If you just bought a motorcycle for the first time and are a new rider, we know you are enjoying your new ride. Whether you bought it for an inexpensive and convenient way to get around or simply for the sport of riding, there are a few safety tips you need to be aware of. Did you know that motorcycle accidents account for a substantial number of accidents on the road? To stay safe on your new motorcycle, especially while driving around other cars and gaining road experience, here are a few tips to reduce the risk of injury.
1. Pick the Right, Safe Bike
Some motorcycle enthusiasts just cannot get that red Ducati out of their minds. But the time for a big, expensive bike will come. However, it is important that you gain riding experience first and purchase a motorcycle that you can safely drive as a beginner.
The best thing you can do when choosing your first bike is finding one that fits you. This means that when you sit down, your feet should easily fit flat on the road. You do not want to pick a motorcycle that requires you to stand on your tiptoes since you still need to learn how to balance on the motorcycle.
Additionally, you should be able to easily reach the controls and handlebars without too much effort. Another tip, do not choose a motorcycle that weighs too much. Choose one that you are able to get easily on and off the center stand.
2. Do not Forget the Pre-Ride Inspections
Before you set out for a ride make sure to conduct a quick inspection to make sure the bike is safe and in good condition to operate on a highway. Here is quick list of things to check:
- The chain, shaft, or belt for breakage or stiff grime
- Fuel and fluid levels (keep an eye out for leaks)
- Tire pressure and condition
Even seemingly small malfunctions can be a big deal on a motorcycle. For example, a tire blow-out can prove fatal and present a danger to other drivers on the road. A pre-ride inspection can help to lower your risk of accidents and mechanical dysfunction.
3. Try to Avoid Dangerous Weather
While rainy, slippery weather presents a danger to all motorcyclists, beginners may be even more prone to getting into an accident when there are adverse weather conditions. When possible, during bad weather choose to stay home to try to find another form of transportation. It is important to gain wet-road driving experience if you unexpectedly drive into a storm. The best way to gain this experience is at your local motorcycle course. You can use this facility to learn how to drive well in less-than-ideal conditions, without presenting a danger to others on the road.
If you do find yourself caught riding in the rain or snow, slow down and put an ample distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles on the road. Remember that cornering and other maneuvers are more dangerous in slippery road conditions. Use caution with the throttle, brakes, and steering. The most dangerous time to ride is right when it begins to rain before the oil on the roadway has washed away.
Bad weather conditions, including fog, can limit visibility for everyone on the road. Ride slowly and double-check before switching lanes. Rain also makes it difficult for other drivers to see you, so drive cautiously around other vehicles.
4. Practice Defensive Driving
In a dream world, motorcyclists would like to have the road completely to themselves, or at least share it with other drivers who are continuously looking out for them. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Despite many states’ efforts to increase motorcycle awareness and safety, other drivers still present a danger to motorcyclists.
In order to lower your risk for accidents, drive defensively. This requires you to always double-check for vehicles around you before you attempt any maneuver and leave yourself plenty of room to accelerate, brake and change lanes. Riding with others can also help you to be more visible to vehicles on the road.
High-traction tires and anti-lock brakes are a great investment and help slow down quickly when needed.
5. Educate Yourself
All motorcyclists should be safe, smart and operate their vehicles legally. Consider participating in motorcycle-safety courses to improve your skills, and practice riding in a controlled environment. Do not rely on a fellow rider to teach you, make sure you seek out experienced professionals to learn proper motorcycle education.
After you have taken a course or two, get a license and ride legally. Even when you are experienced, make sure to take courses once a year to brush up on your skills.
As with operating any vehicle, never ride when you are under the influence of any substance. Alcohol is a major factor in fatal motorcycle crashes.
6. Wear a Helmet
This one is a given. But you may be surprised to learn that some drivers don’t always wear their helmet. Head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents. If you don’t wear a helmet, you are risking your life each time you get on the road. Make sure that your helmet Department of Transportation-approved with safety features.
Invest in other safety equipment like gloves, boots, and road gear that will protect you from dirt, rain, debris, and potential skidding.
As a beginning motorcyclist, following these tips can help keep you safe and lower your risk of accidents. Even so, accidents can happen even when you take precautions. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, contact your personal injury attorney immediately.