By Logan Quirk
Have you ever thought about becoming a new motorcycle rider? There are some great benefits you can realize from doing so.
For starters, you can spend less time on the road because you don’t get bogged down in traffic as often as you would inside a car. New motorcycles are also often cheaper than new cars. You should save up the money to buy a motorcycle faster.
It’s also hard to deny how fun it is to ride your motorbike down the open road. That’s an experience you’ll never get enough of.
Still, you cannot ignore the risk that also comes with being a new motorcycle rider. Motorcycle accidents can happen to anyone. New riders may be at a greater level of risk if they don’t take the necessary precautions and follow the appropriate safety tips.
Let’s discuss those precautionary measures and safety tips in this article so you can stay safe whenever you head out on the back of your motorcycle.
Purchase a Motorcycle That Suits Your Needs
To ensure safe motorcycle rides in the future, you need to be certain that the two-wheeler you’re choosing fits you. Don’t be awed by the impressive features of the latest motorcycles that boast incredible power. The truth is you may not utilize all that power as a novice.
Talk to your dealer and say that you’re looking for a starter bike, one with decent power but nothing that can prove overwhelming. A bike equipped with a 300-cc engine should suffice for new riders.
It’s not only the engine you have to worry about. The form of the bike should also be compatible with your body.
Are you comfortable on the seat when you get into the driving position? Can you reach the handlebars with no problem? Can you balance it easily when you’re not moving?
Those are all important questions to ask when shopping for a new motorcycle. Buying a cool-looking motorcycle is hard to resist, but the appearance should not be your main concern.
Invest in Safety Gear and Accessories
It doesn’t matter how skilled you are; you can still be in a motorcycle accident. Even if you do everything right, a negligent driver can cause trouble for you. Protecting yourself against potential accidents is a must.
One thing you can do to minimize the impact a possible accident can have on your body is to wear appropriate gear.
Start with the helmet. The helmet is a must for all motorcycle riders regardless of experience or skill level. Helmets aren’t supposed to remain in use forever since they typically only provide adequate protection for about five years.
The helmet is not the only recommended piece of safety gear for beginners. RideApart also suggests getting some textile jackets and pants that withstand abrasions. A sturdy pair of boots will help you support the motorbike better, while gloves can protect your hands should you fall to the ground.
As for the safety accessories, you can have some anti-lock brakes installed on your motorcycle. Anti-lock brakes can help you maintain complete control over your motorcycle even if something goes wrong.
Also, if you often ride around at night, consider having some reflective tape added to either your bike or jacket. That piece of tape will improve your visibility even in low-light conditions.
Take a Comprehensive Course on Motorcycle Safety
You will need to undergo some form of education or training before you’re legally allowed to drive a motorcycle. However, some of those educational courses may not go far enough in terms of teaching new drivers how to ride safely.
There’s no such thing as getting too much safety education, especially when we’re talking about riding motorcycles.
If you found the initial education and training you received to be lacking, don’t hesitate to take a supplemental course.
The Basic RiderCourse of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is a good one to take up for beginners. You’ll learn in a classroom-style setting while taking the course, and you’ll have opportunities to try out what you learned on the MSF’s riding range.
New riders can feel more confident on the road after completing that additional education and training course.
Always Check on Your Motorcycle before Heading Out
Developing some good habits is an important part of being a responsible motorcycle rider. A habit you’ll want to develop is regularly checking on the condition of your motorcycle.
Even if you encountered no issues whatsoever the last time you were on the road, it’s still a good idea to perform a routine check on your two-wheeler.
Check on the lights and see if all of them are nice and bright. See if the tires are still in good condition to drive. Don’t forget to check for any possible leaks as they could significantly affect the performance of your motorcycle.
You also cannot forget about your brakes.
Try them out a few times before you ride out of your garage. If you feel that something’s off, don’t hesitate to perform a more thorough check. When it comes to your motorcycle’s brakes, you can never be too safe.
Go ahead and check your riding gear too. Inspect your helmet for any cracks and examine your jackets and pants for any tears that could compromise their durability.
Consider putting together a checklist that you can go through whenever you’re planning to use your motorcycle to avoid forgetting something important.
Stay Up to Date on the Traffic Laws in Your Area
There’s an old legal principle which states that “Ignorance of the law excuses no one.” It’s an important saying to remember because we tend to forget that laws exist even if a lot of people don’t know about them.
Traffic officers aren’t going to refrain from giving you a ticket because you didn’t know something you did was illegal. Of course, avoiding tickets is not the only reason why you should study up on the traffic laws in your area.
