KATHMANDU: Your motorcycle riding gear has been made to enhance your safety, you always ride with a helmet, and your motorcycle has ABS. You would almost forget that those measures can only make a small difference in how safe you are, compared with the influence of your own riding behaviour.

Motorcycle riding means that you take full responsibility for your own safety, for instance by learning to anticipate mistakes of other people on the road. Anticipating mistakes of other people and reacting with the right behaviour is totally different from only thinking that you were right and the other was wrong...

Safety in gear

When talking about ways to enhance your safety on a motorcycle, most people think of helmets, knee or elbow protectors, or leather suits. True, all these things are meant to make you safer. But don't forget that there is a more direct way to enhance your own safety.

Avoiding accidents

You can enhance your safety by doing everything to avoid an accident

(primary or active safety), or by making sure that the damage, in case of an

accident, is as minimal as possible (secondary or passive safety).

Car versus motorcycle

In fact, the big difference between driving a car and riding a motorcycle, is that in cars, the secondary safety is enormous (the car is a sort of safety cocoon around you), while on a motorcycle, the safety is almost entirely in your own hands (which means primary safety).

Condition of your motorcycle

Of course, you make sure your motorcycle is working properly: it shouldn't give you nasty surprises when you are underway, the brake pads shouldn't be worn out, the lights should be working, the tire pressure should be right, etc.

Your own condition

This means it is very important that you:

• Keep yourself in good shape

• Eat on time (especially important on a long trip!)

• Drink on time (the same, and especially important in hot weather)

• Observe whether you are (too) tired

• Keep yourself comfortable (dry, not too hot, not too cold)

• Forget about all your everyday or not so everyday problems

• This might seem superfluous to say, but many people forget how important these issues are. Especially the last item is often overlooked!