Are You Suffering from Motorcycle Fatigue?

Driving a motorcycle requires your full attention. A motorcyclist can’t relax very much while riding a vehicle that has two wheels and handlebars. When motorcyclists ride several hours a day for days at a time or ride with a sleep debt, they increase the likelihood of a fatigue-caused accident.


Most accidents involve several contributing factors. Impaired drivers (such as those driving drunk) engage in other reckless activities, including failing to maintain lanes, speeding, and failing to stop. In the same way, fatigue acts as a contributing factor in a number of vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, driving any motor vehicle while drowsy or fatigued will impair reaction times, judgment, and awareness. A rider who falls asleep at the handlebars or fails to brake in time may swerve out of control and cause a single-rider or multi-vehicle accident.


Motorcycle fatigue can arise in one of two situations: If you get on your bike already tired, you may succumb to the lulling roar of the engine or the sound of wind whipping past your ears. Another type of fatigue arises from spending too many hours on the road. If you’re not prepared to handle the rigors of hours behind the handlebars, you could suffer from mental and physical fatigue. Without adequate breaks, even an experienced rider’s hands begin to stiffen and reaction times naturally decline.

Those accustomed to riding a motorcycle may feel so comfortable on long stretches of straightaways they fall asleep. It is not as common for motorcycle riders to fall asleep as it is for drivers of passenger vehicles or commercial trucks, but it can happen. Whether you’re at risk of falling asleep or losing the ability to properly handle your motorcycle over long periods of time, consider some ways to combat motorcycle fatigue and reduce the likelihood of an accident.


Motorcycle fatigue is a real and serious accident risk factor for anyone who rides. Use these tips to keep motorcycle fatigue from interfering with your next ride:

  • Get adequate rest and nutrition. Rest and nutrition take the No. 1 spot in every fatigue-fighting list of tips. Proper sleep, hydration, and energy-sustaining foods will keep you mentally alert and physically strong. Aim to eat balanced meals, snack on high-protein foods, and keep a bottle of water handy to stay hydrated.
  • Prepare for longer distance trips. For all-day and multi-day trips, prepare with some adjustments. A long day of riding will let you know exactly which muscles you’re using on the bike and the location of your pain points. You may experience numbness and soreness in certain places. Adjust the position of your handlebars and look at more comfortable seating. Always wear properly fitted gear and use riding gloves to combat grip fatigue. The right setup will alleviate some discomfort associated with longer rides, and help keep you focused.
  • Plan for breaks on longer trips. Aim to stop every couple of hours to stretch your legs, drink some water, and check your bike. On longer trips, consider using navigation systems to add in convenient stops along the route. Google Maps lets you add stops along the way for gas, food, and recreation. Use the feature to schedule regular stops.
  • Keep your screens clean. A clear windshield and face shield reduce eye strain. Invest in sunglasses and shields you can comfortably look through for hours at a time, and wipe things down along the way for better visibility.

If you’re sitting in traffic after a long day at work or headed out on a long motorcycle trip, listen to your body. Avoid overexerting yourself and get enough rest to reduce the risks associated with driver fatigue. If you or somebody you love was injured in an accident due to another rider’s negligence, consider speaking with a Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyer to learn about the legal options available to you.