Riding a motorcycle through the Appalachian Mountains is a fantastic spring or summer activity in Tennessee. However, the terrain is often unpredictable and fraught with hazards. If you are a biker who plans on riding through the mountains this year, brush up on a few important safety tips for traveling through Appalachia – the Great Smoky Mountains, in particular.
The tips for staying safe
The key to riding a motorcycle safely in the mountains is to remain alert. Before you start your trip, remember:
- Stock up on supplies
Over-pack items such as first aid, food, water and even camping tools such as fire-starter kits and a flashlight. If your motorcycle breaks down or you suffer an injury, the supplies will keep you safe while you wait for help.
- Don’t swerve for animals
Deer, elk, foxes, bobcats and even bears inhabit the mountains. If an animal crosses in front of your bike and you cannot stop or adjust your path safely, do not try to swerve – even if means hitting them. It is safer to strike the animal and then contact the National Park Service.
- Watch the center line
Some people make the unwise decision to ride on too little sleep, causing them to swerve over the center line. Remain extra alert of riders acting erratically and swerving over the line.
- Expect the unexpected
The conditions of mountain roadways may change unexpectedly. Some roads can change suddenly from asphalt to mud, loose pebbles or sand. Other roads might have fallen branches, boulders, decomposing animals, water or other debris.
- Obey the law
The wild majesty of the mountains does not mean the laws change. Under Tennessee law, all motorcycle riders must wear a helmet and may not speed or cross over a double line.
When you stay alert, ride assertively and keep the aforementioned safety advice in mind, your motorcycle trip to the Great Smoky Mountains will be memorable for the scenery and the good time you had – not for an injury you suffered.