I admit have not accorded the subject of riding motorcycles equal time in my articles as compared to cars.
Therefore, it has been decided that an article on it would be written on it today to correct the anomaly. To make riding motorcycle safely, a rider need only to remember to check a few important things. Some of the things which need to be checked from time to time are:
1) Remember to wear a safety helmet at all times.
The half helmet has been banned in Malaysia for quite some time now. However, the above is still very popular and used widely in the United States.
Ensure that a helmet is tied properly before a rider rides off. Straps have to be secured tightly and comfortably. Straps which are not secured properly will land a motorcyclist into trouble with the law.
The condition of a safety helmet has to be checked periodically. A helmet can undergo wear and tear. Its safety harness strap itself and the condition of the shell too can become weakened with the process of time. Riders are therefore advised to change this safety item after a period of time.
2) Wear suitable riding attire when riding a motorcycle.
It’s better when a motorcyclist remembers or make it a point to wear the correct attire when riding motorcycles. Amongst the correct and safety attire he should don are knee:
i) Knee high leather boots
ii) Leather jackets
iii) Leather gloves
v) Full face safety helmets
vi) Visor, if helmets are not provided with such item.
Riders are very proned to injuries to the ankles. Knee high leather boots provide the rider good protection especially to the legs.
3) Condition of both the front and rear brakes.
Brakes represent important items of the machine. See to it that the hydraulic fluid level most modern days machines use has its reservoir correctly filled.
Besides this, a good rider can easily determined if the braking capacity of the brakes are at its maximum. It only takes but a few minutes for mechanics at motorcycle repair shops to adjust both the front and rear brakes. All it needs is the riders own concern to rectify such anomalies.
The same also goes for the motorcycle chains. Chains which are either too tight or too elongated are dangerous for the rider’s safety. Have this important part of your machine adjusted.
4) Using both the front and rear brakes simultaneously.
Riders should be able to apply brakes in the correct manner. For safety purpose, both the hand and foot brakes have to be applied at the same time. Using only the foot brakes alone, will cause the machine to go into a slide or spin. During practical tests, not using the handbrake will obviously cause you to fail.
5) Putting up the machine’s side stand before moving off.
It’s very important for a rider to put up the machine side stand before riding off. Failure to do this might result in it causing the rider dangerous problems, especially when corners are executed.
So the very first thing riders are advised to do is to ensure that the motorcycle side stand is up before the rider rides off. This is one safety procedure which a rider should observe very rigidly for his own safety.
6) Avoid beating the red traffic light.
In Malaysia today, there seems to be a trend amongst motorcycle riders to beat the traffic lights. Motorcycles riders, I observe, tend to shoot off after waiting at the traffic light for a few seconds.
This is in fact dangerous. It is never encouraged at all. In case you are unaware, such action violates Circular K17 and 18 TS (LN 167/59) of the Road Transport Act 1987 and the courts under Section 119 (2) can fine you a sum of RM300.
Anyway, under the forth coming implementation of the Automated Enforcement System (A.E.S.) to be launched very soon in Malaysia, motorcyclists who behave in such a manner will have their days numbered.
7) Ensure that your front and rear headlights functioning properly.
The law in Malaysia requires a motorcyclist to put on his vehicle’s light during both the day and night as well. Failure to do this is an offense. As such, motorcycle riders should check that both the front lights and rear lights are in good working order to prevent getting summoned by the authorities.
8) Adjust your handle bar mirrors correctly.
The moment a motorcyclist goes astride a motorcycle and before moving off, he or she should in fact check and adjust the handle bar mirrors both the left and right.
These items are very important as they assist the rider while he is riding the bike. Ensure also that should either one of them be broken or lost, than they are to be replaced immediately. Not having either of them not only violates the law, it is in fact dangerous.
9) Make sure you possess your license when riding your motorcycle.
A rider who fails to show his driving license to the authorities such as the police of J.P.J. is in fact contravening Section 59 (2) of the R.T.O. 1987. The courts can, under Section 119 (2) fine a rider a sum of RM150 for this offense. The same also applies to one’s road tax and insurance. Ensure that the above two items are also in order prior to your using the motorcycle.
10) Check road tax and insurance validity.
As explained in the earlier paragraph, many people sometimes forget that their road tax has expired.
An expired road tax will automatically have its insurance coverage expired as well. To ensure that nothing of this sort should occur, make it a point the expiry dates of your road tax and insurance are well remembered by yourself.
11) Observe dangers on the road.
Riding a two wheeler machine compared to a 4 wheeler is without a doubt dangerous. You should therefore be on the alert to look out for oil spills on the road, sandy patches, water filled areas and most of all, slippery road conditions. These can cause a motorcycle to go into a slide. After a shower, road surface are normally covered with grime and oil which make the road surfaces very dangerous and difficult to control.
Taking a good note of the 11 things which normally confront a rider, it might one day assist you to avoid some mishaps which might befall you.
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Except one or two things, it is more advantageous to ride a motorcycle compared to driving a car.