Learning about the traffic laws will also help keep you safer on the road. You won’t be caught off guard by any surprising moves made by your fellow motorists if you know the laws.
Check the Traffic and Weather Advisories before Going on a Ride
If you’ve had a motorcycle for a while, you’ve probably gotten used to driving on the roads already. Going down neighborhood streets and even some major roads should not prove to be a problem any longer.
However, things can quickly change if the roads you’re driving on are not in optimal condition. You’ll need to prepare better if you want to navigate those roads safely.
Remember to check on the weather report before you set out on your motorbike. There may be some flooding on the roads you frequently ride on. It will be best to avoid them for now.
Slick roads, in general, can be dangerous, so avoid driving too fast on top of them. If you have an appointment, call ahead of time to let the person you’re meeting know that the weather could slow you down a bit.
It’s also important to take heed of traffic advisories and warnings. You may miss a sign indicating there’s a pothole up ahead. Hitting the pothole hard, and you could fall off your motorcycle.
It would be best for newer riders to avoid driving on roads in bad conditions as much as possible. Save tackling them for another time after you’ve accumulated more driving experience.
Practice Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is always about keeping yourself protected. Keep in mind that you’re not the only motorist on the road. There are other folks also on the road, and you cannot always predict how they’ll drive.
By practicing defensive driving, you can protect yourself against the unpredictable behavior of other drivers.
As a motorcycle rider, driving defensively means assuming that the other drivers don’t always see you. You may be in their blind spot, so be careful about getting too close and potentially getting hit if they turn.
You should also avoid weaving in and out of traffic because, again, some drivers may not see you right away. They could speed up, not knowing you’re approaching from the side.
Speaking of speed, don’t go too crazy with it. Maintain a manageable driving speed and give yourself enough time to brake in case something jumps out in front of you.
Never Lose Your Concentration
The importance of always keeping your eyes on the road cannot be stressed enough for new motorcycle drivers. Even a momentary glance elsewhere while you’re still driving could be the cause of an accident.
Checking on your phone while driving is obviously a huge no-no, but that’s not all. You should avoid getting distracted by any billboards you see, no matter how interesting they are.
You should also avoid listening to music for now.
Now, you cannot shut out everything around you completely while you’re driving either. Don’t forget that there are still others around you. Continue checking on your side mirrors to get a look at your surroundings.
If you don’t feel like you can concentrate on the road while you’re driving, it would be best to save the ride for later. You won’t regret not going on the road, but even a minor accident can have an impact on you for a long time.
Don’t Ride Your Motorcycle if You Aren’t in Peak Condition
So, what are the reasons why you could potentially have a hard time concentrating while driving?
Being intoxicated is a possible reason. You’ve likely heard plenty about drunk driving statistics while going through your driver’s education and catching public service announcements on television. Don’t allow yourself to be among those statistics.
Avoid talking yourself into driving because you “only had a few drinks.” Stay off the road if you’ve been drinking to keep yourself and others safe.
Drunk driving is not the only thing you need to avoid.
Riding your motorcycle when you’re tired is also a bad idea. Dozing off while steering your motorbike, and you could end up crashing somewhere.
You should also consider avoiding the road if you’re feeling sick. Your illness could prevent you from concentrating or reacting well to your surroundings. Stay home to recuperate and drive another day.
Even your emotional state can have an impact on your driving. If you’re feeling upset or angry, the road is not where you should be. Try to calm down before you ride your motorcycle again.
Don’t Ride with a Passenger on Your Motorcycle Right Away
Motorcycles are great for commuting. You may be planning to use it to take your kid to school or to give your spouse a ride to work.
Riding with a passenger helps you get more out of your motorcycle. However, that’s something you may want to hold off on if you’re still a new driver.
Consider your motorcycle before you start accepting passengers. Your motorcycle may not be equipped to accommodate another person. Add some accessories such as backrests and passenger pegs first before you ride with someone else.
The added weight could also present a challenge to your motorcycle. If you’re planning to ride with a passenger regularly, you may want to trade your current motorbike in for a more powerful model.
Motosport also reminds drivers that turning corners and braking will be different if you have a passenger. You need to give yourself more room to brake and be more careful when turning to avoid toppling the motorcycle.
The point here is that riding alone and with a passenger are different enough that you cannot assume you know how to do the latter because you have experience with the former. You will need more training before you can start driving with passengers.
I hope that the tips included in this article will help you out. There is a certain amount of risk you must accept if you want to use a motorcycle, but you can mitigate it greatly by heeding the tips noted above.
If ever you do find yourself involved in an accident caused by a careless motorist, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the Quirk Law Group for assistance. We’ll do everything we can to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.