How-tos: Master the art of safe motorcycle riding in India

Tips for safe motorcycle riding in india
6 November 2023

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Long story short: Get the inside scoop on safe motorcycle riding in India with our easy-to-follow how-tos.

Riding a motorcycle or whatever vehicle may be a daunting task, especially in India. There are several controllable and uncontrollable situations in which a rider can only focus on controllable situations. Throughout this article, we will elaborate on the controllables or the concept of safe motorcycle riding or defensive riding in depth. Defensive riding is what every motorcycle rider should learn.

What is defensive riding on a motorcycle?

Defensive riding is a proactive approach to motorcycle riding that emphasizes safety and hazard avoidance. It involves anticipating potential dangers and taking steps to minimize the risk of accidents. Defensive riders are constantly aware of their surroundings, make informed decisions, and act to protect themselves from the actions of other road users.

Tips for safe motorcycle riding in India

    First 9 safe motorcycle riding tips in India

  1. Anticipate hazards: Be constantly aware of your surroundings and anticipate potential hazards such as potholes, debris, pedestrians, and erratic drivers.
  2. Maintain safe following distance: Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you to provide ample time to react to sudden stops or changes in speed.
  3. Avoid tailgating: It increases the risk of rear-end collisions and limits your options for evasive manoeuvres.
  4. Choose a safe lane position: Position yourself in a lane that maximizes your visibility to other road users. Avoid riding in blind spots of larger vehicles. Consider using the centre of the lane in certain situations, such as when making a left turn or when there is a risk of being overlooked by other drivers.
  5. Use turn signals properly: Communicate your intentions clearly to other road users by using your turn signals well in advance of changing lanes or turning. Ensure your turn signals are functioning correctly and are visible to other drivers.
  6. Brake smoothly and predictably: Apply brakes gradually and smoothly to avoid skidding or losing control of your motorcycle.
  7. Use both front and rear brakes: Use both brakes simultaneously for balanced and effective braking.
  8. Wear reflective protective gear: Wear a helmet, gloves, jacket, pants, and boots to protect yourself from injuries in case of a crash. Choose reflective protective gear that is properly fitted and meets safety standards.
  9. Ride defensively in adverse conditions: Exercise extra caution when riding in rain, fog, or low-light conditions. Reduce your speed, increase your following distance, and be extra vigilant in anticipating potential hazards.
  10. Next 9 safe motorcycle riding tips in India

  11. Avoid Distractions: Avoid using your phone, listening to music, or engaging in other distractions while riding. Stay focused on the road and maintain situational awareness to react promptly to any hazards.
  12. Be respectful and courteous: Treat other road users with respect and courtesy. Avoid aggressive or impatient behaviour that could lead to dangerous situations. Remember that everyone shares the road, and mutual respect contributes to a safer and more enjoyable riding experience for all.
  13. Be aware of blind spots: Defensive riders are aware of their blind spots and take steps to eliminate them. They perform regular shoulder checks to ensure no vehicles are in their immediate vicinity before changing lanes or turning.
  14. Use additional mirrors: Use additional mirrors or convex mirrors to extend the field of view.
  15. Be cautious at intersections: Intersections are high-risk areas for accidents. Approach intersections slowly, be prepared to stop, and make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before proceeding.
  16. Be mindful of road conditions: Indian roads can be uneven, with potholes, gravel, and other hazards. Be extra cautious when riding on unfamiliar roads, and reduce your speed to avoid losing control.
  17. Be vigilant at night: Nighttime riding requires increased alertness and caution. Use your headlights properly, be extra vigilant of pedestrians and other vehicles, and avoid riding in areas with poor lighting.
  18. Take defensive riding courses: Enroll in motorcycle safety courses to enhance your riding skills and knowledge of defensive riding techniques. These courses can provide valuable insights and help you develop safer riding habits.
  19. Practice regularly: Regular practice is essential for improving your riding skills and gaining confidence in handling your motorcycle in various situations. Practice in controlled environments before venturing onto busy roads.

What is tailgating?

Tailgating on a motorcycle, also known as “following too closely,” is the act of riding your motorcycle too closely behind another vehicle. This can be a dangerous practice, as it can significantly reduce your reaction time and increase the risk of a collision.

Why is tailgating dangerous for motorcyclists?

  1. Reduced reaction time: Motorcyclists have less reaction time than drivers of enclosed vehicles due to their open exposure to the elements. Tailgating further reduces this reaction time, making it more difficult to react to sudden stops or changes in the speed of the vehicle in front.
  2. Increased risk of rear-end collisions: Tailgating is a significant contributing factor to rear-end collisions. If the vehicle in front brakes suddenly, the motorcyclist may not have enough time to stop safely, resulting in a collision.
  3. Limited escape routes: Motorcyclists have fewer escape routes than drivers of enclosed vehicles. If the vehicle in front makes an unexpected manoeuvre, the motorcyclist may not have enough space to avoid a collision.

