Top 10 Motorcycle Riding Tips
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Paul Seaburn
With gas prices fluctuating (mostly upward) and baby boomers retiring and making bucket lists, motorcycle riding has never been more popular.
Bikes of all sizes and speeds from the classic Harley hogs to scooters and electric cycles are merging into traffic with cars and trucks. Before getting on a motorcycle, it’s a wise investment to take a riding class. Once you’re comfortable on two wheels and ready to hit the road, check out these motorcycle riding tips.
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10. Practice, Practice, Practice
Every motorcycle riding tip is just that – a tip. Making it a safety habit requires practice. Find a deserted stretch of highway or an empty parking lot with pylons to reinforce what you’ve learned in training. Once you’re comfortable, ride during off-peak traffic hours as often as you can to feel comfortable with your new habits.
9. Go Slower In Traffic
Reducing your speed as traffic volume increases helps you avoid mistakes, both yours and others. Your peripheral vision widens as you decelerate and other motorists have more time to react to you. Just like in a car, braking distance shortens as you slow down.
8. Mirrors Don’t See Everything
Both side-view mirrors are important but they don’t always see everything. Get used to taking a quick look over your shoulders to add an extra level of viewing before changing lanes or making turns.
7. Stick Out
On a bike, safety trumps style. Black on black is cool, but bright yellow or orange let’s you be seen far enough in advance for other drivers to be cautious. Keep your lights on even during the day add reflectors to your bike, helmet, boots and anything else a driver might see. If possible, select a motorcycle jacket that’s already reflective for maximum visibility.
6. Watch For Other Ways Out
Your first instinct is to hit the brakes when facing a dangerous situation, but a bike is light, narrow and maneuverable, so watch for other ways out to avoid an accident. Riding on someone’s lawn is better than sliding across the gravel.
5. Mind The Gaps
Traffic is an ever-changing flow filled with clogs and gaps. Your safest place to be is in those gaps where you have open space around you to help your vision and give you more time to make decisions. If traffic is heavy, slow down a little and make your own gaps.
4. Be A Head Watcher
Not every motorist uses turn signals but most will move their heads before making a move. Get in the habit of watching for heads looking over their shoulders or checking their mirrors and you’ll be ‘ahead’ of the curve when the driver makes a move.
3. Look Down
It’s important to watch traffic but it’s just as important to watch for road hazards. Pot holes can appear out of nowhere and where there’s one, there’s usually more. Spilled fuel and oil will look shiny up ahead and sometimes you can smell it too. Then there’s water, gravel, sand and things that fall off of trucks – flashing brake lights up ahead are often a sign someone has spotted them for you.
2. Be Paranoid
The one person you know you can trust on the road is you. Don’t make assumptions about other drivers. People in safe cars take risks, people in slow cars drive fast and people who look like they’re paying attention aren’t. Trust no one, including other bikers – rely on your own skills and continue to improve them.
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You can try to outrun a storm or you can stop until it passes – which one do you think is safer? The same is true with tiredness – it’s better to stop and rest and arrive late than push your body, mind and reaction times beyond their limits.
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