Safety tips for motorcycle riders in Singapore
Singapore, as one the smallest countries in the world, is a densely populated place with high traffic. We are no strangers to all sorts of traffic congestion and car pile-ups here, especially since we have a motor vehicle population of close to 1 million. Naturally, it is good to have a motorcycle to get around more flexibly and squeeze between cars to escape the gridlock. Nevertheless, this approach can be a double-edged sword to both motorcyclists and other road users alike. In 2017, it was reported that motorcycle deaths account for almost 40% of traffic fatalities.
Obviously as the most vulnerable group among all drivers, motorcyclists needs more than sheer reflexes, balancing skills and muscular coordination to go on two wheels safely. With this in mind, Kwiksure Singapore will illustrate how motorcyclists can better protect themselves against the potential threats in the below article.
Wear appropriate gear
A t-shirt should not be the only layer of protection between you and the hot asphalt beneath your motorcycle. In normal operation, proper gear can protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, at the very least. In the unfortunate event of a traffic accident, it can also largely reduce the incidence and/or severity of injuries. Below is some must-have gear for motorcyclists.
- Full-face mask helmet
- Protective eyewear
- Tight fitting gloves
- Armored jackets with shoulder and elbow paddings, preferably in bright colors or with reflective tape
- Boots with nonskid soles
Check your motorcycle before each ride
You can’t be too careful when it comes to driving a two-wheeler. Below is our recommended inspection routine for before you ride.
- Tires: Make sure they are set to the right pressure. Tires with low pressure could cause a blowout, while over-inflated ones will have less grip. Also, check for any cracks, bulges, or signs of wear in the tread.
- Lights: Ensure all lights – including headlight, taillight and signals – are functioning.
- Clutch and throttle: Make sure they are working smoothly (throttle should snap back when released).
- Brakes: Test front and rear brakes (each brake should feel firm and hold the motorcycle still when fully applied).
In addition, you may also consider purchasing an action camera, which is mountable on your helmet. It is not necessarily the sleekest accessory you can have, but can prove to be very useful in case of a vehicle accident dispute.
Beware of blind spots
You should always assume that large vehicle drivers, such as truck drivers, can’t see you. Due to the limited coverage of car mirrors, even drivers with the strongest peripheral vision are unable to spot vehicles on their sides unless they turn their heads around. Hence, it is best to stay behind or ride up to the front of nearby vehicles, and avoid driving alongside large vehicles for a long time. Finally, never get stuck between two vehicles.
Have the right mindset
It is crucial that you drive defensively and always watch out for accidents. You should know the limits of both yourself and your vehicle. Never overestimate your reaction time or the braking ability of your motorbike. Other common traffic offences that drivers should avoid include:
- Drunk driving
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Driving in adverse weather conditions
- Beating a red light or moving before the light turns green
- Keeping to the right while not overtaking
Brief your passengers
One main reason people choose motorcycles is that they can carry passengers, with their loved one holding on to their waist and driving at full speed. However, this seemingly romantic scene can easily turn into a fatal tragedy. Below are ways you can avoid the tragedy.
Make sure both you and the passenger are properly outfitted.
- Pre-ride briefing
It’s essential for drivers to brief passengers before they ride, especially if you’re a beginner motorcyclist or/and the passenger has never ridden a motorbike before.
- Practice before hitting the road
You may practice riding with a passenger in a safe, open area, so that you get used to the extra weight on your motorbike. Also, the passenger can learn to follow the motorcyclist’s motion.
- Drive smoothly
Drivers should avoid sudden braking, acceleration, and swerving. Instead, ask the passenger to lean with you and look over your inside shoulder. Also, passengers should keep their feet on the pegs at all times.
Secure your motorcycle insurance
Under Singapore law, it is mandated that motorcyclists should at least have a third-party only (TPO) insurance policy to operate a motorcycle in Singapore. However, third party fire & theft (TPFT) and comprehensive insurance can offer you more coverage, so it is definitely worth the effort of researching and finding the right insurance solution for you! You can learn more about vehicle insurance here, or simply talk to one of the insurance specialists at Kwiksure Singapore. They can give you a free quotation and price comparison today!