Motorcycle Safety Tips
Make motorcycle riding safety your top priority!
Operating a motorcycle takes different skills than driving a car; however, the laws of the road apply to every driver just the same. A combination of consistent education, regard for traffic laws and basic common sense can go a long way in helping reduce the number of fatalities involved in motorcycle accidents on a yearly basis. It’s important to understand some basic motorcycle safety tips to make sure your next ride is a safe one.
Follow these tips for safe riding:
Always wear a helmet with a face shield or protective eyewear.
Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect against severe head injuries. A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury.
Wear appropriate gear.
Make sure to wear protective gear and clothing that will minimize the number of injuries in case of an accident or a skid. Wearing leather clothing, boots with nonskid soles, and gloves can protect your body from severe injuries. Consider attaching reflective tape to your clothing to make it easier for other drivers to see you.
Follow traffic rules.
Obey the speed limit; the faster you go the longer it will take you to stop. Be aware of local traffic laws and rules of the road.
Don’t assume that a driver can see you, as nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider’s right of way. You should always ride with your headlights on; stay out of a driver’s blind spot; signal well in advance of any change in direction, and watch for turning vehicles.
Keep your riding skills honed through education.
Complete a formal riding education program, get licensed and take riding courses from time to time to develop riding techniques and to sharpen your street-riding strategies.
Be awake and ride sober.
Don’t drink and ride, you could cause harm to yourself and others. Additionally, fatigue and drowsiness can impair your ability to react, so make sure that you are well rested when you hit the road.
Preparing To Ride
Making sure that your motorcycle is fit for the road is just as important as practicing safe riding. Should something be wrong with your motorcycle, it will be in your best interest to find out prior to hitting the road. To make sure that your motorcycle is in good working order, check the following:
- Tires: Check for any cracks or bulges, or signs of wear in the treads (low tire pressure or any defects could cause a blowout)
- Under the motorcycle: Look for signs of oil or gas leaks
- Headlight, taillight, and signals: Test for high and low beams (make sure that all lights are functioning)
- Hydraulic and Coolant fluids: Level should be checked weekly
Once you’ve mounted the motorcycle, complete the following checks:
- Clutch and throttle: Make sure they are working smoothly (throttle should snap back when released)
- Mirrors: Clean and adjust all mirrors to ensure the sharpest viewing
- Brakes: Test front and rear brakes (each brake should feel firm and hold the motorcycle still when fully applied)
- Horn: Test the horn
Most people have admitted that they drive distracted. They do it even though they know
how dangerous it is. But what’s the science behind distracted driving and why can’t our
brain let us talk on the phone or text while we drive? We explore why by thinking we
can “multitask” while driving, we’re just fooling ourselves.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that can divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. There are three types of distractions:
• Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
• Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
• Cognitive – Taking your mind off driving
Texting while driving is the most alarming distracting activity because it involves all three major distractions.
Why do people drive distracted?
• They believe they can see everything around them, even though they can’t.
• They believe they have enough driving experience to multitask.
• They believe they understand the risk of distracted driving, but don’t think an accident can happen to them.
Can the brain really multitask?
For years, researchers have stated that the brain can’t multitask. It actually switches back and forth between cognitive activities, such as driving and talking on the phone. One is considered a “primary task” and the other is a “secondary task.” Although the brain can switch back and forth, it’s unable to give full attention to two complex tasks at the same time.
When the brain is overloaded with information, it filters out details. The driver is unaware of what’s being filtered out and the information doesn’t go into memory. This can cause drivers to miss critical information such as red lights, pedestrians, and other vehicles on the road.
What are the risks?
Inattention blindness Researchers have found that switching mental resources from driving to cellphone conversations can lead to “inattention blindness,”
where drivers fail to “see” or process information from objects on the roadway even when they are looking directly at them.
Slower response time
Since the brain is switching between complex tasks, the driver is less likely to respond to unexpected hazards such as pedestrians or other vehicles on the road.
