What’s the most important safety instrument on a motorbike or scooter?

Ultimately it is the rider’s awareness. Riding can be like active meditation where one is completely centered in the moment, conscious of your machine, your body, the surroundings, the upcoming road,and your situation relative to other vehicles.
I have ridden many unsafe bikes and once even rode myself to the hospital on a sports bike with a snapped off left foot peg and snapped off clutch lever, a broken ankle, ribs and thumb. (all conditions a result of inattention earlier in the ride) But the most dangerous riding I have ever done has been been while distracted- by work issues, future plans, thinking about what was going to happen when I arrived.

By all means- suit up for the fall, wear a helmet, have horns and lights and mirrors. But the ultimate safety instrument is bolted on between your ears. Make sure you tighten those bolts before you ride.

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