Motorcycle Safety Tips
Riding a motorcycle is fun and enjoyable when you are smart and safe! Here are a couple of tips to consider to make your ride the best it c an be!
Inspect your motorcycle before each ride.
Always INSPECT your bike before you ride. Even if you are just riding a short distance, make sure you conduct a thorough walk-around before leaving! There are many things to check, like:
Tire pressure and tread
But also check any bags, or added items that may come loose while riding.
Check the WEATHER before riding out. The pavement becomes extremely slick just after a rain shower. The oils on the road can cause dangerous slippery conditions immediately following even a quick shower! Also be prepared for the weather conditions in what you wear...
CLOTHING and GEAR is as important as anything else! The correct size of helmet, gloves, boots, and Chaps will help protect you. But the pants and shirt you select are crucial as well! Always wear long pants and long sleeved shirts. Depending on the weather you may want to consider "layering" so that you can adjust your comfort to conditions.
This sounds obvious, but OBEY TRAFFIC LAWS! From speed limits to stop signs, wether you are riding solo, or in a group, these all apply to you as an INDIVIDUAL rider!
Be ALERT! The other drivers may not see you, so it is imperative that YOU look for them!
Be aware of any road debris like tire tread, potholes, car parts, roadkill and even grass and leaves. In Ohio, we have a lot of creatures (possum, squirrels, raccoons, and deer to name a few) that like to use our roadways, so be on the lookout for them as well! These obstacles can be very dangerous for riders, especially when caught by surprise!
Don't tailgate! You need MORE stopping distance than the car in front of you! You should Keep a 4-second gap between you and the car in front of you.
Consider taking an advanced riding course.
Practice your skills by taking an advanced riding course. You will learn collision avoidance maneuvers, advanced turning, control tips and braking techniques, among other great riding habits!
Enjoy your ride without distractions!
Ride safe. Ride smart!
Below is a GREAT safety checklist we found on cardosystems.com that will help you be thorough!
1. Body and Frame
First, walk a quick lap or two around your motorcycle and see if you notice anything that’s immediately and obviously wrong. Check the condition of the bike’s body and note if there’s anything that wasn’t there before. Look for cracks in the frame, especially in joint welds and places where accessories are mounted. Ensure that things like foot pegs are securely attached.
Next, it’s time to check your brakes. Start by examining your brake pads for signs of wear and tear. Most brake pads have a wear groove on them. When the groove disappears, your brake pads are in need of a change. Make sure also that your pads are wearing in a relatively even pattern. Finally, try out both your front and rear brakes to ensure that they feel firm and solid.
3. Electrical System
First, pop open your battery compartment and give the battery a visual inspection to make sure the terminals are firmly attached and free of corrosion. If there’s gunk accumulating on your terminals, give them a gentle wipe down with a baking soda solution. Test your battery and ensure that it has a full charge.
Next, turn the key in the ignition and make sure the console display and other electrical elements are working properly. You’ll especially want to go through a full check of all your lights, including brake lights, running lights, turn signals and, of course, your headlights (both brights and normal).
4. Wheels and Tires
First, check the pressure on your tires and make sure that they’re at the manufacturer’s recommended psi. Then, take a look to see if the tread is starting to wear out. Most tires have wear bars that appear when the tread is close to needing replacement, or you can use the “penny test.” Also check for uneven wear in your tires that can indicate misaligned wheels or other problems.
Inspect the condition of your wheels as well. Your spokes should be straight and your rims free of major dents. Make sure that bolts and spoke nipples are securely attached and tighten as necessary.
Take a look at the hoses that connect things, like your brake lines and radiator. These hoses are made of rubber, so you should be looking for cracks that could indicate an impending failure. Once you’ve checked for cracks, grasp each hose gently by its ends and give them a quick wiggle to verify that the hose is securely attached.
6. Handlebar Controls
First, rotate the handlebars and make sure that they have a full range of turning motion. Next, check that the controls on your handlebars (like the throttle and clutch) are working and easy to operate. If it’s been a while since you measured the play in your clutch lever, take its measurement and adjust it to make sure that you get the right level of clutch slack.
You should also perform a quick check of your motorcycle’s essential fluids. For most bikes, that will include the engine oil, brake fluid, fork oil and transmission fluid (if your motorcycle uses it). In many cases, you’ll want to check these while your bike is cold, but look at your manual to find out what the manufacturer recommends.
Finally, make sure the gear that keeps you safe and connected is in working order:
-Helmet is free of cracks and visor is clean
-Gear fits well and doesn’t rub uncomfortably
-Motorcycle communication system is fully charged and connects to your devices
If you’re riding with a passenger, make sure to check their gear as well. On a motorcycle, one rider’s safety is both riders’ safety!