Top 10 Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips

Written by: Editorial Staff

December 27, 2010
Filed Under Motorcycles 


Contributed by David Galassi, Info Guru

Every motorcycle rider should have a mental checklist of the top motorcycle riding safety tips.

In addition to basic safety equipment, like a DOT certified motorcycle helmet and riding gloves, seasoned and novice motorcycle riders should have a list of safety checks and basic bike maintenance musts.

Here is my list of the top ten riding safety tips for smart bikers:

10. Check your bike before you ride

Always check the tires. Pressure is important and you only have 2 wheels. Check for wear and damage and debris. These are the two single most important parts on your bike. Check lights, turn signals and levers for proper function.

9. Know how to turn

When turning, always slow into the turn and look ahead as far as you can. Tighten your knees to the gas tank and keep your feet on the pegs. Accelerate out of the turn — not into it. Lean as needed and coach your rider to do the same.

8. Fuel

Care should be taken when fueling. A hot exhaust can ignite gasoline if spilled on it. Carefully tip the gas nozzle into your gas tank filler. Be caeful not to spill what’s left in the nozzle. Never hang the nozzle into your tank unattended. 3-4 gallons only take a moment to dispense, so fill slowly and with your hands in control of the nozzle. This avoids overfill and spillage.

7. Visibility

Increase others’ ability to see you and your bike. Visibility is very important. Reflective and highly visible colors aid in having others see you. Wear a helmet with reflective detailing, in a bright color. Ride with your brights on during the day. Add additional lighting if you can. The brighter you are the more you stand out and the less likelihood of a driver not seeing you.

6. Stay alert

Use your senses – especially vision – constantly. Check each mirror and look ahead as far as you can. Anticipate car movements by way of exit ramps and intersections. Look both ways when crossing a marked or unmarked intersection. Watch for potholes and road debris. Never fix your eyes on one thing for more than a few seconds. Don’t rubberneck and don’t tail gate.

5. Clothing

Wear pants, not shorts. Boots not sandals. A shirt or jacket, not a bare chest. Gloves, not bare hands, and most importantly eye protections. Road debris and hot motorcycle components can cause severe injury. Correct clothing and safety wear eliminates 95% of unnecessary injuries.

4. Proper braking

Apply both front and rear brakes equally. Don’t “lock up” either as a skid can occur. Be aware of wet pavement and additional stopping distance. When fully loaded with gear and a rider be aware that additional braking time is needed. Also be aware that sudden braking will cause your rider to move into you. Be prepared for this by stiffening your legs on the pegs.

3. Riding across debris and train tracks

It is bound to happen. A pothole, a branch or other debris gets in your way and you have to ride over it. Shift your weight forward and rise up a bit on the pegs. Slow down but don’t brake. Stay straight as you cross the obstacle. The same rule applies for train tracks and bridge grates.

2. Wind and weather

Wind behind you is a blessing. Wind that’s into you or a cross wind can cause drifting so steer accordingly. Take care to not drift into oncoming traffic or other lanes. If it’s too windy or gusty “Don’t Ride” or take slower, less traveled roads. It might take longer bit it is safer.

1. Drinking and Riding

The same rules apply as driving a car – multiplied. Your reactions are required 5 times more often on a motorcycle. Alcohol impedes your judgment that is imperative for safe riding. And it’s not just you. You may have a rider to watch out for. Biker bars are great destinations. Know your limit and wait one hour for each drink you have before heading out.


One Response to “Top 10 Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips”

  1. Pigpen on February 1st, 2011 9:36 am

    As a former safety course instructor, I can attest that these are good tips. Clearly we bikers don’t heed these tips on EVERY ride (e.g., you don’t have to give your bike a 20-point inspection before every trip to the chapter meetings), but they’re all good practices to follow.