These couple of months, a lot of issues have been bothering me about biking. A good friend of mine had a very bad accident, lost his upper lip and fractured some bones. Then another friend was pretty banged up as well and almost got his "pretty" mug dragged on the floor. Also, yesterday there was a video I saw on Farcebuk of a bad accident.
All this got me thinking about writing this article about biking safety and what the hell to do during an emergency. I will start with what to do first as its shorter.
SHIT TO DO
What to do to avoid accidents or actions to remember when you are almost getting into one:
Bring your BRAIN:
If you are sleepy, don't ride. If you are deep in thought, don't ride. If you had a fight with your lady friend, don't ride. To make a long story short, its not like driving a car, you MUST concentrate. Your brain needs to balance the bike, shift the gears, keep you safe and enjoy yourself in the process. It aint easy
Say OH FUCK ME! Not again!!:
Well, this is something I actually encountered. It seems when you fall a lot, things slow down and you have time to utter these words. But anyway. Try to avoid this at all costs.
The body has a great way of slowing down time, in an impending accident, things slow down. But gives you one opportunity to make a choice before its too late (i.e: hit the curb or go under the truck.. choose d curb). When you realize that an accident is imminent, look for alternative solutions. This is regards to impact btw. Meaning, if you are gonna hit a car, look for anyway to NOT fall if possible or if you have no choice, plow into the grass or something. Its better. Trust me.
Now you may laugh while reading this, but it won't be funny when you experience it. If your bike is in storage a lot, bugs WILL grow and thrive on your bike. Especially since nature has an odd sense of humour that the bugs that will thrive on it will be the bugs you are most afraid off, be it ants, roaches or spiders. If you don't ride much, spray down your bike with bug spray at least once a week. If you ride your bike often, avoid parking near any outgrowth or under fuzzy trees. I have dumped it taking a very sharp spiraling corner going at 120-140KMH because a spider was walking across my handlebars so this is serious. I dislocated thumbs and got scraped up badly before.
I learnt doing this when I started learning wheelies from my mechanic friend a long time ago. I found that it works while riding too. While wheelie-ing, you might find yourself losing balance. Noobs will put a leg down to stomp it back to stability and if you were wearing sandals (like me) probably lose a toenail or 4. The concept of "the stomp" is the same as when wheelieing. Sometimes (especially for me now riding my friends borrowed crotch rocket), while taking a turn on slippery, damp, sandy or uneven roads (point is when your tail gives way and u look like a scene in Tokyo drift), barely tap (key word: TAP) your front and back brakes to anything under 60( anything over 60 done by noobs with break your leg, shatter your ankle or throw out your knee caps), with your knees bent, and toes pointing up, stomp your heels down to the tar road to lift your bike straight and stabilize. Takes some experience and you foot to your ass will hurt like hell for a week, at least you wont fall.
These are a must for every rider, regardless if you are riding an underbone, superbike or chopper. This is because the first thing that goes are your fingers. Why? Simple, when falling, what is the first thing you do? Use your hands to protect your ugly face. Why? I don't know but you cant change it. I recommend buying really padded gloves if you don't like racing gloves. Leather is always good, but some textile ones have foam paddings. Make sure you get gloves that cover your fingers and if possible, buy a long gauntlet type for extra protection. If you are opting for full race gloves, here is what I recommend looking for: a close fit (not too loose not too tight), sliders on the top side of your fingers (you will thank me later), knuckle protection (carbon fiber recommended), coz this is where it hurts d most. Rawhide leather. If possible, (in new designs nowadays) get the ones with the slider on the bottom of your palm.
When riding, always wear shoes. It is always recommended that you wear shoes that at least cover all the way up your waist.. haha.. jokin.. I mean at least up to cover your ankle. Why? When you call, your ankle will be facing out and since it sticks out, the floor will help you shave it down. The other reason one should wear shoes while riding is because if you do fall, the chances of your toes flying in different directions without you are quite high. Unfortunately for me, I had the "honour" of seeing that happen while having dinner with some colleagues a long time ago. Was not cool.
Elbow guards are known to look "stupid" around here but are actually very important for bikers. Why? Well, same concept with the reason for wearing gloves, you will stick your hands up to protect your face. This means that one of the impact points will be your elbow. And a bone there will always break near your elbow.. I think its called the radius bone. Now.. for the reason its called stoopid… people here call it stupid because they wear it ON their jackets. Why? Simple. Because they want to protect the damn jacket too. Well.. the stupid one is d idiot that does that. If you don't want to look like a moron, wear it under your textile jacket.
These are not to important (in my opinion), because unless you are flying off your bike, your knees will usually be trapped under the bike anyway. But, I wouldn't advise against it. Any extra protection would be a good idea. People who ride choppers should also wear them because for a heavy tank to smack into your knee doesn't do you much good. On this note, also try wearing baggier jeans to avoid road rash.
Back protectors help with all sorts of things. They act as a back brace while riding (if you have a bad back like me) and protects you if there is any impact to your back. Good addition if you ride long distance.
Body armour comes in 2 types, upper and lower body armour. Technically, upper body armour consists of frontal protection, back brace, shoulder pads and elbow pads. Generally its an all in one thing (elbow, back protector) with the addition of the front chest protection and shoulder pads. Most people wont wear it as it takes forever to put it on and remove it. The lower body armour usually consists of knee guards and some paddings on the ass (for those that I see) and looks like biker tights.
If you hate body armour and find that all the extra parts are annoying, then get your self a biker jacket. They are usually water proof and come in Cordura mesh or leather. These will usually come with certified CE paddings for your back, shoulder and elbow for fall protection (other then the fact that they look cool). They also keep you warm when its cold, looks great when you are riding, and protects you when you fall.
I am sure most of you would go "hey, you forgot helmets" well, all I can say about those are: if you can think about them already, you know about them, why waste my time about these mandatory things (in Malaysia anyway)