When it’s time to hit the road, there are a few steps you can consider to make your trip a safe one.
Here are some of the best.
1. Too much speed going into a curve? Don’t panic. Straighten up the bike and brake hard. Once the bike has slowed then lean the bike over to take the curve or corner. If you think the bike is still going too fast to make the curve then lean it over more. You’d be surprised how far over you can lean a motorcycle at speed without falling down.
2. Pay attention when something doesn’t feel right. If a little voice in your head is telling you not to ride your motorcycle, don’t. Maybe you’re sick and your balance isn’t quite right, or you’re mentally groggy, or tired, or angry. Maybe you can’t explain why but you just have a nagging feeling that you shouldn’t get on the bike. If that’s the case, don’t ride.
3. Do a pre-ride inspection of your bike. Is it ready to go? That is, are your tires in good shape with proper air pressure? Do the lights and turn signals work properly? Do you have enough gas? Is the engine oil at the proper level? The radiator fluid?
4. Wear the proper gear. Besides looking cool, quality motorcycling gear protects you in the event of a crash. Always wear a DOT-approved helmet as well as eye protection, a sturdy jacket, gloves and boots, at a minimum. Quality riding pants or chaps are good additions to your motorcycling wardrobe.
5. Don’t stow your jacket when it’s hot out. You may be tempted to take off your jacket when it’s hot. For safety reasons, wear your jacket. There are other reasons as well. Riding in hot, sunny conditions in a T-shirt exposes more skin to the heating rays of the sun and dehydrates you faster, raising your temperature. To keep cool with your jacket on, periodically soak your T-shirt with water and open the jacket's vents.
6. Be careful carrying a passenger. You’re excited about riding and may want to share your excitement with a loved one or friend by taking them for a ride. First, make sure you are comfortable enough riding a motorcycle yourself to carry a passenger. A passenger adds a lot of weight to the machine and can upset the bike’s balance. Teach the rider to hang on snugly, lean the way you lean and look over your shoulder on the inside of turns. Start out slow to get used to the added weight on the machine and how the bike operates.
7. Slippery road? Stay smooth. The more you ride, the more challenges you’ll face and the more comfortable you’ll become dealing with them. Slippery roads are something that motorcyclists must be concerned about because, after all, a motorcycle only has two wheels. Whether you are dealing with a rain-slick road, mud, gravel or even those big metal plates that construction crews sometimes lay on the roadway, stay smooth. Quick actions could spell disaster. Slow down. If you accelerate or brake, do so gently. Try to keep lean angles to a minimum. To get more traction in the rain, ride in the path of the wheel of the car in front of you. If the rain is heavy, pull over and sit it out.
8. Don’t drink and ride. You need to stay sharp while riding a motorcycle. Studies show that drunken riding is a major problem when it comes to fatal single-vehicle motorcycle crashes. Riding from bar to bar and drinking alcohol isn’t a good idea.