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Zen and the art of motorcycle safety

By Lauren Smith

 

Open road, wind blowing through your hair, riding off into the
sunset …

The allure and excitement of hopping on the back of a motorcycle is like something out of a Kanye West music video or the cult classic Grease 2.

However, the reality isn’t exactly like they make it out to be in pop culture.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of whizzing down the road on a motorcycle, before you even think of getting on the back of the bike, here are my top safety considerations as a motorcycle passenger.

 

Attire to perspire

Summer is the best time to go out for a cruise! But, when it’s hot out, you can pretty much guarantee I’ll be frolicking around barefoot in a sun dress. Although this is my favourite summer getup, it does not offer the necessary protection when riding on a motorcycle.

The last thing I want to do in the summer heat is layer up, BUT, just like on the job, it’s ultra important to protect yourself. So, before I get on a bike, on go the pants, jacket, boots, gloves, helmet – the whole nine yards. Despite the heat, safety always comes first.

Besides, I do feel pretty badass in my leather boots and jacket, and safety never goes out of style.

Which brings me to my next point …

 

Stay alert, stay safe

Once you look the part, it’s important that you feel the part.

As our favourite rabbit safety cartoon duo of the ‘80s and ‘90s promoted, it’s important to stay alert in order to stay safe.

Just like it’s important to be alert (and sober) on the job, so is the same for riding on a motorcycle. During the ride you need to be aware of what the driver is doing so you’re prepared and aware of what you should be doing (e.g. if the driver is speeding up, you need to brace yourself and hold on tighter; if the driver is turning, you need to lean with the driver, etc).

In addition to being aware, there’s another important way to know what the driver’s intentions are while on the road …

 

Destination: communication

As a passenger, despite your close proximity to the driver, you aren’t able to talk to one another. Diminished communication can be a safety risk in any situation, but particularly when you’re barreling down the highway at increasing speeds.

Before you even get on the bike, it’s important to establish some nonverbal cues in case either of you needs to communicate something urgent (e.g. if the driver plans to speed up quickly, you need to him/her to stop, etc.).

Same goes for the job site: If you’re working in an environment where verbal communication isn’t possible or limited (e.g. around loud equipment, on a quiet set while filming, etc.), it’s crucial to establish hand signals or gestures should you need to relay important information to your co-workers.

 

Do you have any other motorcycle passenger safety tips? Share them with us below in the comments!

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