The start of a new motorcyling season
The start of the good weather also heralds the beginning of the motorcycling season and the need to get both the mind and the mechanics back in shape! The ACL has the following advice:
Having gone months without getting on their bike, the motorcyclist’s reflexes will have deteriorated slightly, meaning that they must first regain their ability to react instinctively in tricky situations when they first get back on their bike.
Bikers may benefit from easing themselves in with short rides and practising braking and cornering in the inclined position. This can also be done as part of a course offered by the Centre de Formation pour Conducteurs (‘Driver Training Centre’) in Colmar-Berg and designed to improve the rider’s control of their motorcycle, increase their self-confidence and help them to realise both their own limits and those of their bike. The centre’s ‘Fit for you Bike’ days will be held on 15th April, 29th April and 6th May 2017 (for information visit www.cfc.lu). (Attention: the courses are completed!). Those who cannot afford to spend that much time taking a course should at least take the time to practice on a test track or in an empty car park.
The right equipment
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable and should ensure that they wear the appropriate high-quality equipment as this is the only thing protecting them in the event of a fall, including a helmet, gloves, visible leathers or biker suit made of a special fabric, and mid-height boots or shoes, the soles of which should not be too pronounced so as to avoid the risk of getting the foot stuck when trying to brake or change gear. Check the visor on your helmet and if it is too scratched replace it if need be. Bear in mind that it is compulsory to wear a helmet (which must comply with ECE regulation n°22) with the chinstrap fastened and adjusted. Whilst the style of helmet worn is particularly important with certain types of motorcycle, it is nevertheless recommended that you wear a full-face helmet that will better protect the face in the event of a fall. Given that national legislation regarding compulsory equipment varies from one country to another, the ACL would recommend always wearing the full biker outfit (helmet, gloves, biker suit or leathers, and boots). Any other protection you can wear would, of course, also be advisable.
Taking other road-users into account
Other road-users may also present a problem to motorcyclists after the winter months, with many still not used to seeing motorcycles on the roads again. Indeed, their long, thin shapes make them difficult to spot and it is easy to underestimate the speed at which they are travelling owing to their ability to accelerate quickly. It is important to remember that the roads can be slippery in the spring, particularly in the morning following an overnight frost, and any remaining road salt and grit left in bends can be treacherous. Both motorcyclists and motorists should be particularly careful and be understanding of and tolerant towards one another on the roads.