First Things First – Get a Licence
Before you even consider getting a motorcycle, enrol in a basic motorcycle operation course. There are private organisations that provide training on how to ride a bike. You can find the names and numbers to suitable trainers or training organisations by contacting your local department of motor vehicles. When you call to get information about the training programs and courses, make sure to ask if it is required that you bring your bike or if they use their motorcycles for training. You may also want to double-check to make sure basic safety is covered (it usually is).
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Getting Proper Riding Gear
To increase your likelihood of staying safe and free from injury in the event of an accident or other unexpected danger, all precautions must be taken. This means using the proper safety gear designed to protect you on your motorcycle like;
* Make sure you have a durable jacket, preferably made of leather or some other thick, protective material.
* Wear heavy boots that cover the ball of your ankle completely and do not have rubber soles.
* Ensure your helmet is up to code and covers your entire head, face, chin and ears and that you are wearing your helmet correctly. Also, make sure that your helmet is the right size by ensuring that it fits properly and snugly without being too tight.
* Wear gloves made of leather or other sturdy material to protect your palms and hands from injury should you take a fall.
* If you ride at night or in places that are dark, be sure you use reflective gear so that auto drivers will see you.
Rules of the Road/Safety Tips
Some of the motorcycle riding tips below seem like common sense, and others will be safety precautions you never even thought of. Whether you are brand new to bike riding or an experienced rider of many years, the safety tips below will ensure you are doing your best to prevent danger and injury on the road to both you and other road users.
- Checking the Bike
* Check the tires. Make sure there is adequate tire pressure. Check the tire’s surface for any cuts or embedded foreign objects.
* Check the controls and all cables. Make sure there aren’t any loose cables or wires anywhere.
* Check all lights and signals to make sure they are in proper working condition.
* Check the bike’s horn to make sure it works and adjust the side mirrors.
- Sharing the Road
* Two motorcycles may share a lane as long as both bike operators are okay with it. In this case, ensure there’s plenty of room for and between you and the other motorcycle operator as well as between you and any other vehicles.
* A staggered riding formation is preferable to riding side-by-side.
* Always keep your bike in one lane or the other as lane splitting is illegal.
- Shifting Gears
* Shift only when travelling in a straight line – avoiding shifting gears when you are in a turn.
* Become familiar with the sound of the motorcycle so you can easily tell when it is time to shift gears without having to glance down at your indicators.
* When you come to a stop in traffic, leave the bike in first gear with the clutch released. This allows you to move quickly if something is coming up behind you.
- Turning Safely
* Slow down when entering a turn and keep your eyes focused on the turn.
* Lean your body and your motorcycle into the turn.
* Accelerate into, through and out of the turn.
* Use your front brake every single time you want to slow down. Up to 70% of your stopping power is contained in the front brake.
* Always apply your front and rear brakes at the same time. Make sure you do not apply either one hard enough for the wheels to lock, as this can cause the bike to skid.
* Do not remove your foot from the left peg until the motorcycle comes to a complete stop.
- Road Hazards
* Learn to glance far ahead into the road frequently to plan your course of action and strategize how to manoeuvre your way safely through traffic.
* Railroad crossings should be taken at a 90-degree angle if at all possible. Slow down when crossing the tracks and stand slightly on the foot pegs while you cross over.
* When you come across potholes, try to swerve around them if it is possible and safe. Otherwise, slow down while rising slightly on the pegs and go right into and over the pothole.
* Bikes may park at an angle in parallel parking spaces.
* Even though your motorcycle will fit in smaller spaces, always make sure that it is far enough from automobiles that an open door will not knock your bike down.
* Don’t forget to engage your kickstand.
All the motorcycle riding tips in the world will not keep you safe and sound on the road unless you have had the proper training, practice, and preparedness. Take a motorcycle operators training course, get the proper license, and get ready to ride! Prepare by putting on the proper safety equipment, including jacket, helmet, and gloves. Review the rules of the road and learn your basic motorcycle etiquette. Take extra care when turning, shifting gears or braking. Most importantly, have fun!