Safe Riding Tips
Motorcycle riding is fun, there's no doubt about that. But if we're honest with ourselves it's also probably the most dangerous thing we do on a regular basis. Summer is here and riding is a high priority for us. Below are some tips for staying safe on the roads out there this summer:
Always wear a helmet with a face shield or protective eye wear.
Bikers don't like being told what to do, and thankfully we live in a state where we still have the freedom to choose to wear a helmet. The facts however are that wearing a helmet is the best way to protect against severe head injuries. A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury. If you choose to forego the helmet, state law does dictate that all riders (including passengers) must wear protective eye wear. This is to keep anything from getting in your eyes and temporally obstructing your ability to ride safely.
Wear appropriate gear.
It may be hot outside and leather is hot, but the best way to minimize a lengthy recovery period in the event of an accident is to wear the proper safety gear. Make sure to wear protective gear and clothing that will minimize the amount of injuries in case of an accident or a skid. Wearing leather clothing, boots with nonskid soles, and gloves can protect your body from severe injuries.
Follow traffic rules.
We like to have fun on our bikes but it's important to remember to never get complacent on a motorcycle and to obey the traffic laws. Remember the faster you go the longer it will take you to stop. Be aware of local traffic laws and rules of the road (even though others may not be following them). When riding in a group, be sure to ride safely, use the proper hand signals, and ride to YOUR ability, if you don't feel comfortable with the way the group is riding go and speak to the road captain.
Don't assume that a driver can see you, as nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider's right of way. You should always ride with your headlights on; stay out of a driver's blind spot; signal well in advance of any change in direction; and watch for turning vehicles.
Keep your riding skills honed through education.
Riding is a skill that is learned and honed over time. Start off by complete a formal riding education program (Harley Davidson's Riders Academy is a great place to start), get licensed and take more advance riding courses to hone those riding techniques and to sharpen your street-riding strategies. Ride with the group, the more you ride together the more in sync and confident you will become with the group, speak to the Road Captain of the group and ask him to give you any tips that might improve your riding ability.
Be awake and ride sober.
We as riders don't drink and ride, you could cause harm to yourself and others. Additionally, fatigue and drowsiness can impair your ability to react, so make sure that you are well rested when you hit the road. You are 11X more likely to be involved in a motorcycle related accident after just 1 drink.
Preparing To Ride
Making sure that your motorcycle is fit for the road is just as important as practicing safe riding. Should something be wrong with your motorcycle, it will be in your best interest to find out prior to hitting the road. To make sure that your motorcycle is in good working order, check the following:
Tires: Check for any cracks or bulges, or signs of wear in the treads (low tire pressure or any defects could cause a blowout)
Under the motorcycle: Look for signs of oil or gas leaks
Headlight, taillight and signals: Test for high and low beams (make sure that all lights are functioning)
Hydraulic and Coolant fluids: Level should be checked weekly