Why is distracted driving so dangerous?
What can you do?
There are several things you can do to prevent crashes caused by distractions:
• Stop perpetuating the myth of multitasking. Accept it. You can’t do two things at one time.
• Protect your life and the lives of others by not driving distracted.
• Turn off cell phones and other electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive. No texting while you’re driving.
• Set the example for passengers and young drivers by not driving distracted.
• If your driver uses a cell phone, offer to make the call to the driver can direct full attention to driving.
• Plan ahead and eat any meals before driving.• Know how to get around and know where you’re going, so your attention is not on a GPS device.
• Attend to any personal grooming before driving. • Always wear your safety belt as this is your best defense against unsafe drivers.
*Sources: National Safety Council, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Vehicle Road Safety Tips
A vehicle should be properly equipped and must always be in good condition for safe driving. No one can legally drive a vehicle that may be a hazard to any person and property just like its operator, it needs regular clean-up and check-up.
Check tie rod. Low tire pressure may cause the wear and tear pressure. Always equip a vehicle with spare tires. Tires with worn out thread will slide more easily on wet pavements and may blow-out without warning.
Have clean rearview mirrors to see at least 200 ft. behind. Windows must be clean and free of obstruction. Check vehicle lights if they are all working such as tail lights, turn signals, stop lights, license plate lights and parking lights. Check wipers if they operate properly to clear the windshield. Check mufflers to prevent excessive noise and smoke.
Engine Tune-up: As part of the tune-up, spark plugs, distributor points, condenser and air cleaner must be replaced, the carburetor must be cleaned periodically.
Battery: It must be kept in good condition. Add distilled water if the level is low.
Safety Devices: Check devices such as fuses and circuit breakers.
Radiator: Check the radiator fluid level before starting the engine.
Brakes: Brakes and parking brakes must be firm enough to stop the vehicle.
Others: Check the temperature gauge and hose connections, brake fluid, and master cylinder.
Be sure to check the type of Gasoline/Oil suited for your vehicle.
Check horn if it can be heard from a distance. A defective steering wheel, clutch, pedals and shift gears need serious attention.
Check the ignition lights and gauges register. The car’s gauge warns the driver if something is going wrong.
Find a competent and dependable mechanic is important to a driver for proper maintenance and prevention of car problems before they become critical. It is the responsibility of the driver to keep his car in good running condition.
DRIVER’S PHYSICAL CONDITION:
It is enough to have a vehicle in good running condition to ensure safety in driving. As a driver, you must be physically, emotionally and mentally fit to operate your vehicle on the road. This is vital to safe driving.
A driver must see quickly, clearly and accurately. Seeing too late makes decisions come too late. Decisions made while driving is based on what the driver sees. If eyes do not see properly, it can be corrected by using corrective lenses.
By smelling, you can tell the presence of gas that may be coming out of your car. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may result in drowsiness, headaches, nausea or mental dullness that impair your driving ability. Check your engine and exhaust system if they are in top condition.
A driver who has impaired hearing may not hear the important sound like police vehicles, sirens of fire engines and horns of other drivers who wish to pass. The use of hearing aids overcome this defect.
Proper coordination of hand and feet helps in controlling the vehicle while in motion. Sensitivity to the important parts of the car such as brakes, steering system, accelerator, lights and signals through your sense of touch enables you to determine any incoming failure that may surprise you and the other driver to an emergency.
Emotions affect driving performance. Failure to control emotions may lead to fatal consequences.
Anger – It impairs the performance of smooth braking and accelerating due to changes in somebody functions such as increase heartbeats.
Anxiety – It may lead to panic decisions.
Excitement – Stress and sometimes happiness changes the functions of the body and mind that prevents wise decision necessary for safe driving.
Fatigue – Is the most common that lower driver’s fitness. Fatigue may come from lack of sleep, excessive physical exercise or from mental or emotional stress. Fatigue dulls the mind and slows down nerve and muscular responses. As a good driver, you must learn to cope with all these emotions, to perform the driving task safely and effectively.
