Safety for Road Users

Motorcyclists

There are lots of benefits to riding a motorcycle, but it can be significantly more hazardous than driving a car. So there are a few extra things you need to do to stay safe.

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable because they are less protected and the instability of motorcycles makes them more prone to crashing. Because of this, rider’s injuries tend to be more severe than other road users.

Knowing the necessary skills and understanding the road environment can help reduce your motorcycle crash risk.

Safety equipment

Having the right equipment is vital to staying safe when riding a motorcycle and can prevent the more common rider injuries. It could mean the difference between having a nasty fall off your bike and an injury which results in you never being able to ride again.

You should:

  • Wear an approved helmet. It’s required by law, but wearing an appropriate helmet can also significantly reduce the risk of head and neck injuries in a crash
  • Make sure your whole body is covered in protective clothing and footwear
  • Use impact protectors over your joints
  • Particularly make sure your legs are protected because they are the most likely body part of your body to be injured in the event of a crash
  • Avoid having any external pockets or straps that could become tear points or snag on something in a crash
  • Wear reflective or light coloured clothing
  • Make sure all of your gear fits properly

Dress appropriately

Being too cold or too hot can affect your riding through distraction, fatigue and dehydration. It is important to dress appropriately in order to prevent this.

In summer, wear clothing with good ventilation to protect you from the heat. Good ventilation allows the wind to flow through the clothing and over your skin which evaporates sweat. Drink lots of water too.

In winter, use insulated waterproof and windproof materials to protect you from the cold. Wear close-fitting openings around your neck, wrists and waist. Covered zips will also reduce leakage of warm air.

How to stay safe on the road

  • Be attentive. Vision is very important and you should position yourself so you have the best possible view of the road ahead to see any potential hazards. Continuously check ahead and behind for hazards.
  • In traffic, try and look well ahead to see what the traffic is doing. 
  • Control your speed. Higher speed reduces a rider’s ability to control the motorcycle and to negotiate curves. It also creates a higher chance of running off the road.
  • When applying the brakes, use all four fingers on the front brake lever, giving you greater control.
  • If the road is wet or muddy, do not try to brake hard.
  • If you pull up behind a stationary vehicle on a steep uphill, leave enough space in front of you in case the vehicle rolls back when starting off.
  • In multi-lane traffic, if a driver looks like they are about to change lanes; slow down until you are sure you know what they are doing.
  • Be aware of advisory speeds for corners and adjust your speed to suit.
  • Never assume drivers know where you are. Particularly be aware that driver’s won’t see you if you are in their blind spot.
  • Watch out for changes in the road service that could affect traction and stability, such as uneven pit covers, damaged bitumen, unsealed road works and puddles.
  • Don’t ride right on the line-marking and pavement markings if possible, as they may not have the same level of traction as the bitumen.

More information

To download RAA's fact sheet on motorcycle safety, click here.

More Motoring & Road Safety Information