Motorcyclists

The beautiful country roads of East Riding are a magnet for motorcyclists and it is easy to see why – with stunning views, beautiful towns and villages, and some great biker stops along the way.  We want to make sure your trips are memorable for all of the right reasons, which is why we’ve put together this important safety information.

No matter how experienced you feel as a motorcyclist, it is important to keep these key things in mind to ensure your bike is safe and that you are riding responsibly.

Motorcyclist
Ride Free logo

Ride Free

Ride Free is a new Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) digital rider theory course. It is aimed at new riders and contains a series of six online modules to be taken by the learner rider before the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT).

The DVSA enhanced rider scheme checks the motorcyclist’s riding skills and provides training. There is no test.

Think Road Safety

Think!

Government’s THINK! advise motorcyclists:

Position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards.

Take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres, so you know where other vehicles are.

Make sure to wear the right gear – fall off your bike and tarmac will shed your jeans in seconds. Bikers must wear a protective jacket, gloves, boots, and trousers.

Wear bright florescent gear during the day and reflective gear at night.

Choosing the right helmet could help save your life. Sharp ratings help you understand how much protection a helmet offers in a crash. Visit the Department for Transport’s SHARP website.

Consider further skills training to improve your performance, confidence, and safety on the road.

SMIDSY

Whether or not you are aware of the acronym SMIDSY, many of us will have been on the giving or receiving end of a SMIDSY – and many of us will have experienced it from both sides in different circumstances!

SMIDSY stands for “Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You” – a common driver response after failing to see a two-wheeler. As a motorcyclist or a driver, the diagram below helps to explain the scenario and is important to keep front-of-mind around junctions.

Basic Motorbike Riding Advice

  • Ensure the bike is safe to ride (see our Pre-Ride Essentials checklist below)
  • Don’t ride if you feel tired or unwell
  • Learn how to handle the power of the motorbike
  • Don’t succumb to peer pressure when riding in groups
  • Be careful on bends and don’t overtake if you can’t see the road ahead
  • Don’t do anything outside your own capabilities or take unnecessary risks
  • Learn to brake properly without going over the handlebars, as a motorbike’s stopping power is nearly all in the front wheel. Equally don’t use the back brakes alone as this can cause the bike to skid.

Motorcycle Courses

Bike Safe

Bike Safe

BikeSafe is a national police run motorcycle initiative, aimed at working with motorcycle riders in a relaxed environment to raise awareness of the importance and value of progressing on to accredited post-test training. BikeSafe workshops involve an observed ride with a police graded motorcyclist or approved BikeSafe observer. With some local variation, BikeSafe workshops aim to cover: rider attitude, systematic methods, collision causation, cornering, positioning, overtaking, observation, braking, hazard perception and use of gears.

Pre-Ride Essentials

Safety Checks

For many, motorcycling is a seasonal pursuit, which can mean that it could be months since you last took your pride and joy out for a spin. Pre-ride safety checks are important ahead of each ride, but after a few months in the garage, a thorough inspection is essential.  Below is a guide to the key things to check before you hit the road:

Tyres

Although modern tyres are a lot more hardy and durable than they used to be it doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to wear and tear. If they’re not in good condition don’t take the risk, replace them before you go out on the road.

Look at the surface of each tyre:
  • Is there anything that could cause a puncture or has already?  Things like glass, nails and screws are the most common culprits. Run your hands along the tyres and if anything looks suspect, don’t ride until you’ve had a closer look.
  • Look at the tread. Bald tyres may not lead to an accident but they may land you in trouble with the law. Make sure that your tyres are in shape in the eyes of the law as well as with regard to your own safety. If you can see any thread, don’t go anywhere!
  • Check the tyre pressures. Look online or in your bike’s handbook at the optimum tyre pressures for your machine.
  • The wrong pressures can make your bike dangerous.

Chain

On most bikes, chains can easily be adjusted, replaced and cleaned up so there is no excuse for a chain in bad condition. During your pre-ride check, you should take a look at your chain. Is it properly lubricated? Is it tensioned correctly? Is it free of rust and other gunk? The same questions will also apply to a belt-driven bike.

Cables

Your cables keep you in control of your motorcycle and the slightest problem with one of them could potentially lead to an accident. If it’s been a long time since you replaced your cables, think about replacing them even if they don’t look worn – some problems can’t be seen until it’s too late. In the meantime, test each lever and see if your cable is moving freely and smoothly while keeping an eye out for any frayed areas. If your throttle cable sticks open at the wrong time and you can’t react fast enough, you may end up in trouble. If your brakes aren’t responding, again you’re asking for an accident. If your clutch isn’t responding, you might be in for a surprise when you pull away!

Lights

Bulbs can go at any time and just because all of your lights were working yesterday doesn’t mean that they still are today. You should take a look at each and every light, whilst flicking your switches on and off. This includes your headlights, brake lights, tail lights and indicators.

Brakes

Sit on the motorbike to test your brakes; if you’re pulling in the front brake lever and still moving forward, even slowly, something needs attention. The back brake isn’t as easy to test but you can try the same principal. If any wheel can be moved when a lever is fully pulled in or depressed, don’t even think about riding your motorcycle until the problem is fixed. If you’ve got drum brakes, it might be an easy adjustment or a new set of shoes; if you’ve got disks, you may want to check your fluid levels or, in extreme cases, the disk.

Fluids

When you’re checking brake fluid levels, round off your inspection with a general fluid inspection too. Check engine oil, your coolant levels and (of course!) fuel levels. If anything needs topping up, get it done before you go out on the road.