Whether it’s a simple cruise through town or an adrenaline-pumped blast up the twisties, rider safety must always be the number one priority for any kind of ride. After all, keeping oneself safe on any given ride not only avoids expensive repair and medical costs, but also ensures that motorcycle rides in the future can be fully enjoyed by a rider keeping himself or herself safe. Without further ado, here are 10 safety tips every motorcycle rider should know.
1. Motorcycle inspection
The first safety tip for any rider would be to embrace motorcycle inspection as routine. Before any ride, make sure to inspect your tires, wheels, fluids, chassis or frame, hand and foot controls, and the electrical system. Ensuring that your motorcycle is functioning properly and healthily is the first major step in preventing any unwanted breakdowns or failures while on the road.
2. Eyes on the road
When spending hours on the saddle, it can sometimes be easy to get lost in thought. However, on a motorcycle, this can be very dangerous since motorcycle riding demands a very attentive rider. Make sure to keep your eyes on the road—on the lookout for potholes, road debris, oil or water spills, and other kinds of hazards that may be avoided—and if you can’t keep yourself attentive and will need to rest, make sure to take stops accordingly.
3. Watch your blind spots
Mirrors don’t capture the entire picture of what’s behind you – motorcycles too have their own blind spots. Don’t rely only on your mirrors. It’s important to also use your own head to glance left and right in order to properly assess blind spots which may not be captured by your mirror. When doing so, ensure that there are no hazards in front of you and make sure you glance quickly so as not to take your eyes off the road in front of you for too long.
4. Gear up
Use the appropriate safety gear for your ride whenever possible. Make sure to use a reputable helmet with good safety rating and use arm and leg protection. Many riders tend to skip out on safety gear since it can tend to feel a bit bulky. However, don’t forget that safety gear is cheap insurance— spending a few thousands on padded armor is certainly cheaper than spending for a sizable hospital bill. As much as possible, gear up properly for every ride.
5. Watch the skies
Is today’s weather going to be blistering hot, or will it rain? Understanding the weather plays an important role in planning for your ride. Weather can dictate the gear choice you will make for the day, the route plan for your ride, the exact timeframe you will be out on the road, the spare clothes or gear you might bring with you, and so much more. Follow the weather forecasts and plan accordingly in order to keep your ride as enjoyable and safe as possible.
6. Ride like you’re invisible
Another important riding technique would be to ride as if you were invisible. This basically means that you should assume other motorists do not see you—they might swerve into you, they might pull off an emergency brake maneuver, they might turn into your lane, and so much more. By assuming you are invisible and riding extra defensively, you can safely assess which part of the road might be the best place to position yourself in order to avoid unwanted collisions or accidents.
7. Ride your own ride
One of the most dangerous things a rider can do would be to push the limits of riding skill and the motorcycle’s capabilities beyond your personal comfort zone. If you’re out with a group of friends or happily riding solo, make sure to ride your own ride in order to keep full control of your motorcycle. Don’t attempt to follow a much faster rider or experiment with dangerous techniques on the road. Keep yourself in an enjoyable comfort zone in order to maximize control over your machine.
8. Respect other motorists
Being out on the road for hours at a time is no easy feat. Oftentimes people are just trying to get to their destination as smoothly as possible. As such, it’s important to recognize that other motorists simply want their own peace of mind on the road—and the same can likely be said about your own ride. Respect other motorists: don’t get too close to cars or other motorcycles, don’t give in to road rage, and when a fellow motorist is in need of help, feel free to pull over and lend a helping hand if you can spare the time.
9. Manage your energy
Motorcycling is a very engaging activity and is therefore also a very tiring activity for many individuals out there. When going out for a ride, it’s important to manage your energy levels. If you’re feeling fatigued or if you’ve just finished a very strenuous activity, it may be good to sit a ride out and instead focus on rebuilding your energy levels. Managing energy will go far in keeping you safe on the road and it’s important for you to know when to call the shot on pursuing a ride or sitting one out.
10. Take care of your pillion
The last safety tip would be for the times that you decide to bring along a passenger with you. Remember that when taking on a passenger, you are responsible for the life and safety of the person behind you. As such, it’s important to revisit all of the 9 tips above and apply the same to your passenger. Always remember that a happy and safe passenger also means a smooth and easy going ride for the driver. Always remember to take extra care of your pillion rider and you should be good for your next ride out.