Road Safety Hazards which Go Unnoticed. Learning from other's Mistakes
First thing that I do while riding is to observe what mistakes I am making, and the mistakes that other people are making which increases the risk of life on the road, significantly. Learning from other's mistakes or happenings around us, are one of the best ways to avoid similar mishappenings.
1: Your field of vision is your life saver!: Indian roads are chaotic! One of the issues we bikers face is the blind spots on our sides. Blind spots are the areas of the road that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors. Using side mirrors reduce the risk significantly, when you are trying to change lanes. One can say, stick to a lane! But in India, one is forced to change lanes because the traffic is spread unevenly. Changing lanes safely, by using side view mirrors, and avoiding blind spots really do the magic.
Now, nothing beats the field of vision in a half face helmet, but I am never in favor of them for safety reasons, followed by a lack of aerodynamics and wind noise.
When coming to full face helmets, the side vision is restricted and increases blind spot. That's where a helmet with large viewport comes handy. For example, the all-new Bell Star series with their Panavision viewport.
2: Fast lane splitting: Doing a slow lane change, of course after making sure the lane you are shifting to is empty, do not only give the person coming from behind, or others around you a chance to react, but also decreases the chances of you running into a stationary object or a slow-moving vehicle. I have personally witnessed crash when a guy was splitting lanes fast and there was a truck coming from the wrong side. He didn’t get a chance to react and had a collision. Of course, the truck driver was at fault, but this risk could be minimized if the guy was enough cautious.
3: Go as fast as you can brake: Braking is badly affected by the condition of the road. Small bumps, gravel, bad tires and roads with less friction can severely effect the braking potential. ABS help a tonne in such situations. No matter how professional one is, in the case of emergency, one tends to panic or apply too much force on brakes. Just try to see YouTube videos of bike fails and you will see plenty of such cases where simple ABS would have totally avoided that skid.
4: Ignorance is a bliss: The taunts, especially by unaware kids without helmets to race along can be tempting, but self-control and ignoring them is the key. Just let them be and concentrate on the road. You won't just be putting yourself at unnecessary risk, but their lives too. Slow down and let them go ahead.
5: Golden rules in traffic: One thing I have observed in traffic is that there are more chances of someone rear ending your precious bike! Avoid sudden accelerations and deaccelerations in traffic. There is a good chance that the motorists coming behind you might get caught off guard. Thankfully, just a broken number plate for me.
6: Cornering fast on Indian roads is too risky: Cornering is so much fun, especially when you see racers dragging their knees. Sometimes you want to experience the same! Just take one such situation faced by me. I wasn't even going fast on a corner and there was shattered glass on road. Thankfully, I did not skid too much. Cornering is fun, but at reasonable speeds and on roads you know better. Your bike might feel like a part of you, but roads are not that friendly.
7: Buy the best riding gear you can afford - It is a onetime investment, just like buying an insurance. The difference is, insurance comes into play after accidents happen while riding gears actively help you during the need of the hour. I have seen plenty of people wearing riding gear but of the wrong size. I was one of them before too. Just because a riding jacket looks like a riding jacket, doesn't mean it will perform well during a spill. Always avoid buying cheap knockoffs for better security. If you can purchase an expensive phone, you bet your head is more valuable than a gadget!
I have seen people owning multiple helmets and they tend to keep better helmets for long rides while using cheap helmets for the city. Personally, I believe that one should use the best helmet, always. There are so many people on the roads with the helmet on their heads, but without properly tightening the chin strap. It's not a helmet, but a big cap!
8: Avoid using earplugs to listen to music: There is a reason Bluetooth communication headsets come with speakers that don't totally negate outside sounds. Earplugs, on the other hand, will surely let you listen to music, but at the cost of cutting you off from important surrounding sounds. I am one of them who love to listen to bike's engine sound. It's music to ears!
Safety is in your hands! Yes, life is short, but don't make it shorter!
Live long, Ride a lot!