On long bank holiday weekend rides, avoiding fatigue and managing our alertness becomes key to arriving at our destination safely. Even a momentary loss of concentration can have devastating effects when riding a motorcycle.
This time of year often means time off work, travelling, and generally riding for longer periods. However, our safety doesn’t need to suffer; riding fatigue can be easily avoided through simple precautions and by listening to our bodies.
With fatigue estimated to be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road collisions, these types of crashes unfortunately tend to be high speed impacts resulting in death or serious injury, because a rider or driver who has fallen asleep cannot take avoiding action.
When riding we will be aware that we are starting to feel sleepy, and must act responsibly, making a conscious decision to stop, rest, refuel our bodies and rehydrate.
Collisions involving fatigued riders are most likely to happen:
- on long journeys on monotonous roads, such as motorways
- between 2am and 6am
- between 2pm and 4pm (especially after eating, or taking even one alcoholic drink)
- after having less sleep than normal
- after drinking alcohol/taking drugs
- if taking medicines that cause drowsiness
- after long working hours or on journeys home after long shifts, especially night shifts
To maintain alertness we need to plan journeys to include regular rest breaks, of at least 15 minutes every two hours, including a little exercise, a top up of water to boost our hydration or even a caffeinated drink, . If necessary making an overnight stop can ensure that our safety isn’t compromised by fatigue.