Motorcycle Riding Tips
We all have enough "In memory of…" patches on our vest and do not wish to add any more. So here are 11 motorcycle riding tips to remind us of the things that can keep us in one piece and out of the hospital.
· If you are a novice, sign up for and attend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. Not only will this course teach you lots of the things that will help keep you safe but your motorcycle insurance will probably be slightly lower as well – and who doesn't want to save on insurance, especially when riding in states with Helmet Optional laws that require large bodily injury coverage to enjoy the right for those who ride to decide.
· Remind yourself where your suicide or kill switch is located. This switch, if you realize you are going to have to drop the bike, can save you from having your own motorcycle run over you causing injury.
· If you are just learning to ride and live in a highly populated area, have an experienced rider take you and your bike into an area with little or no traffic. A parking lot of a closed business works very well. Neighborhood streets can cause the residents to complain. Ride in this controlled environment until you feel completely in control of the vehicle. Learn how to stop and start easily and smoothly. Learn how long it takes to stop safely – it isn't the same as stopping a car.
· First-time street riders should choose a time of day when the traffic is at a low. Jumping into rush hour traffic can easily lead to an accident on your very first outing. Select a route that takes you into very low traffic zones such as through neighborhoods, scenic routes and avoid at all cost getting on a freeway until you gain quite a lot of experience.
· Never, ever become aggressive toward a car or truck driver. Those cars win every single time in a road rage situation. They are bigger, heavier and have a lot more power. If someone tailgates you, tap your brake lights a few times and if they don't back off, change lanes or give them the road by pulling off to the side
· We all know black is the only cool biker color, right? Well, if you are going to be riding at night in a poorly light area, it is much more important to be seen than to be cool, no matter what your friends say! Be sure your lights are bright and clean for maximum visibility but also consider placing reflective tape on the back of your helmet (if you use one) and maybe a glow in the dark patch on your back.
· Never trust cages. Car drivers somehow, no matter how loud or how rowdy bikers can be, manage to simply not see us! The blind spot in most cars is sufficiently large for a motorcycle to be completely hidden from view. But other cage drivers simply don't seem to look for us. Unless, of course, they son, daughter, husband or wife happens to ride; unfortunately, we can't tell who those people are and have to be doubly aware of other vehicles than when driving a car.
· Never assume that just because there is no turn signal on that car that it isn't going to turn right in front of you. No matter how many other drivers don't use turn signals, ALWAYS use yours and, if you have a passenger during daylight, hand signals can be an extra preventative measure.
· You know those trucker bumper stickers that say "If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you"? Well, use this same common sense when riding. If you can't see the driver's face in the rear view mirror of the vehicle in front of you, chances are they can't see you at all. Stay out of blind spots at all times.
· Once you become an experienced rider, when riding on city streets, always allow room for other people's errors. An added safety tip is that you should remain aware of where you would choose to put the scoot down if the need arose. If you get in trouble and have any time at all, select where to lay the motorcycle instead of allowing traffic or the bike to determine that for you. If you can elect to place the bike on the ground, allowing it to move out from between your legs at low speed, you will experience much less road rash than allowing momentum to take you with the motorcycle.
· Novice riders should never carry passengers. That comes later with more road experience. The movements of a rider can cause a situation where you can easily lose control, especially at very low speeds.
Above all, plan for safety so you will come home safely to ride again another day. Road rash and accidents costing hundreds of thousands in medical bills are all too common. Be defensive and be aware to avoid losing your bike – or worse, your life.
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