DRIVING AND ALCOHOL
Driving is NOT safe when drunk. It is said that “IF YOU DRINK, DO NOT DRIVE!” Driving a motor vehicle requires concentration.
Driver’s found driving under the influence of alcohol is PUNISHABLE BY LAW.
What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines?
The WHO says 1.25 million people die in road crashes every year. In the Philippines, various laws and policies have been crafted to arrest the number of road crash fatalities.
Enacted: June 20, 1964
The Land Transportation and Traffic Code took effect on June 20, 1964. It also mandates allowable speed limits on open country roads, city, and municipal streets, among others.
It also imposes sanctions on reckless driving. Violators will be punished under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.
Enacted: July 2016
Under this law, public utility vehicles, closed vans, cargo trailers, shuttle services, or tanker trucks are not allowed to ply roads without a standard speed limiter approved by the Department of Transportation.
These vehicles will also be barred from acquiring registration or franchise without the required speed limiters.
USE OF SEAT BELT
Enacted: August 5, 1999
The Seat Belt Law requires the driver and front seat passengers of a public or private vehicle to wear seat belts while inside the moving vehicle. It also prohibits infants and children 6 years old and below from sitting in the front seat of any running motor vehicle.
Car manufacturers, assemblers, and distributors have to ensure that seat belt devices are properly installed in the vehicles. For jeepneys, manufacturers shall install a lap belt only in the driver’s seat and front passengers’ seats.
Enacted: July 21, 2016
Motorists are banned from “using a mobile communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls,” and “using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations” while the vehicle is in motion or stopped at a red traffic light.
Using a mobile communications device is not considered distracted driving if done using a hands-free function or similar devices.
DRUNK AND DRUGGED DRIVING
Enacted: May 2013
Under this law, motorists cannot drive if they are under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, or other inebriating substances.
Law enforcement officers are mandated to assess whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol and dangerous drugs. Usual warning signs include the evident smell of alcohol or if the driver has reddish eyes or a flushed face.
Motorists will undergo sobriety tests and have his blood alcohol content (BAC) level assessed. Those with BAC level above the allowable limit will have their license confiscated.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR DRIVERS
Professional Driver’s Education Act (House Bill 5380)
Filing date: January 29, 2015
Status: Pending with the House Committee on Transportation since February 4, 2015
Provisions: The bill requires drivers in the public transportation industry applying for or renewing their professional driver’s license to undergo a driver’s education and road safety program. If the driver passes the program, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will issue a certification.
The bill also directs the LTO to analyze data on road accidents that can help monitor the effectivity of the program.
Professional Truck Driver’s Education Act (House Bill 5107)
Filing date: October 16, 2014
Status: Pending with the House Committee on Transportation since October 22, 2014
Provisions: The bill seeks to require driver education for truck drivers. According to the measure’s proponent, Bulacan 4th District Representative Linabelle Villarica, current accreditation procedures do not have programs specifically designed for truck drivers.
Competence Accreditation Program and Minimum Wage for Bus Drivers Act of 2011 (House Bill 4459)
Filing date: March 23, 2011
Status: Pending with the Committee on Labor and Employment since May 9, 2011
Provisions: Under this bill, drivers should obtain proper training and undergo an accreditation program before they can operate. The bill also proposes providing drivers with fixed monthly salaries.
Road Safety Education Act of 2011 (House Bill 4890)
Filing date: June 30, 2011
Status: Pending with the Committee on Basic Education and Culture since July 27, 2011
Provisions: The bill aims to “ensure the protection of the vulnerable road users by supporting all road safety strategic measures and programs that will [be] inculcate[d] in the minds of school children through early basic education, behavioral changes, and discipline in road use.”
Under the bill, 3 government agencies should collaborate to impose its provisions: the Departments of Education, Transportation, and Public Works and Highways.
