the temple test: Slid the helmet into your head and try to turn the helmet left and right without moving your head. This should make the skin over your temple to move. If the helmet moves freely, that is not a suitable helmet for you
The best helmets are designed such that it does not budge with minor hits, but crashes and gives a cushioning effect thus reducing the impact on your skull.
Some people avoid it because they are not used to wearing it. Wear it for a week or two and you will get used to it. It will neither block your view nor cause hearing impairment. In fact, it will protect you from intense sun, dust and pollution.

Assume everyone else to be a novice or a rough rider

In Indian driving conditions where it is extremely easy to obtain a license and hardly any risk of it getting cancelled, almost everyone rides as if in a stunt sequence from an action movie. If you want to be remain safe of such stuntmen, other than riding safe yourself, you should also ride as if everyone else has a hidden agenda to dash onto you. If you keep on the lookout, you have a higher chance of being able to avoid a mishap. This is no mean feat and is not something that can be fully achieved. It can only get you slightly better.

Take extra precaution when changing lanes or taking a turn

Ensure that you show your indicator well in advance. There are many people who turn on the indicator as a formality just before the turn. The purpose of the indicator is to let the people behind know that you are about to change lanes or take a turn, so that they can either slow down or speed up to cross you before you turn. If you do not give ample warning, you stand the risk of a collision.
To decide ample warning, think of how much space you would need to be able to avoid such a collision if you were the vehicle at the back. Give some more time to that and you have ample time for indicator. Also do not forget to make double sure that there are no people with their behinds on fire behind you. They are a risky lot.

Wear appropriate gloves

This is not mandatory, but if the weather is either cold or hot and humid, a gloves is a really good idea. A full and warm gloves that stops your fingers from going numb when it is cold so that you retain your grip and are able to use the breaks and clutch is important. If it is hot and humid, there are good chances of your hands getting sweaty and slippery. In this situation, a cut glove with a good grip is the best thing to have. As a cheaper alternative, you could tie a handkerchief or some other cloth to absorb the sweat in this situation.

Get your bike serviced regularly

Many people ignore the importance of this. Regular change of oil, checking the wirings and pipes and oiling the bearings are important for smooth and safe running of the bike.

Additional Suggestions/Recommendations

In addition to the above points, there are some things that you can do for the general good.
  1. Stop at red signals: Yep, many people do not follow that rule
  2. Avoid honking unnecessarily. Honking is not going to clear the traffic.
  3. Switch off and rest at a stop signal: This will save a lot of stress and also save you fuel. In India we keep moving inches till we get a green signal. What is the point. If you wait a few seconds, you will save that much more fuel and can move smoothly once the signal is green. If you stop for more than 40 seconds, it is best that you switch off.
  4. Try to leave way for ambulances and pedestrians.

Quotes worth noting

Quote: Do not follow rules to save fine, follow them to save lives.
Quote2:If you follow rules, no one can claim that everyone breaks them. You can point to yourself stating that you know one person who doesn't.

Article by Jash Jacob
Jash Jacob is a Business Intelligence developer who has been contributing to ISC since a few months. His interests include Business Intelligence, Business Analytics, Movies, Novels, Reading scientific news and debates and listening to music. He also comments on random things in life in his personal blog. If you so wish, you may contact him through his profile or through forum response.

Follow Jash Jacob or read 12 articles authored by Jash Jacob

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Author: Jyothi Priya11 May 2014 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Nice write-up, useful tips to follow.

Could have included necessary documents on Indian roads and to maintain the documents. First steps in case of accidents and authorities to contact.

Author: Jash Jacob13 May 2014 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Thanks for the response. This post was exclusively for safety and security measures. I will include the required documents and contacts in a separate post.

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