Advice for motorcyclists

Motorcyclists account for a large percentage of all fatalities in Ireland. One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is the relatively exposed nature of motorcycles. Motorcycles offer very little protection to the rider in a crash.

Motorcycles do not have any "cushioning" to soften the impact of a crash. Cars, on the other hand, are protected from impact by such factors as the car "shell" itself as well as seat belts and airbags. Motorcycles offer manoeuvrability, agility and ability to swerve quickly when necessary. However, these very characteristics also make them particularly vulnerable on the roads.

Motorcycle riders are less protected than vehicle occupants and are at risk of more serious bodily injury if involved in an accident, regardless of whether they were at fault. Severe head and brain injuries often occur in motorcycle accidents and motorcycle riders are 20 times more likely to be killed in a road accident than car occupants.

With motorcycling more popular than ever, saving riders lives and preventing injuries is a critical road safety challenge.

10 safety tips for motorcycle riders

  1. Make eye contact – never assume others see you. Always try to make eye contact with drivers who may be about to pull into your path.
  2. Read “vehicle language” – even when drivers, cyclists and pedestrians do see you approaching, they often misjudge your distance and speed. Don't rely on them.
  3. Watch out for Right-turning vehicles at Junctions – getting hit by an oncoming vehicle that's turning right is the most common type of motorcycle crash.
  4. Check behind when turning right – watch your mirrors and make sure you have plenty of space behind. The drivers behind might not slow down for you.
  5. Look out for hazardous road conditions – wet roads, fluid spills, sand, gravel, highway sealant, railroad tracks, potholes and other road-surface hazards reduce your traction. They cause many falls.
  6. Take it easy on the curves – many crashes happen there. You might overshoot the road or cross the centre line and get hit by oncoming traffic. Watch the road ahead, slow down and choose the correct lane position-before entering a curve.
  7. Wear a good helmet – They’re also mandatory. Make sure your helmet has a sticker showing that it meets current safety standards. Avoid buying a used helmet. It may have been in a crash, and the damage may not be obvious.
  8. Wear protective clothing designed for motorcycle riders – it can provide some protection during a crash, as well as shield you from the weather and flying debris. Keeping warm and dry will help you stay alert and maintain coordination. Wear your riding gear in layers so you can adjust to changing conditions. Jeans give little protection. Never ride in lightweight trousers or shorts.
  9. Protect your eyes and face – constant wind can make your eyes water, preventing you from spotting hazards. Flying insects, dust and debris can hurt your eyes and face. The best protection is a full-face helmet with a built-in face shield.
  10. Be visible – Wear bright, reflective clothing. Add extra reflective material to it or wear a reflective vest. Likewise, buy a bright-coloured helmet and stick reflective tape to the back and sides. Always keep your headlight on. Ride in the lane position where other drivers can easily see you and you've got room to move. Avoid all other vehicles' blind spots.

If you have any questions or queries regarding road safety, please contact us using the details below.