There is something so magical when you get your first bike and you feel like you’re ready to hit the open road. You’ve taken the time to research which motorcycle is best for your needs, you’ve gotten your license and you went all out to get the best protective gear available. You feel like you’re finally ready to enjoy your very first season. You’ve done everything right, so what could go wrong? The answer? A lot!
Even if you’ve played it by the book up until this point, there’s still plenty to learn about handling a bike safely. While there’s no denying that motorcycles are the coolest way to get around, it’s good to keep in mind that motorcycle crashes are about 30 times more likely to be fatal than a crash between motorists. Make sure you stay safe while out on your bike and enjoy a stellar first year as a new rider by following these essential safety tips.
1. Get the Right Gear
As a brand new rider when it comes to your gear, more is definitely more. Although everyone wants to look cool when they get on their bike, safety should be your top priority. Even when it’s warm outside you should be wearing motorcycle jeans, leathers, reinforced kevlar jackets, a helmet, goggles and boots for protection.
2. Inspect Your Bike
Before you hit the road you should always stop to give your bike a good once over. Every time you get on the road you should check your tire pressure, lights and mirrors.
3. Be Visible
While you may be tempted to deck yourself out in all black or brown gear, visibility is your friend. Typically, bright or neon gear isn’t something most motorcycle companies manufacture, so look for an appropriate safety vest or even some neon reflective taping to add to your gear.
4. Ride with Trusted Pals
Ride with seasoned riders who you can trust to help keep you safe. Can’t think of anyone you trust to share a lane with? In that case, riding alone is better than sharing the road with someone who could be a distraction.
5. Never Ride Tired
Riders should make a stop every 75 to 125 miles. While only you know your tolerance, don’t push it. Set your mileage rule. Stop. Stretch, get your blood circulating and refresh your brain before you head out again.
6. Don’t Forget Your Gloves
Ill-fitting gloves can greatly affect your safety. Female riders should always look for gloves made from a slightly thinner leather to wear in the summer months. However, they won’t offer as much protection in the winter, so investing in heated grips may be a better solution.
7. Leave Room
When riding with your fellow riders, remember to always leave at least a 20-foot cushion between each other.
8. Use Your Head
It is important to utilize your mirrors but you need to use your head to be fully aware of your surroundings. Experienced riders should keep their head and eyes up as they round corners and change lanes.
9. Check the Weather
Make sure you always paying attention to the weather forecast. Wet or icy roads can make riding dangerous and poor visibility means you should stay off the road.
10. Warn Other Drivers
If you’re riding in a group and you see oncoming traffic, give them a heads up and let them know how many riders are behind you. If an oncoming rider doesn’t signal you, always assume there are more riders following and proceed with caution.
11. Go at Your Own Speed
Always ride at your own pace. Pushing yourself to keep up with others is dangerous and never a good idea.
Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to spend some time educating yourself on how to be a better rider. Take some introductory riding lessons, join a local riding association and eventually, invest in more advanced classes.
Stay Safe and Have Fun on the Open Road
With the right protective gear, a good sense of your abilities on the road and respect for your fellow riders, you’ll find that your first year as a new rider will fly by. You’ve got all the tools you need, so get out and enjoy life on the road!