5 Safety Tips You Need to Know Before Getting on a Motorcycle
Nothing answers the call of freedom like getting on a powerful motorcycle and hitting the open road. The community of motorcycle enthusiasts offers camaraderie with others who crave that freedom. If you’re a beginner motorcycle rider, there are some things you should know to keep yourself safe.
1. Take a Riding Safety Course
Introductory riding courses familiarize you with the bike’s important parts and show you how to mount and dismount safely. They teach you safe ways to start and stop, negotiate curves, turns, and lane changes, and help you deal with some mental blocks that can happen. They can also recommend beginner-friendly motorcycles.
At the end of the course, you should be able to pass a motorcycle license skills test. In some cases, passing the skills test at the end of the course means you don’t have to retake it for the DMV.
2. Always Wear Proper Motorcycle Gear
Proper riding gear protects you from the elements, the heat of the bike, and the possibility of an accident. Wisconsin motorcycle law requires that anyone under 18 and operating a motorcycle on an instructional permit always wear a helmet.
Helmets reduce the chances of head trauma in minor accidents, which are common among beginning riders.
Wearing a long-sleeved top, long pants, and close-toed shoes when riding can reduce the risk of road rash and burns from the bike’s engine if you have an accident. However, avoid outfits made from synthetic fabrics. Synthetic materials melt when they get hot and can melt to your skin. Leather offers the best protection against road rash and burns, but denim is also appropriate.
Motorcycle boots prevent your feet from slipping and protect against the heat coming from the bike and the road.
3. Wait to Ride with a Passenger
Understandably, you want to share your new passion, but you should wait until you have more experience. Passengers change the way your bike handles. Sometimes passengers get scared and forget what they’re told to do, and an experienced rider has a better chance of recovering. For your safety and theirs, make them wait until you’re ready.
4. Assume Drivers Don’t See You
Most drivers have very poor awareness of motorcycles. Because of their size, motorcycles can be hard to see, especially in vehicles with large blind spots. To minimize your chances of getting hit, you need to assume that drivers don’t see you.
When stopping in traffic, like at a stoplight, don’t stop in the middle of your lane. Staying toward the left or right side can help drivers’ awareness. Tapping your brakes catches the attention of the driver behind you.
Don’t stay in another vehicle’s blind spot if you’re on a multiple-lane road. Drivers may have difficulty seeing you if you ride in one for a while.
5. Maintain Your Motorcycle
You should be familiar with your bike’s important parts and inspect them before every ride. The things you should check are:
- Tires and wheels: Check your tire pressure and examine the tread and walls for embedded debris or bubbles. Make sure there’s no excess grease on your wheels which could mean a bad seal.
- Controls: You want all the moving parts to move smoothly. Look for nicks or holes in cables and hoses.
- Lights and electrical, including the battery: Check the battery terminals and make sure the lights and blinkers work.
- Oil and other fluids: You should have optimum oil levels, transmission fluid, coolant, and hydraulic fluid. Make sure you have enough non-ethanol fuel. Look for signs of leaks.
- Chassis: Your frame should be free of any cracks or broken welds. Make sure the chain or belt has proper tension and lubrication. Check accessory mounts to make sure they aren’t loose.
- Stands: Ensure your stands are not cracked or bent and that the springs have enough tension to hold your bike upright.
You should repair any cracked parts or leaks before you ride. If you ride while your bike needs maintenance, you may cause an accident.
Even with safety training, accidents still happen, and motorcycle riders are at higher risk of severe injury in an accident. Contact a Green Bay motorcycle accident attorney, at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, for your free case review today if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay unless we win a settlement or judgment in your case. Contact us today for a no-obligation and confidential free evaluation of your claim.