Riding a motorcycle can be a blast, but it’s important to learn good habits so you can do it safely. It might sound like a great idea to just jump on your bike and go cruising, but if you’re inexperienced and haven’t properly prepared, you could be putting yourself at risk.
If you want to have a safe and enjoyable ride, check out these motorcycle riding tips:
1. Train and Practice
When you’re just starting out, taking classes is one of the best things a new rider can do, as they usually offer hands-on lessons that instruct on the proper way to ride.
Once you have finished training, experts suggest spending time practicing and doing figure-eights in parking lots or open fields to get a feel for your particular bike and how it handles.
As an additional motorcycle safety tip for those starting out, it’s suggested to find a mentor to answer your questions, help you practice and explain techniques he/she has learned from experience.
2. Prepare Your Bike
To ensure that you have a safe trip, there are some preparations you may want to make before hopping on your bike. First, check the motorcycle from top to bottom before every ride. This includes examining lights, signals, brakes, the belt, the chain and tire air pressure and tread. It is essential to get oil changes and check your transmission and brake fluid regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
3. Wear the Right Gear
You should always have the appropriate safety gear on, no matter how long the ride. The following gear can keep you safer on the road:
- Helmet: While helmet laws vary state-to-state, Consumer Reports suggests riders should wear a full-face helmet that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Clothing: To help protect your skin from the elements, it’s recommended that you wear long pants, leather or protective jacket, a pair of boots that cover the ankles, and full-fingered gloves with padding on the palms. It’s also a good idea to wear attire in bright colors so you are more visible to other drivers.
- Eye Gear: The windshield on your bike is typically not enough protection for your eyes. Riders should have a shielded helmet, shatterproof glasses or goggles.
4. Turn Carefully
When you are practicing riding your bike, it’s important to figure out how far you can lean on the bike without it scraping or tipping. It’s recommended that while turning that you should lean into the curve. Riders should slow down slightly before starting a curve and then accelerate throughout the turn for more stability.
In addition, it is important to look where you are going as you turn instead of straight ahead. If you look straight, you can’t compare yourself to the road.
5. Drive Defensively
Sharing the road is important, but car drivers are not always specifically looking out for bikers. Because of this, it’s important to be a very defensive driver and assume car and truck drivers don’t see you.
Always be ready for the unexpected.
6. Be a Smart Rider
Know that the most important safety feature of a motorcycle is the rider. All the equipment in the world doesn’t matter if the rider is careless.
If you want to further limit unnecessary danger, you should avoid:
- Riding at night on dark, unfamiliar roads
- Riding an unfamiliar bike without practicing off the road
- Using headphones that take away your sense of hearing
If you are educated, well-prepared and make smart decisions, it’s much easier to just relax and enjoy a safe ride.