Many riders end conversations with the same couple of words or phrase, “Ride safe”, “keep the rubber side down”, “don’t die”, they all mean the same thing: Ride in a way to live another day.
How do we ride safe? The minute we sit on the bike we know we are taking a risk. Here are some of the best ways to manage this risk – EVERY TIME. Riding a motorcycle is adventurous and an exhilarating experience. The harsh reality is that motorcycle riding can be very dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on the open road:
Select the right motorcycle – Before you can even take a ride, you have to find a bike that suits you. For new riders, the task can be as difficult as deciding on your first tattoo. Many riders decide on their next bike based on looks, when in fact this should be the second of third item you consider. What should be considered is: Overall power, wet weight, power-to-weight ratio, and your judgement.
Full-Face helmet, ALWAYS – Wearing a full-face helmet, with a face shield (or eye protection) is always the best decision. Most accidents occur at slow speeds… Even at slow speeds, not wearing a helmet is a huge risk. The helmet may save you if you hit a patch of gravel, or an oil slick, or… ANYTHING!
Protective Gear – Just because you have never dropped a bike doesn’t mean you won’t horizontally park one day. Boots that cover your ankles, an abrasion resistant jacket with armor, long pants or jeans, gloves, and the full-face helmet. You are likely asking yourself do you really need to wear all of this in the summer to, yes, YES you do. If that is unbearable, get a vented white helmet, and some lighter colored or white gear.
Stay Sober – Have you ever heard a pilot say “Eight hours from bottle to throttle”? This applies to riders too. Safe riding takes all of our concentration. Always be aware.
Check the weather, then check it again – Planning makes a safe rider. Be safe, never assume, and always check, check, and check the weather and road conditions again. This might mean you have to make changes to your route, or times of your rides, but in the end, it could save your life.
Rest up – Being on a motorcycle requires a significant amount of focus. Make sure you are a safe motorcyclist and get a good night’s sleep. Take breaks, stay hydrated, stretch, and nap if needed.
Pre-Ride Check – Check the lights, breaks, and turn signals, tire pressure, and fluids before every ride. Remember what you did when you sat on it for the first time on the showroom floor? You checked the suspension, you adjusted the mirrors, and you pictured yourself riding. How does your bike feel today? Good? Are you cramped? Are your shoulders relaxed? Back comfortable? Make adjustments if needed. Then check the brake and clutch levers again.
Obey the laws of the road – This may sound obvious, but it is important to follow traffic rules, use signals and ride the posted speed limit to avoid accidents.
You’re invisible: Ride defensively – You cannot assume that other drivers see you – Avoid other drivers’ blind spots; Drive with your headlights on even during the day, wear reflective or bright clothing, and always use your turn signals and hand signals. Don’t stop looking, thinking, scanning your mirrors, and being alert.
Advanced Riding Course – Increase your skills by taking an advanced riding course. You will learn collision avoidance maneuvers, advanced turning, control tips and braking techniques. The more prepared you are the better you’ll be!
Is this list comprehensive on everything you need to stay safe? No, not at all. But it is a good start. Review this diligently before each ride, you will increase your general riding safety, and as always, Ride Safe!