Do you enjoy riding your motorcycle down country roads, bicycling through the city or shredding trails with your dirt bike? No matter what form of two-wheeled fun you enjoy, it’s important to ride safely to protect both yourself and your ride from harm. Whether you’re riding on the open road, cycling paths or dirt bike trails, the following tips will help you to stay safe this summer.
1. Suit up with the proper equipment
Put on the right equipment before you jump on your bike and go—in Ontario, a properly fitting and certified helmet is legally required for cyclists under the age of 18,1 all motorcyclists,2 and dirt bike riders3 riding off of their own property. Review the certifications recommended for bicycle, motorcycle and dirt bike helmets to ensure you have a helmet that will protect you in case of an accident.
When riding a motorcycle or dirt bike, wear clothing that will protect your skin if you happen to fall at high speeds, such as long pants and long sleeves made from a durable material like leather. If you’re riding a motorcycle or bicycle at night, wear reflective clothing and turn on your lights a half hour before sunset until a half hour after sunrise to stay visible.
2. Inspect your bike before each ride
Before you hit the road or trail, examine your bike and make sure everything is working properly. Inspect the tires to see if they’re properly inflated and test all controls, including the brakes. Taking a few minutes to check your bike before you ride can keep you from losing control in a dangerous situation due to an equipment failure.
3. Assume that drivers don’t see you
Bikers are typically harder to see than larger vehicles on the road. Whether you’re driving your motorcycle with traffic, crossing a road on your dirt bike or cycling along a bike lane, riding defensively is key. Even if you have the right of way, make eye contact with other drivers to confirm they have seen you and that their vehicle is slowing down or stopped before you proceed to help avoid a potential accident with a distracted driver.
4. Know your limits
Always ride in control. Avoid conditions and terrains that seem beyond your abilities and pose risks. For a cyclist, make sure you’re comfortable with using hand signals and the rules of the road before riding on streets with cars. For motorcyclists, brush up your skills each spring and practice driving with a passenger in less busy areas before moving onto the highway. When riding a dirt bike, be wary of mud, standing water, snow, rain or steep hills that could be dangerous.
5. Insure your ride
If you’re a two-wheeled vehicle enthusiast, you have probably invested heavily in your ride. Protect your investment with insurance against damage and theft. Bicycles can be insured under your home insurance policy; if your bike is worth more than the personal property limits outlined in your home insurance policy, talk to your insurer about adding coverage for your bike. Motorcycles and dirt bikes are legally required to be insured if they’re being driven off your property; you can buy insurance for these vehicles through your insurance provider.4
To discuss coverage for your favourite two-wheeled ride, call an OTIP insurance broker today at 1-866-561-5559.
1. Ontario Ministry of Transportation
4. Bytown Motorcycle Assocation