Mobile Phones GPS Sat Nav And Bluetooth When Riding Motorcycle
In the digital era, technology has not only transformed how we live and work but also how we ride. Huge changes have been made in recent years to how we get about and communicate.
Motorcycles have all kinds of attachment fittings and the ability to carry so much more than ever before. There are fitments for mobile phones that fit just about anywhere, different brands of sat navs can be attached by a multitude of fitments and radios can be mounted anywhere too.
Not only does the bike have the ability to carry electronics, they have gotten so small that helmets are often equipped with advanced features too. Items such as satellite navigation (sat nav) and Bluetooth radios bring convenience and connectivity right to a riders fingertips.
Enhancement or Distraction?
These tools can enhance our rides, but they also introduce new complexities and challenges. They can be a huge distraction and in the wrong hands can be very dangerous. A good rider knows when and when not to use these electronics, they are an aid and not something that should distract you.
How can riders maximise the benefits while minimising distractions and staying within the law? The use of all electronics is dangerous when riding, taking your eyes off the road momentarily can end in disaster. Only use them when you feel comfortable to look at them, and remember they should not be messed about with when on the move.
Legal Considerations and Consequences
The first thing to note when integrating technology into your motorcycle and into your rides, is the law. Many riders choose not to use technology on the bike and prefer to just ride and concentrate on what they are doing.
However slowly but surely the modern world has started to overtake everything. Helmet manufacturers now fit bluetooth modules as standard. They have teamed up with companies to have a partnership that gives them sole ownership of a brand product inserted into a helmet.
The choice has been taken away from the rider as it comes fitted as standard. It is only a matter of time until other items are added features in motorcycle helmets.
Safety regulations around the use of mobile phones and GPS devices while driving or riding vary globally. But one factor remains constant in all these distractions, and that is that they can all be deadly!
How Do You Cope?
In the UK, for instance, it’s illegal to hold a mobile phone or sat nav while riding. If caught, riders can face hefty fines and penalty points on their licence. But having a full blown conversation whilst negotiating a demanding stretch of the road is okay through bluetooth technology.
It’s crucial for riders to know and understand these laws. They should also know their own capabilities too, they must use them with care and not allow them to be a distraction.
Riders need to avoid penalty points as points do not make good prizes. It is more important to maintain safety on the road and not be involved in an incident because of a lack of concentration, either by being on the phone or messing around with an electrical device on the move.
This goes well beyond just knowing that you can’t text and ride. Everyone who rides knows how dangerous taking your eyes off the road is but some still do it. You must know and understand the appropriate way to use devices whilst riding.
Harnessing Technology Responsibly
Sat navs have revolutionised how we go from one place to another. It doesn’t matter if we travel near or far, in the UK or abroad, sat navs have transformed the way we navigate the roads.They provide real-time updates and directions that can make all rides smoother and stress free.
However, they can also be a source of distraction if not used responsibly. Some riders use them all the time, regardless of where they are going. The reason being, they are so easy to use these days and navigation on mobile phones makes it even easier. If you have a mobile phone and a mount, you are good to go.
Using a sat nav
When using a sat nav of any kind, it’s crucial to position it in a way that doesn’t require you to significantly divert your gaze from the road. This is easier said than done because of the way a rider sits on their motorcycle. It is not like a car where it can be at eye height, riders must look down to view or rely solely on voice directions.
A quick glance should be enough to get the necessary information you need at a junction or to check the route or distance to the destination. It can be a distraction if something goes wrong and it needs to be adjusted. However any major changes should be done stationary and not on the move.
Some riders find handlebar mounts to be a good solution. Whilst others prefer helmet-mounted displays. Whichever is used, it must be easy to use, comfortable for the rider and be a minimal distraction.
What works best can vary from rider to rider, what suits one person does not suit another. But the general rule of thumb is definitely rider safety and minimal risk.
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Listening To Music Is Dangerous
Bluetooth technology in helmets can also enhance your ride by allowing hands-free communication. Things like streaming music, listening to podcasts or the radio. What a person can do in the car is slowly being done on the motorcycle, only things for the motorcycle have to be smaller and easier to use. Bluetooth can also give directions for GPS instructions, indicating which way a rider needs to turn to stay on route.
However, similar to sat navs, Bluetooth usage needs to be responsible. Keeping in contact with other riders or the outside world can have its distractions. Being deep in conversation can be dangerous when negotiating demanding roads. The chatter on the radio, if there are multiple users, can be off putting for some riders.
It can be dangerous for the rider, when listening to loud music, as it can drown out important traffic sounds, including the emergency services using their sirens. Long and awkward conversations with someone at work can take your mind off the job, if it is distracting, it could be dangerous.
Use these features wisely and remember that your primary focus should always be the road ahead.
As technology continues to evolve, so too will its integration into the world of motorcycling. This is a fast moving introduction into motorcycling and as long as there is a need, there will be evolving products that keep getting better and better with technology.
Features like sat nav and Bluetooth can undoubtedly enhance the riding experience. But they must be used with discretion and responsibility. Safety is paramount and the road can be a very dangerous place without these added distractions and sometimes gimmicks.
The Law and Penalties
Understanding the law and being aware of the penalties may be all that some riders need to use with care. Some riders don’t care and use them all the time, this means they become oblivious to the dangers around them or they take more risks when using them.
Learning how to safely operate these features are essential parts of modern rider and education is key to success. A comprehensive training module can provide this knowledge and instil the safe habits needed to navigate these digital appliances responsibly.
Most importantly, you must remember these tools are there to aid you, not to distract you. Embrace the benefits they offer, but don’t let them compromise what you set out to do in the first place, that is to arrive at your destination in one piece.
Technology is just a passenger on your journey that is there to help and not hinder.