Road Courtesy, Discipline and Traffic Safety Education Act (House Bill 6098)
Filing date: May 2, 2012
Status: Pending with the Committee on Basic Education and Culture since May 14, 2012
Provisions: A new subject called road courtesy, discipline, and traffic safety education will be included in the curriculum from Grade 1 to 4th year high school students.
The Department of Education (DepED) is tasked to enact the rules to implement the provisions of the act, in partnership with the LTO.
Enacted: March 23, 2010
The law requires motorcycle drivers and back riders to wear standard motorcycle helmets on the road to prevent life-threatening crashes.
Violators will be fined P1,500 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense, P5,000 for the third offense and P10,000 plus the confiscation of driver’s license for the fourth and succeeding offenses.
Enacted: July 21, 2015
Under this law, children who can comfortably reach their feet on the standard foot peg of the motorcycle and grasp the waist of the driver are allowed to ride motorcycles. The child also has to wear a helmet.
Motor Vehicle Safety Act (House Bill 6463)
Filing date: February 15, 2016
Status: Pending with the Committee on Transportation since May 23, 2016
Provisions: The bill seeks to penalize automobile owners or operators who knowingly allow someone without a driver’s license to borrow his or her motor vehicle.
The prohibition, however, does not apply to a person or corporation licensed to engage in a driving school business.
Motorcycle Toll Lanes Act of 2012 (House Bill 6136)
Filing date: May 9, 2012
Status: Pending with the Committee on Transportation since May 16, 2012
Provisions: The bill proposes the creation of motorcycle lanes or facilities on major toll roads that lead to the National Capital Region (NCR). The move seeks to lessen the growing number of accidents involving motorists from nearby provinces of the region. The bill covers major toll roads leading to the NCR and exiting to Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna.
USE AND INSTALLATION OF ACCESSORY DEVICES
Dashcam Act of 2015 (House Bill 6050)
Filing date: August 25, 2015
Status: Pending with the Committee on Transportation since August 26, 2015
Provisions: Under this bill, the installation of dashboard cameras or systems in public utility vehicles will be required. A “dashcam” is a camera mounted on the dashboard that can record the vehicle’s activities, with some units able to record driving speed, road routes, seat belt usage, and steering and braking events.
An Act Prohibiting the Use of High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlamps (House Bill 3769)
Filing date: December 1, 2010
Status: Pending with the Committee on Transportation since December 27, 2010
Provisions: This bill seeks to ban the use of bright white headlights or high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps in motor vehicles to reduce road accidents.
The bill’s author, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Neri Colmenares, said using HID headlights can cause inconvenience to other motorists due to its excessive brightness, adding that many countries have already prohibited its use.
SAFETY OF CYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS
Filing date: June 30, 2016
Status: Pending with the Committee on Transportation since July 26, 2016
Provisions: The bill seeks to institutionalize bike lanes or bikeways in all major roads and highways, to be identified by the Local Bikeways Office under the supervision of the city or municipal engineers office
Filing date: July 24, 2013
Status: Pending with the Committee on Public Works and Highways since July 31, 2013
Provisions: The bill outlines the rights of pedestrians on public roads, and the responsibility of drivers to yield to pedestrians crossing the street. Local government units and the public works department are also mandated to provide sidewalks for public use and to ensure that there are clearly marked signages.
CREATION OF AGENCIES
National Transportation Safety Board Act of 2013 (House Bill 3089)
Filing date: October 7, 2013
Status: Referred to stakeholders on January 12, 2015
Provisions: This bill aims to create the National Transportation Safety Board that will investigate transportation-related accidents on land, sea, air, and railway and pipeline systems.
To pursue this goal, the board will be appropriated an initial fund of P30 million for its first year of operation.
Filing date: December 7, 2015
Status: Pending with the Committee on Transportation since December 8, 2015
Provisions: The bill aims to establish the National Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (NMVSA) which will prescribe standards for motor vehicles, carry out research and development, and investigate causes of road crashes and accidents.
– research by Cathrine Gonzales and Alanis Banzon/Rappler.com