What are blindspot mirrors in motorcycles?

Stick on blind spot motorcycle mirrors
Stick on blind spot motorcycle mirrors

Additional mirrors, also known as blind spot mirrors, are small convex mirrors that are attached to the side mirrors of motorcycles to provide a wider field of view and help eliminate blind spots. These mirrors are typically round or oval-shaped and have a curved surface that allows the rider to see behind and to the sides of the motorcycle without having to turn their head or torso excessively.

What are the advantages of using blindspot mirrors in motorcycles?

  1. Reduced blind spots: Additional mirrors can significantly reduce the size of blind spots, making it easier for riders to see vehicles and objects that may be hidden from their standard mirrors.
  2. Increased situational awareness: By providing a wider field of view, additional mirrors can help riders stay more aware of their surroundings and anticipate potential hazards, such as vehicles changing lanes or merging into traffic.
  3. Enhanced safety: By reducing blind spots and increasing situational awareness, additional mirrors can help prevent accidents and make motorcycle riding safer.

What are the different types of blindspot mirrors?

  1. Stick-on mirrors: These mirrors are attached to the side mirrors using adhesive tape. They are easy to install and remove, and they are relatively inexpensive.
  2. Clamp-on mirrors: These mirrors are attached to the handlebars or fairing of the motorcycle using a clamp. They are more secure than stick-on mirrors and can be adjusted to a wider range of positions.

Which all things you need to do before the lane change on a motorcycle?

  1. Use your mirrors to check for traffic behind you and in the lane you want to change into.
  2. Look over your shoulder to check your blind spot before you change lanes.
  3. Signal your intention to change lanes well in advance.
  4. Use your turn signal to indicate the direction in which you want to change lanes.
  5. Accelerate smoothly and decisively when you change lanes.
  6. Avoid accelerating too quickly, as this could cause you to lose control of your motorcycle.
Clamp on blind spot motorcycle mirrors
Clamp on blind spot motorcycle mirrors

What are the things you need to do after the lane change on a motorcycle?

  1. Move into the centre of the lane as soon as possible.
  2. This will help you to avoid being in the blind spot of other vehicles.
  3. Don’t linger in the blind spot of other vehicles.

Why should we wear reflective motorcycle gear?

  1. Increased visibility: The reflective material embedded in the gear reflects light from headlights and other sources, making the motorcyclist more noticeable and more accessible to spot.
  2. Enhanced awareness: The reflected light from the gear helps the motorcyclist better see road markings, pedestrians, and other vehicles, especially during low-light conditions.
  3. Reduced risk of accidents: Studies have shown that wearing reflective gear can significantly reduce the risk of accidents involving motorcycles. One study found that motorcyclists who wore reflective gear were 37% less likely to be involved in a crash.
  4. Improved safety at night: Nighttime riding is particularly hazardous for motorcyclists due to reduced visibility. Wearing reflective gear is even more crucial during these times, as it can make the difference between being seen and being involved in an accident.
  5. Cost-effective safety measure: Reflective gear is a relatively inexpensive way to significantly improve safety on a motorcycle.
  6. Visibility in all weather conditions: Reflective gear is adequate in various weather conditions, including rain, fog, and snow. The reflective material continues to reflect light even when it is wet or covered in dirt.

When to use a low beam in a motorcycle?

  1. Riding in well-lit areas
  2. When there is oncoming traffic
  3. When following closely behind another vehicle
  4. When riding in residential or urban areas

How to use a high beam in a motorcycle?

  1. Riding in dimly lit or rural areas
  2. When there is no oncoming traffic
  3. When riding on highways or interstates,
  4. When riding in areas with limited streetlights

When to switch between high and low beams in a motorcycle?

  1. Always switch to low beam when approaching oncoming traffic, even if they are not using their high beams.
  2. Avoid using high beams in fog or other conditions that can cause glare.
  3. Be aware of the effects of high beams on other road users, especially pedestrians and cyclists.
  4. Use your high beams judiciously and only when necessary to improve visibility.
  5. Switch between low beam and high beam frequently in low-lit areas.


If you have any other doubts or queries related to the topic safe motorcycle riding in India or defensive motorcycle riding in India, email us at We are always eager to help and assist you. Also, here are several social media platforms of Bikeleague India to raise your suspicions.