Motorcycle safety tips

By George Garza
Info Guru,

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Man on motorcycle
This biker follows some essential safety tips before he begins riding
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Stay safe on your motorcycle by following these tips.

If you are a motorcycle rider or if you are planning on riding a motorcycle, here is a list of some motorcycle safety tips that you should consider.

I'll start with the obvious one: wear a helmet and other protective gear. While you may think it macho, cool, or exciting to ride without one, if you are in an accident, you don't have far to travel before you hit something. Protect yourself.

Let's look at some other things that you should do to make sure that you are safe.

Mental and Emotional Preparedness

Any stress or distractions may turn your experience and motorcycle driving ability into one with less than a month on the road. If you are mentally stressed, riding a bike may not be a good way to go. If you have been drinking for the past two hours, or you are just getting over a pretty bad case of the flu, don't get on a bike. If you have just been notified about a death in the family or if you just had an argument with your spouse, you may not be mentally ready to ride.

Operating a motorcycle safely is much more physically and mentally demanding than driving a car. Are you physically able to ride safely? Are you mentally prepared to ride and concentrate on the riding tasks? Many things can impair either or both.

Riding Gear

You should be comfortable when you ride. That is why you ride. But if your gear is not rider-ready, you could be in for trouble. What is proper riding gear? It depends on the conditions, but at minimum it is:
  • A helmet approved by DOT, and preferably also by Snell. The helmet should fit snug but not be too tight. You should have a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, snug at the wrists. Wear long pants.
  • Wear full-fingered gloves. They protect you in more ways than one: from the weather, from flying objects, in accidents and they can help you control the bike better.
  • Wear eye protection. This can be glasses, goggles, or a face-shield. Windshields alone on motorcycles will not give you adequate eye protection.
  • Wear sturdy footwear. Leather is not just fashionable it is strong and it should cover you over the ankle. It protects you against abrasion; on most motorcycles, many hot parts are near your feet and ankles.
  • If your laces are long and dangling, you may have problems. If you come to a stop and your foot won't go down because you have a lace caught in the shifter or brake pedal, they are too long.

What About the Bike Itself?
  • Your tires are your connection to the road check them for proper air pressure, tread depth, cracks, and bulges or embedded objects. The wheels should not have dents, cracks and roundness. The spokes should be tight and not missing spokes. The bearings and seals should not show signs of failure.
  • Check all your control cables and levers. They should move freely and should not be frayed. Your cables and hoses should be of sufficient length and not interfere with steering. Your throttle should move freely with no sticking and the snaps should be closed when released.
  • Your electrical system should be fully checked. This includes the battery, the headlight and other lights and reflectors for operation, cracks and fastening.
  • Check oil and fluid levels. This includes brake and clutch fluid, coolant and gasoline.
  • You chassis should be solid, so check the condition of the frame look for cracks, dents or bends.
  • Check the side and center stand. Make sure they are not cracked or bent.
Carrying a Passenger

If you do carry a passenger, you should know and do the following:
  • Not all motorcycles are designed to carry passengers, so check to see if yours is designed for one.
  • Passengers should only sit in the area designated for a passenger.
  • Your combined weight should not exceed the maximum recommended weight for your motorcycle.
  • Make sure your passenger has proper riding gear as well.
  • The passenger should keep his or her feet on the foot pegs at all times. Avoid the hot parts.
  • The passenger should sit still as much as possible, particularly when slowing or stopped. When riding, always lean with the motorcycle so the passenger's torso will be the same angle as the motorcycle. When in a turn, look over the shoulder of the operator in the direction of the turn.
These motorcycle safety tips come down to a simple one: be alert. Bike riding is fun, but without the proper anticipation of problems, you could easily find yourself in a bad situation.

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