Rider Safety Tips
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Operating a Motorcycle
Operating a motorcycle is like operating any serious piece of machinery. It requires proper training and knowledge to operate it safely.
Learn about Safety & Proper Riding Techniques
In order to legally ride a motorcycle, the rider usually must obtain a motorcycle license. During the licensing process, proper motorcycle riding techniques and safety protocols are learned. Another aspect of riding a motorcycle safely is to practice those techniques and make sure your motorcycle is working properly and ensure you have a motorcycle helmet and appropriate safety gear.
Before You Ride
It is very important to go over your motorcycle with a pre-ride inspection to ensure that it is functioning properly:
- Inspect your tires (Check if they are inflated to the proper PSI and the tread is sufficient)
- Look over your brake lines and shift/clutch cables for frays and leaks
- Check your brakes and identify if they are working properly and have no obstructions
- Make sure there are no cracks in your mirrors and that they are adjusted properly
- Look at your brake and shift linkage and check for smooth operation and corrosion
- Scan for frays or splits in your wiring
- Test your turn signals and ensure there is no issues
- Check your headlight and taillight for proper operation and that no lights are out
- Make sure you have gas and oil in the motorcycle
- Give a once over the drive belt/chain to check for proper tension and wear
- Inspect storage and tie downs and make sure everything is stowed away properly
- Don’t forget documentation ( license, registration and insurance documents)
Check Your Gear
Riding gear should be in proper working condition before heading out on a motorcycle. A motorcycle helmet that has been dropped hard or involved in an accident should never be used again. A helmet over five years old should not be used again. Inspect helmet straps and liners to make sure they are not degraded. Check jackets, pants, and gloves for tears that may expose bare skin. Footwear should be solid and tight (loose footwear can be caught on road obstructions). Eye protection should fit tight and clear (large scratches may obstruct visibility).
When You Ride
- Be Alert. Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These may impair your ability to react in a defensive manner or make the right decision on your motorcycle. Be focused and alert!
- Be Aware. Always ride aware of your surroundings. Check the weather before going out. Riding in cold, hot, wet or windy conditions is never ideal, but can be done properly with a little preparation. Riding when the roads are covered in leaves or other debris can present additional dangers to be cautious of. Windy conditions can also be hazardous and you will need to adjust accordingly. Always scan the road for hazards like potholes and dips and it is wise to make sure you keep two hands on the handlebars.
- Be visible. Let everyone know you are there and what you are doing! Wearing bright and reflective clothing allows other drivers on the road to see you. Display yourself proudly so that other drivers are aware you are on the road. Use signals to let other drivers know where you are going. Just like any relationship, communication is key! Always wear gear that will protect you in the event of an accident like a DOT approved helmet.
- Ride defensively. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and watch other drivers’ behaviors on the road. Always prepare for the worst. Allowing space and caution will give you time if you need to act fast to avoid an accident.
- If you ride with a passenger on the back, be sure that you communicate how they should behave before you get out on the road. Of course, they should always be in proper riding gear and be aware of what exactly is going to happen while on a motorcycle. Let them know to sit calmly and trust that you are in control as the operator. Don’t overcompensate for their extra weight and lean. Leave extra space and ride a little more cautiously.
After The Ride
A post ride inspection is also a good exercise. Remember a motorcycle is hot from operation and caution should be taken around the engine and exhaust. Keep any plastic (it may melt) and bare skin (ouch!) away from the hot components. A motorcycle may become dirty from riding, it should only be cleaned after it has cooled down. Inspect riding gear for any damage at this time as well.
Be safe and have fun!