IMCOM-Europe Safety Office

Motorcycle Safety

Current guidance regarding motorcycle licensing and registration requirements can be found in AE Reg 190-1

To obtain more detailed information on MSF BRC or ERC training provided please call DSN # 544-2301 or civilian +49(0)611-143-544-2301.

Click here for additional information on existing ranges in Europe.

Safe Riding Tips for Motorcycles

Position Yourself
If the car you're following has its left turn signal on, move to the right side of the lane. This allows the cars following you to see without obstruction the turn signal of the car ahead and warns them of stopped vehicles up in front. If the car you're tailing has its right turn signal on, move over to the left side of the lane. This again permits cars following to see more clearly. Check your rear view mirror and use the escape route on either side of the car if traffic fails to stop.

What you can't see can hurt you Blind corners have claimed many motorcyclists. A good survival rule of thumb is never rely solely on signs. If you've never been on the road before you are, in essence, a rookie should never push it to the limit. Rarely do signs warn of gravel in the middle of the turn, off-camber turns or decreasing radius turns. Local riders will know every inch of the turn, but you won't. Remember road conditions can change since the last time you traveled it.

What's new can kill you
What's worse than having a new rider on a bike they've never ridden?------Perhaps a new bike that an experienced rider hasn't ridden. Just because you've conquered your last bike doesn't mean that you can ride anything. Unfortunately, experienced riders often forget to be humble when handling a new machine. Different throttle responses, braking tendencies, cornering ability, center of gravity, and ergonomics can really throw you off. Treat any bike you haven't mastered with respect. If you don't, you may find yourself in over your comfort level.

STOP IT CORRECTLY!

Motorcycles differ from cars in two critical ways: stability and vulnerability. Because bikes ride on two wheels, they are less stable and must be balanced, especially at low speeds. With no roll cages, seat belts or air bags in play, riders are left at the mercy of the elements, other riders and the road. Even the seemingly simple act of stopping at a traffic light highlights these differences. The proof? Motorcycle dents, dings paint scratches and human scratches, scuffs, aches and pains caused by dropping a bike at a stop.

Why do bikes go down at stops?

  • Distractions. Many riders look at their own reflections or other riders as they come to a stop. A motorcycle goes where you look. When you look to your side while you stop, your bike will tend to lean to that side.
  • Walking the bike. Taking steps with one foot or both feet while the bike comes to a stop is likely to throw the motorcycle off balance. The more steps taken, the more likely the bike will fall.
  • Dragging feet. Taking one's feet off the floorboards or pegs raises the center of gravity for the bike and rider, actually making the motorcycle less stable at a critical time. Feet left skimming along the road surface may hook on surface irregularities or debris.
  • Incorrect footwear. Shoes and boots with leather soles are very slippery, especially on wet or oily roads. Oil and water from cars are most likely to collect at stops. High heels, even chunky ones, provide little ankle support and make it hard to judge distance from the pegs to the road.
  • Inappropriate braking. Use of the rear brake only makes skids more likely, especially during hard braking, and releasing the rear brake during a skid can result in a high side crash. Overuse of the front brake at low speeds can also cause a drop if the front tire skids, or if the handlebars are not straight.
  • Road markings and debris. Arrows, lines and words on the pavement can be very slick, especially when wet. So can flattened soda cans, sheets of cardboard, plastic cups and other trash. Applying the brake to a wheel that is crossing something wet and/or slick can easily make that tire skid, resulting in a drop. A foot placed on oil or trash can slip, causing a loss of balance.

Here's how to keep your ride perpendicular when you stop:

  • Look up and straight ahead until you're completely stopped. Doing so helps keep your front wheel pointed forward and your bike balanced left to right.
  • Keep your right foot on the rear brake and put your left foot down first at stops. Put your right foot down only after you've come to a complete stop.
  • Wear boots that cover your ankle and have grippy soles and broad heels no higher than 1". Higher boots reinforce your ankle when you put weight on it, and low wide heels lessen the likelihood you'll lose balance. Grippy, oil resistant soles keep you from slipping. Boots designed for motorcycle use are the best.
  • Always use both brakes simultaneously to stop. It's unlikely both wheels will skid on goo or surface markings. Besides, at least 70% of your braking power is on the front wheel. Consider ABS on your next cycle purchase.

Look ahead and avoid slick spots, trash and road markings. Make sure your feet land on good pavement.