It is not surprising news that yearly road accident death statistics in India is in 6 digits and that 40% of those killed and injured are motorcyclists. Being a safety professional, I often think how living lives worth saving and saving lives are equally important. Motorcycles are one of those things for me that improve my life quality – not just as a transportation medium, but as a medium for discovery, meditation and adventure.
Like for anything else in life, it is important to mitigate risk when you ride motorcycles. Of course, the best way to reduce risk is to elimination – i.e. not taking your motorcycle outside in rainy season. This might be just not acceptable for petrol heads – because they know how it feels to go for a ride in the romantic weather.
The first step is to gear up whenever you are going for a ride – no matter how long or short. It is important to ensure that you don’t get wet because you don’t want to get sick and miss tomorrow’s ride. Wear excellent quality helmet as you always do and wear anti-fog coated goggles to ensure clear vision. Wear waterproof jacket and pants along with thick, waterproof gloves with good grip. It is a good idea to always keep change of clothes and to keep them and your other belongings safe by concealing them with garbage bags or waterproof bag covers.
Make it a point to do a quick inspection of your beast before you hop on it every time. Make sure that tires are properly inflated and have adequate tyre pressure. Check oil and fuel levels so that your vehicle works reliably. Give additional attention to brakes during this season because roads tend to be more slippery. Ensure optimal visibility by checking all lights.
Have a clear idea about where you have to go and how you will get there before you leave. Make sure that there are rest stops along the way and try to avoid long, lonely highways (for both safety & security reasons).
Go slow! Moisture reduces traction and makes the road very slick. Beware of puddles as water, gravel and debris can cause your motorcycle to skid. Maintain safe braking distance as tyres have less traction on wet surfaces and you need more room to brake. If rain is heavy, your visibility will be decreased and other drivers won’t be able to see you. Take a break at the nearest rest stop in this situation. Periodically apply brakes to avoid hidden obstacles and to give other drivers a better idea of your motorcycle’s position.
Being safe is as simple as following ATGATT safety philosophy and practicing mindfulness whenever you are enjoying the rain on your priced possession. ATGATT stands for All the gear; All the time – motorcycle safety gear should be worn at all times, and gear should not be reduced at times when the perceived risk is less.