You may have noticed signs the past few months on our roadways urging motorists to “look twice and save a life”. Even though May was Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month urging all drivers to look twice for us, every month should be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month where a motorcyclist is concerned.
Let’s take a look at tips from seasoned riders. For this article, a “seasoned” rider has been riding for 20 years (or more) and averages 20,000 miles per year. And, for full disclosure, these seasoned riders are Motor Maids. Way to go ladies! If you’re not familiar with this Motorcycle Club, check out the Motor Maids.
Tip #1:Be seen Most motorcyclists wear black. Black helmets and black jackets. Which makes you blend in to the scenery and is difficult for you to be seen by others. Bright reflective options should be your colors of choice. If not, consider wearing a reflective vest over your jacket.
Tip# 2: Choose your riding companions carefully Ride with people who know how to ride and that you trust. Most seasoned riders prefer to ride with a select few companions or by themselves.
Tip #3: Wear the right gear Always wear your protective gear. Boots and gloves that fit you well, summer gear to keep you cool and winter layers to keep you warm. And, always wear your helmet.
Tip #4: Don’t trust your mirrors Your bike’s mirrors do not give you the full view. Your motorcycle has a blind spot. Always add a quick check over the appropriate shoulder in addition to checking your mirror.
Tip #5: Scan the area ahead prior to stopping When coming to a stop at a red light or stop sign, check the area where you plan to put your feet down. Look for oil, gravel, sand, dirt, crowned road, wet painted on road markings, pot holes etc. Be aware that all these hazards may cause instability for your feet when you take them off the pegs and put them down.
Tip #6: Cancel the signals Don’t leave your signal light blinking. This can cause others to pull in to your path of travel.
Tip #7: Check your bike before you ride Before you sling your leg over the seat, check your tires, tire pressure, look for any leaks and make sure the lights are working. The MSF recommends doing a T-CLOCS inspection. Tires/wheels/brakes, Controls,Lights/electrics, Oil/fluids, Chassis and Stands.
Tip #8: Be weary of intersections Don’t go speeding through an intersection as soon as the light changes. Most motorcycle accidents occur at intersections or in curves/turns. Take an extra look or two when pulling out into an intersection.
Tip #9: Get the right fit for confidence Do your feet touch the ground? All the parts of your feet? Can you reach and turn the handlebars comfortably? Can you lean the bike slightly to the left and right without your heart beating out of your chest? Is the seat comfortable for riding more than 5 minutes? Is the size (and horsepower) appropriate for your skill level and experience? How your bike fits you has a direct impact on how confident you are going to be riding it.
Tip #10: Don’t drink and ride Drinking alcohol, taking drugs and riding your motorcycle are not a mix for survival. Separate drinking from riding. And, don’t even consider having an intoxicated passenger behind you. Judgement and vision are the first two of your important motorcycle riding abilities to suffer when you drink. Make the choice to separate yourself from riders that have been drinking.
Special thanks to all of my Motor Maids sisters who contributed to this list of tips. Want to know more about Motor Maids?