You just received your motorcycle license – congrats! Riding on the open road on your new bike can be exhilarating, freeing, and even relaxing. However, it can also be extremely dangerous to newbies and life-threatening if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
As a new rider, you know that you should always wear the proper gear, be a defensive driver, and avoid bad weather conditions. But there are some things you may not know yet about motorcycle safety. Here are 8 motorcycle safety tips to keep you safe on the open road:
- Wear Footwear with Good Traction: You know that you should wear the proper gear when riding and avoid jeans because they’ll tear in the event of a nasty crash. It’s not only important to pick the right clothes for riding but the right shoes as well. Roads can get slippery from snow and rain, but also from automotive oil and other slippery substances as well and sometimes coats the bottom of your bike when you ride over it. When you’re at a stop, you want to be sure your feet grip the ground securely so the bike doesn’t fall over onto you. Motorcycle-specific boots are highly recommended for riding.
- Adjust Your Mirrors Before You Head Out: Unlike on cars, motorcycle mirrors require adjusting with a wrench, so it’s important to adjust your mirrors before you ride. It’s pretty simple and could prevent you from getting into a serious accident.
- Always Inspect Your Bike Before You Ride: Unlike a car, you need to inspect your bike each and every time you ride. This means, checking your tire pressure, tire condition, oil level, that the turn signal works (don’t forget to check the rear signals), your brake fluid level (front and rear), and the ground for any oil leaks. Once you’ve inspected your bike, you need to make sure you warm your bike up before you ride. The operating temperature of your bike should be normal – less than about 200 degrees when warmed up. Your bike should warm up for at least 3-5 minutes.
- Don’t Ride with Your Heels on the Pegs: This is a big mistake most beginners make. When you’re shifting, your heels are resting on the pegs, but as soon as you shift, you want to put the balls of your feet on the pegs. This is because if you ride with your heels on the pegs, you’ll end up riding your rear brake. It can actually cause your rear brake to start smoking.
- When Making a Turn, Make Sure You Have a Smooth Throttle: Whenever you’re making a turn, it’s important that you make sure you have a smooth throttle as opposed to an abrupt throttle. If you crank the throttle a little too hard in the turn, your rear tire can fishtail and cause you to lose control of the bike. This is especially true if your bike does not have traction control.
- Use Your Head as a Backup Turning Signal: Sometimes other drivers on the road won’t notice a biker’s turning signal. Most beginner motorcyclists don’t know that you can actually use your head as another signal to drivers around you. Even a subtle turn of your head to the left or right will let drivers around you know which direction you plan on going in or which lane you plan on changing to.
- Don’t Ride in the Center of the Lane: The center of the lane is typically where the most oil spots tend to accumulate if a car is leaking oil. You want to make sure you’re riding just off to the center-right of the lane, but not too far over to the right side of the road where there might be more gravel, dirt, and leaves.
- Don’t Ride Parallel to Cars: Always make sure the car is in front of you or in back of you, never next to you. This is because not every driver will be aware of a motorcycle and may just merge right into you.
We’ve won millions of dollars in motorcycle accident cases, with a recent $1.2 million settlement. First and foremost, we want you to be safe while riding, but if you are injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s carelessness, don’t forget to contact us for important advice.