1 First rule. Always wear a helmet. Also make sure that the helmet fits snugly and is strapped on securely.
2 Even the biggest bikes are the smallest vehicles on the road. Try and improve your chances of being seen by other vehicles. Wear bright-coloured clothes, or a bright helmet. Use reflective stripes on your helmet to increase your visibility. Another good practice is to keep your headlights switched on, even in daylight.
3 Ensure your brake lights and tail-lights are working. This could save your life on a dark night.
4 Get to know your bike intimately. When riding a new or unfamiliar bike, take it easy for a few hundred kilometres. Approach its limit slowly and back off one step when you find the limit. Always ride within your limits, and the bike’s limit.
5 Your mirrors only say ‘NO’. That is, if you see a problem with your mirrors, they are telling you not to move into that problem. If they do not show any problem, that is not the same thing as saying ‘Yes, make your move’. When vehicles are very close from the sides, you can’t see them in the mirrors. Do a head check every time before you turn, or change lanes. And always signal.
6 Whatever move you make, it should not force other road users to make any changes in their intended direction or rate of travel. Be aware and be alert. Someone may
not be paying attention to that quick lane change move you made and it could have disastrous results.
7 Use other vehicles as a shield. Another turning vehicle can protect you and make other vehicle stop when turning into or crossing a crowded street.
8 Traffic signals are dangerous places. People tend to race against the red light, so always keep an eye on the rear-view mirror while braking at a red light.
9 Keep an eye on the road surface. A stray piece of stone or a sudden pothole can bring your bike and you down. Unmarked speed breakers are another perennial problem. Watch out for change of colour on the road. A darker patch could be an oil spill, or a slippery wet patch.
10 Don’t ride side to side with another vehicle. Minimise overtaking time, and reduce speed when being overtaken.
11 Keep an eye out for vehicles that are being driven dangerously. Stay as far away from them as you possibly can.
12 Don’t just watch the vehicle in front of you, but also the vehicle in front of that. Actually look as far ahead as possible. This helps you predict the traffic and avoid sudden surprises. You can almost always realise what the vehicle in front of you is going to do even before he does.
13 Concentrate. Anticipate. Always be aware of everything in your surroundings. Have a mental picture of the traffic around you.
14 The golden rule of overtaking. If you can’t see the oncoming traffic, don’t overtake. This holds true especially on the highway. So, never attempt to overtake on bends and curves. Or where the road dips and rises. Can’t see? Don’t go.
15 Make sure that your tyres are in top condition. Realise that you are relying on two patches smaller than your palm to keep you on the road. So make sure that the treads are deep enough and do not have any cracks or blisters.
16 If you are tired or sleepy, pull over, and get a cup of tea. You may feel awake when you set off, but it’s difficult to judge when fatigue sets in. Incredible as it may sound, it’s possible to fall asleep on a bike.
17 This is obvious. Alcohol and two wheels, even four for that matter, make a deadly combination. Leave the bike and take a taxi. If you say that you never had a crash after a drink, good for you. But remember, the laws of probability are catching up on you.
18 Don’t lose your cool. When you get angry, you ride with your adrenalin pumping and you increase your chances of getting hurt. Forget it. It’s not worth it.
19 Always run the correct tyre pressure. And check the tyre pressure when the tyre is cold, not after a long ride. Make it a point to check your tyre pressure every week.
20 Always ride with the assumption that other people on the road aren’t concerned about safety. Happy riding.