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Safety Tips For Motorcycles

Safety Tips For Motorcycles

Driving a motorcycle is a thrilling, exciting experience that has turned millions into die-hard bikers. There is a sense of freedom evoked from the speed and power of bikes. So much so that an entire subculture has formed around them. If you’re new to motorcycles, they can seem a bit intimidating. You may have been a passenger before or ridden one with a group of seasoned bikers. Owning a motorcycle or riding solo present different challenges that you might not be 100% prepared for. Before hopping onto a bike, there are a variety of things you must be aware of for a safe and fun ride. Here are some key tips for motorcycle safety to get you ready to ride.

  1. Enroll in A Motorcycle Safety Course: This may seem tedious, but many states mandate these courses to ensure new motorcyclists understand traffic laws, the basic mechanics of a bike, handling emergency situations, and more. This will better prepare you for the motorcycle driving test or may even give you an endorsement so you don’t have to take it (this varies by state). Even if your state doesn’t require a safety course, taking one will help build a solid foundation of knowledge. These courses are offered through a number of credible sources, including the DMV.

  2. Get the Right Riding Gear: You’ve probably seen bikers clad in brown and black leather cruising down the highway. This is an iconic look; however, it doesn’t help other drivers see you at night. Make sure your gear has some form of reflective tape or neon coloring so you can be spotted and not overlooked. You may have also seen riders on sport bikes wearing a t-shirt and shorts. This is not the way to go! Since motorcycles can reach very high speeds, your clothing will need to be protective to prevent kicked up debris, insects, and cold weather from affecting or even hurting your skin. Choose durable boots, gloves, long pants, and a jacket to shield yourself. Should you get involved in an accident, these kinds of items will also help protect you from road rash and potentially worse injury. Lastly, wear a helmet! They’re legally required and will save your life. Invest in a high-quality helmet that will both look great and keep your head secure. Full-face helmets will cover your entire head, offering the best protection.

  3. Become A Defensive Driver If You Aren’t: Defensive driving is the best way to stay safe when riding alongside other drivers. Keep at least a 20-foot cushion between you and the cars in front of you in the event of sudden braking or foreign objects in the road. Check your mirrors often and be sure to stay out of the blind spots of the vehicles ahead of you. This is especially true for semi-trucks! Try to be prepared for anything, which means staying consistently aware and flexible throughout your ride. This will keep you and everyone around you safe.

  4. Ride at Your Own Pace: If you’re in a group and others are running much faster than you, don’t sweat it. Drive at a pace that’s comfortable to you. Trying to keep up with others could become reckless, especially if you’re trying to race them. Remember that you aren’t the only ones on the road and could endanger the lives of others from careless driving. It helps when your group shares a similar mindset so everyone can have a safe and fun ride together!

  5. Regular Maintenance: Akin to cars, motorcycles must be regularly maintained in order to function well. Keep up with oil changes and be sure to keeps tabs on your tires and brakes. Wash and wax your motorcycle on a regular basis to keep it looking clean. This will also remove all road debris like asphalt, gravel, gas, and other things that could be kicked up onto the bike from traveling. When left untouched, this debris can become caustic for your paint and metal. Not only will your bike start to look worn, but rust can seriously damage the internal mechanisms of the motorcycle which could cost you a lot of money. Prevent this from occurring by taking time to clean your bike up.

  6. Never Drive Tired!: This is a major tip that seems obvious but has become a larger issue in recent years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013 (Taken from the CDC Website). Driving while tired is even more dangerous for motorcyclists, as there is no barrier between you and other vehicles. Prevent serious accidents that could cost you your life by making sure you feel rested before taking a drive. If you’re going long distance, stop for bathroom breaks, a meal, or coffee to wake yourself back up. If these stops aren’t seeming like they’re helping, call it a night and check in to a hotel. You’ll wake up feeling much better and ready to carry on with your journey.