9 Motorcycle Safety Tips
There is nothing like the feel of the open road. For many motorcyclists, life is just the other stuff we do in between rides. A responsible rider follows a mental checklist before hopping on their bike and hitting the road. Whether you are a novice or have been riding your whole life motorcycle safety is your number one concern. We have put together a list of motorcycle safety tips we consider every time we ride.
We are not saying you need to be decked out in leather gear, head to toe. But, we have all cringed when we see the occasional rider sporting jeans, a t-shirt, and sandals. Your riding gear needs to protect you from wind chill, bugs, debris and road rash should you wipe out. Consider reinforced jackets, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear, even in summer. You should also wear protective eye gear. You may even want to choose gear with some bright colors so that other drivers can easily see you.
Avoid bad weather.
The weather is unpredictable. We get that. But, avoid planning a trip when you know it is going to rain, or even right after a storm moves through your area. If it has been exceptionally cold, wait until midday so that any ice patches have a chance to melt. Slippery conditions make for dangerous conditions. High winds also make riding a challenge. Be extremely careful in gusty conditions.
The moment you get on your bike, you should always be aware of your surroundings. Never assume that other drivers will yield to you, or even see you, for that matter. Be proactive and alert. Be especially cautious when passing on a busy highway and maneuvering through winding roads.
Keep an Eye Out for Road Hazards.
Sand, wet leaves, gravel, or pebbles create slick driving conditions for motorcycles. While driving a car, you may barely notice uneven pavement, bumps, and potholes, but while riding on a motorcycle, these could spell real trouble. If you cannot avoid the hazard, slow down and approach it with caution. Be especially careful crossing railroad tracks, exposed wood bridges, and steel trestles. Be alert and cautious at intersections.
Brush up on your skills.
Riding a motorcycle requires both mental and physical skills and practice makes perfect. Consider taking a course to fine tune your skills, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned rider. Make sure it is a class offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. These classes teach both the basics and advanced techniques. The approved courses also qualify you for insurance and manufacturers discounts.
Make sure your motorcycle is a good fit.
We are not just talking size, but power too. While a massive motor with extraordinary power seems appealing, you must have the handling skills. You must be able to physically lift, or push your bike over if you fall. Consider, too, the functionality of the bike. For what purpose are you driving it? At Chesapeake Cycles, we always recommend choosing a bike based on your current abilities rather than choosing a bike you will grow into.
Inspect your bike from top to bottom.
Before each ride, give your bike a quick look over. Make sure the signals all work, check the chain, belt, shaft and the brakes. Inspect the tires for excessive wear, and check the tire pressure. Look for any loose or flapping parts, and tighten them up. Learn more by checking out our blog on getting your motorcycle road ready.
Wear a helmet, every time.
While helmet laws vary from state to state, we always recommend wearing one. Modern helmets are lightweight, streamlined and fashionable. Most importantly, they save lives! It is also important to note that helmets deteriorate over time. Make sure to inspect your helmet for excessive wear and tear or cracks.
Always be considerate.
This goes without saying for many veteran riders. For anyone new to the game, avoid weaving in and out of stalled traffic or riding on shoulders. This could aggravate other drivers and cause them to react negatively. Be patient and cautious so as to not put you and others at risk.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association [NHTSA], in 2006, motorcyclists were 37 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car. For riders, even small mistakes can cause horrific accidents. We hope these motorcycle safety tips help. Chesapeake Cycles believes the best rider is the safest rider. Come on in and check out our gear and accessories. We want you to enjoy your ride, while at the same time being as cautious as possible.