Must-Know Safety Tips
MOTORCYCLES COURTESY OF HARLEY-DAVIDSON; PRODUCER: ERIN NESS; WARDROBE: RAE SCARTON; HAIR AND MAKEUP: ANTHONY GORDON; PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: MIKE SNOW; BIKE WRANGLER: MIKE FREBERG. THIS PAGE, BARGER: COURTESY OF GENE ANTHONY/HARPER COLLINS. OPPOSITE, FROM
TOP: HUGH MOR TON/ GRANDFATHER.COM; DENNIS MACDONALD/AGE FOTOS TOCK/PHO TOLIBRAR Y. ADDI TIONAL PHOTO CREDI TS ON PAGE 89
Hells Angel and The
New York Times
BARGER, 72, (above,
in 1965) is—how to
He’s also been riding
for nearly 60 years,
and safety is a big
deal with him. So
take him seriously, or
he may just show up
in your driveway.
Wear proper riding gear.
I value my freedom, just as most other
people value theirs. So, rather than tell you what
to wear, I’ll tell you what I do. I always wear a
DOT-approved full-face helmet, a leather jacket,
jeans or leather chaps, boots, and gloves. You
will never see me riding around in shorts and
flip-flops, without a helmet, even if I’m just riding
down to the corner and it’s 100 degrees out.
Don’t get complacent.
Research shows that the majority of
motorcycle accidents take place within a few
miles of home. Take every ride seriously, even
if you’re going only to the post office or the
Al ways be aware of your surroundings.
When you ride a motorcycle, you must
be conscious of everything around you—the
other traffic, the brush alongside the road that
may hide a suicidal deer or stray dog, the
parked cars that may conceal a kid chasing a
ball into the street. Be aware of where you are
in your lane, and look for possible escape routes.
If you see gravel or other debris on the roadway,
slow down before you reach it; never brake on
Create as much safe space around you as
you possibly can. The more space between you
and the other vehicle, the more time you have to
react should something bad happen.
Don’t lose focus when traffic stops moving.
Just because you’ve pulled up to a stop sign
and stopped moving doesn’t mean you’re out
of danger. In fact, an all-too-common collision
between car and motorcycle involves the motorcyclist being struck from behind while sitting at a
stoplight or sign. Be aware of other vehicles even
when you’re not moving, and be ready to get out
of harm’s way at all times. ;
Dave Nichols has been riding motorcycles for more than
40 years. He is the editor-in-chief of Easyriders and
V-Twin magazines and the author of three motorcycle-related books for Motorbooks International.
Additional reporting by Ken Gross and Sandra McLean.