We know it’s a downer, but it’s important that scooter fans keep safety in mind. Although we’re not sure why the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports its findings on a six year delay, the NHTSA has released a report related to road fatalities in 2007. In short, car deaths are down and bike deaths are up. The two stats are headed in sharply different directions. Automobile fatalities were at an all-time low, while “motorcycle” fatalities continue a ten year climb.
The numbers don’t separate motorcycles from other two-wheel forms of transportation like scooters, but the risks and pitfalls we all face are the same. So what can you do to keep yourself off one of the worst lists published by the government? Here are some simple practices:
Wear a helmet
This isn’t about helmet laws. Make your own choices, but choose to wear a DOT or better certified helmet when you ride. Every time. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces your risk for both head and neck injuries. We recommend a full-face helmet because, well, we like your face. Bottom line, non-helmet wearers make up a significant majority of two-wheel fatalities.
This one is simple, but it accounts for something like two thirds of bike fatalities. Alcohol impairs our judgement and our coordination and we need both to ride a scooter safely. Have fun out there, but dry out before hopping back on that scooter.
Be a great rider
There are a ton of resources that can make all of us expert scooter pilots. Make your riding technique a priority. Take a rider course. Read books about riding technique. Take some time in a big parking lot at the start of each season and practice all your slow speed maneuvers. Let’s help our chances of not being in a single-vehicle accident by having great habits and great riding technique.
Watch your intersections
The most common deadly encounter between a two-wheeler and a car is pretty simple: a left turn. A car coming in the opposite direction to a bike pulls a lefty into our path without seeing us. Sometimes we can stop. Sometimes we can swerve. Sometimes we can’t avoid getting slammed into by two tons of oblivious cager. So watch your intersections. Cover your brakes and be ready to alter your path.
There are so many things you can do to increase your safety, but these tips are a great place to start. Think smart and safe and let’s all stick around to be surly old scooter fans.
Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
Photo Credit: Flickr