Yes, to ride a bike, one does require purchasing special attire. Goggles, leather jackets, jeans, leather gloves and knee length leather boots. This may cost quite a large sum of money, no doubt.
But reflecting about this object, in more detail, we discover that riding motorcycles especially in this country, Malaysia, bike riders do receive special privileges as compared to other motorists. As to whether or not these privileges are accorded to other bike riders in other Asian nations or not, or for that matter in other countries elsewhere in the world, is uncertain.
Let us now talk about some of the many perks and privileges Malaysian motorcyclists enjoy.
1. Low fuel consumption
For only RM3 – RM5, a bike can travel anything from 50-80 km distance. For an average wage earner, this is quite cheap actually. Compare this to a motorist who drives, you will surely see what is being implied.
2. Not necessary to pay toll
Today, toll booths exist practically everywhere. Paying toll fees can be quite a headache. But the motorcycle riders are exempted from paying tolls. They pay no tolls at all.
This represents one of the few ways the government is trying to alleviate the problems faced by the less fortunate members of our society. You see, the motorcycle is deemed a poor man’s means of transport.
3. Road tax
For your information, bikers have to pay only a low nominal sum for road tax. They pay only RM2 road tax per year. It’s actually as good as free, so to say.
But unfortunately, they have to fork out quite a sum to pay for insurance though. A first party motorcycle insurance policy can cost up to a RM200-RM300 year. Well, there is a limit as to what the government can do.
4. Driving licenses
Prior to this article are being written, motorcycle riders who possessed a class B2 license (250 c.c.), pay RM20 a year for driving license. With effect, 1 September 2009, riders of this mode of transport need only pay RM2.
The economic slowdown has without doubt affected the livelihood of the people. The poorer and lower strata seem to be affected quite badly.
So, the authorities have decided to help ease the suffering of the people, by announcing this recent decision. It augurs well for the lower income group of our society.
5. Cost of getting a driving license reduced (Class B2 -250 c.c.)
From approximately RM280-300, the Road Transport Department has issued a directive to all driving institute all across the country to lower the cost of getting a motorcycle license to the sum above. Whether the amount is enough to cover cost of operations is still uncertain. Whether the driving schools and institutes will abide by the decision made is another.
How to ensure the above price structure is followed or not, that it’s yet another bone of contention. But the new price appears to be good and ought to be applauded. The authorities caring attitude is magnanimous.
6. Bridge tolls
In some places, like the Penang Bridge, in the northern state of Pulau Pinang, tolls are collected from the motorists using this facility. Initially, motorcyclists need to pay toll too. But today, this has been waned to help ease the difficulties faced by the people who used motorcycles especially.
7. Parking is free
Cars pay RM0.50 per hour parking fees in most towns and cities all over the country. But for motorcycles, this amenity is provided free of charge. After all, motorcycles do not require too much space to park.
What further privileges and perks will the government introduce in the near future, it’s left to be seen. Therefore, when we say there are many advantages motorcyclists enjoy over those driving cars, it was not just saying, but actually a fact.
Each time a motorcycle rider decides to take off or ride off, if you wish, you are recommended to inspect your vehicle.
What do you ideally have to do? As a good and cautious rider, you should check a few important aspects of your motorcycle.
1) Vehicle controls.
Amongst the controls should include the motorcycle’s handbrakes and foot brakes.
Make sure that they function perfectly.
Secondly, its throttle should ideally also function well. Its application should be well oiled and easily applied. In short, it should be easily applied and released as well.
Thirdly, see to it that brake cables and handbrakes too, if necessary be applied with WD40 oil to facilitate easy application.
Fourthly, tyres are important items of a motorcycle too. Optimum tyre pressure and tyre treads are of extremely important, especially for the safety of riders.
Headlamps and tail lamps should function well at all times. They should also be cleaned all the time.
Ensure that signals or indicators work well. Make certain also that brake lights function too. Horns are another item hat should not fail also.
3) Motorcycle chain.
Motorcycle chains are also essential items of a motorcycle. It in fact should be oiled regularly. It should ideally not be too tight nor too loose.
Seek the assistance of a good motorcycle mechanic should you lack the expertise to determine what is good for you.
4) Handle bar mirrors.
In most countries, including Malaysia, it’s an offense not having this important item in a motorcycle. Do adjust your handle bar mirrors prior to your moving off on a journey. Kindly remember it’s dangerous to adjust handle bar mirrors while you are on the move.
5) Engine oil and petrol.
Prior to using your motorcycle, check your engine oil level of your machine. Lack of this oil would cause great damage to your machine.
Likewise, your petrol level in your motorcycle should also be inspected to prevent any unforeseen breakdowns.
Do not ride your motorcycle when the tank is at its reserve level. You can only ride it to the nearest petrol pump station only.
This article has attempted to advise you a few things, albeit important about motorcycles. It is hoped that they will go a long way in making your motorcycle riding more enjoyable and trouble free.
Keep riding and enjoy yourselves!