Be safe

Safety is extremely important to us at Wild@Heart. As riders we need to be considerate, respectful, responsible and always careful. Ride within your own capabilities. It is more important to arrive safely than to be there first. You have to be visible to other road users and be aware all the time. Remember to think about blind spots and do not assume people will obey traffic lights and signs. If you are on the dirt, always watch out for blind corners, animals, slow moving farm vehicles. Unexpected bad patches in a road has been the downfall for many very experienced riders. Safety gear is not only for the fall. If your motorcycle gear is comfortable and suited for the type of riding, weather and motorcycle you have, you will have a safer ride and can concentrate on the road and enjoyment of your trip.

Research on Safety

Numerous studies have been done on road safety in the past. Most of the motorcycle safety studies have been done a few years ago in the USA and United Kingdom, but the results are quite universal.

Some of the findings are:

Hurt, Ouellet & Thom in California undertook a large scale comprehensive study of motorcycle crashes. They collected detailed injury data for 900 motorcycle crashes using on-scene, in-depth investigations by specialist teams. They documented the type of clothing worn and classified it as either protective or non-protective. 61% of all those that sustained upper body injuries, were unprotected. 74% of all those sustained wrist and hand injuries were unprotected. In a study in Munich, Schuller et al. (1986) interviewed 264 injured motorcyclists immediately after their crash and then some two years later. He subsequently found a reduction in hospitalisation by an average of 7 days for those who had worn leather protective clothing compared to those who had not. The protected motorcyclists were also able to return to work or school on average 20 days sooner and were 40% less likely to suffer a permanent physical defect than their unprotected counterparts. He concluded that motorcycle clothing is significantly effective in preventing or reducing at least 43% of injuries to the skin and soft tissue with a 63% reduction in deep and extensive injuries. In addition to cuts and abrasions, protective clothing can prevent or reduce many serious injuries including exhaust pipe burns, friction burns and the stripping away of skin and muscle.

A major benefit of protective clothing appears to be in reducing the risk of infection from wound contamination and consequent complications in the healing of severe injuries. Impact protectors reduce the incidence of complex fractures in favour of simple closed fractures which are easier to treat.

And the moral of the story is ...

Motorcyclists are very vulnerable in accident situations and often get seriously injured. The right protective motorcycle gear can help to minimize or prevent some of the injuries. It is just as important for the pillion or occasional rider to have good quality protective clothing. Buy the best you can afford and wear it all the time - even for those short trips to the shop around the corner!

Off the beaten track

When you ride in a remote area or area with little or no cellphone reception, preferably ride with a friend or two. Always let someone know more or less where you are going.

Even for short day trips, make sure your bike and tyres are in a good condition before leaving and take some basic emergency items like tyre repair tools, water and a first aid kit along.
Make sure your emergency contact details are also available in case of an accident.

Quick Safety Tips

  • Wear all your protective gear, all the time.
  • Get proper rider training.
  • Know your bike, its capabilities and limitations.
  • Ride within your own limits.
  • Try to be as visible as you can.
  • Obey all the traffic rules.
  • Observe, observe, observe....
  • Drive responsible and with respect for other road users.
  • Avoid riding in bad weather, if you can.

Tips for Group Rides

  • Be organized. Know the route and who is riding with.
  • Follow proper riding etiquette and format for groups.
  • Leave enough room between yourself and other riders.
  • Always ride within your own capabilities. Do not try to keep up with the group if they ride too fast for you.
  • Use a buddy system.
  • You are responsible for the rider behind you.
  • Do not overtake another rider on the inside. Keep left, pass right.
  • Communicate where possible and necessary.
  • Adopt to changes in conditions e.g. visibility, passes, roadworks...