7 Tips for a Safe Motorcycle Ride
There’s nothing like hopping on a motorcycle during a warm, summer afternoon. You zip around the bends in the road, feeling the power of the bike underneath your body and the wind whipping at your clothes. It’s utter freedom. But, if you’re not careful, that care-free ride can end with a lengthy hospital stay. Or worse. That’s why you’ve got to keep a few safety tips in mind every time you climb on the back of your bike and rip down the road. We’ve compiled seven motorcycle ride safety tips that will help keep you in one piece so you can continue riding as long as the highway beckons.
Wear the right equipment.
Protect your body with top-notch, well-fitting gear. Invest in a quality helmet that protects your eyes and sits snugly on your head. Wear gloves that allow plenty of hand movement so you can maneuver the clutch quickly in emergency situations. Find armored or leather clothing that can protect your entire body in case of an accident. Pull on boots with nonskid soles that cover your ankles, as well, to help prevent injuries on the road.
Check Your Bike
Before starting your engine, make sure your motorcycle is ready for the road. Check:
- Tires: Look for cracks or signs of wear in the treads. You never want the pressure in your tires to get so low that you suffer a blowout on the road.
- Oil and gas leaks under the motorcycle
- Headlights, taillights, brake light, signals, and horn
- Hydraulic and cooling fluids: Check these weekly
- Clutch and throttle
Don’t blend in with the environment. Avoid black and brown clothing and opt for brighter hues that will catch the eyes of other drivers. Some riders wear vests with reflective tape to make their bodies stand out among the roadside scenery.
You never want to start your bike unless you’re entirely capable of handling your machine. Obviously, you should never ride while drunk. But, you should never ride while tired, either. Your body can only control the motorcycle for so long, so take a break every so often and recover your energy.
A biker shouldn’t get too comfortable on the road. Remain vigilant and defensive while driving. To be safe, always assume drivers can see neither you nor your bike. So, ride with your headlights on, look out for drivers’ blind spots and accelerate through them quickly, and signal long before you change lanes or make turns. You should also watch out for semi-trucks. Make sure a truck driver can see you in his or her mirror before passing.
Keep honing your skills. Take a formal riding course before getting your license and then join classes every once in a while to sharpen your riding technique.
Stick to Your Comfort Zone
Don’t give in to peer pressure. Drive within the posted speed limits, regardless of how fast other riders are traveling. And, only ride with people you trust. Showoffs and speed demons aren’t just killjoys—they’re safety hazards.
Check your state’s motorcycle manual for a full list of laws and recommendations for riders before you head off into the sunset. Stay alert. Stay safe. And, ride on!