You’ve developed a safety policy for your employees using two-wheelers and you’ve finalized your helmet policy. Now, it’s time to think about your employees’ performance on the road, and that’s where a rider handbook comes in.

“A comprehensive rider handbook provides information to riders on the basic road rules and riding skills that can help keep your employees safe on the road,” says eDriving Executive Vice President – Fleet Ed Dubens. “New riders will learn how to avoid common mistakes and experienced riders will benefit from a refresher to keep any bad habits in check.”

Rules are there to keep all road users safe so make it clear that road rules apply to all employees, at all times. “It’s helpful to remind riders of the national and local laws, in addition to informing them of company policies that address everything from safety clothing and riding hours to restricted roads,” says Dubens.

Protective clothing is the only thing protecting riders in a collision so specify the safety equipment that riders are required to wear, including a suitable jacket, trousers, gloves and riding boots. “Remember that two-wheeler riders are less visible on the road so requiring employees to wear clothing that helps them be seen, such as bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night, will help to keep them safe,” suggests Dubens.

Vehicle checks take just a few minutes but can save lives. Requiring riders using two-wheelers at work to perform both pre-trip and weekly inspections is common practice amongst safe fleets. Typical weekly inspections include:

–          tire tread depth and condition
–          air pressure
–          wheels
–          controls
–          oil
–          brakes
–          fluid levels
–          a general look-round for loose parts.

Pre-trip inspections usually include:

–          tire pressures
–          throttle and clutch
–          steering
–          lights
–          brakes
–          horn
–          engine oil
–          fuel

Just like trips made on four wheels, those made on two wheels require planning too. Routing trips effectively helps riders stick to the safest and most efficient roads. Taking times of day and traffic hotspots into account can help prevent wasted time and frustration. Checking traffic updates and weather forecasts before setting off is a useful habit. “It’s also important that managers of two-wheeler riders encourage employees to manage themselves before making a trip,” Dubens says. “This includes avoiding any form of impairment, getting enough sleep and making sure they’re ready to focus on the ride.”

Motorcyclists are less visible so riding defensively can be life-saving. For managers this means educating riders on how to look out for the behavior and actions of other road users, as well as other potential hazards on the road. “Getting out of a ‘driver-only’ or rider-only’ mindset will help all road users stay safe,” recommends Dubens. “Giving other road users as much notice as possible of intended movements, leaving a safe following distance, passing vehicles only when certain it’s safe to do so and making eye contact with drivers to check they’ve seen the rider are just some of the defensive riding skills that differentiate an average rider with a defensive – and safer – rider.”

Riding requires 100% concentration, 100% of the time. “There’s no place for distractions when you’re riding a two-wheeler,” says Dubens. “That means specifying the rules relating to phone use, eating, drinking, smoking and any other form of distraction.”

Hazardous conditions can’t always be avoided. But two-wheeler riders can be prepared for conditions that put them at greater risk. “Fleet managers can help riders understand how weather conditions affect braking and stopping distances and explain how to increase following distances accordingly,” Dubens says. “It’s helpful for managers to give tips to riders about potentially hazardous situations. For example, discouraging them from weaving in and out of lanes can help to keep them out of other drivers’ blind spots.”

If riding with a passenger is permitted, providing guidance to help riders anticipate how the extra weight will affect the handling of their motorcycle can help to lower risk. “Helping riders understand that it takes time to adjust to another person’s weight can prevent a rider from simply hopping on their vehicle with a passenger and riding as normal,” Dubens concludes. “It’s a similar situation when carrying loads; restricting these to small, light items that are securely fastened will help to lower risk, as will increasing rider awareness that any additional weight can affect how their two-wheeler rides.”