For many motorcyclists, riding is something they can’t live without – but it does undoubtedly have its risks!
Most riders know the basics of safety: Never ride while drinking or compromised, wear good safety gear, obey the rules of the road… but have you seen these uncommon tips?
Check them out below to add an extra level of safety to your riding experience!
1. Stay Comfortable
Motorcyclists are daring, right? Movies show them tempting fate, pushing the limits of man and machine, taking risks, and otherwise making poor choices…
In reality, “normal” riding is the safest and arguably most rewarding choice. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort or ability on the road is a recipe for disaster. Some ways you might unintentionally do this include riding tired, cold, or at speeds or in conditions that you’re unaccustomed to. The U.S. Motorcycle Safety Foundation actually defines these scenarios as having a good (or poor) “risk offset.”
2. “Test Drive” New Gear (before riding)
It’s very hard to ride a motorcycle with numb arms. Stay with us here for a second.
Have you found a sleek leather jacket you can’t live without? Or a perfect new helmet that would match all of your current gear? Is your hand halfway to your wallet any time you’re around (or browsing online for) new gear? Well hit the brakes!
Testing out new gear is an essential part of safety. If you’re looking at a new motorcycle jacket, put it on, and then stretch and bend your arms in front of you. Hold that position for a while… did your arms go numb from any pinch points?
This “test and see” idea can apply to almost any gear. New gloves? Can they close easily around an imaginary throttle? Even helmets will come in different shapes and with different pressure points, though we don’t recommend buying a display helmet!
3. Keep Calm
A lot of motorcycling best practices has to do with skill, or preparation, but arguably just as important is your attitude.
As a rider it’s important to understand how vulnerable you are on the road, because there’s a good chance the automobile drivers around you won’t. Losing your temper or riding recklessly out of frustration only furthers the chance that something could happen to you. Save that pent up energy for the gym, not the road.
4. Buy a Poncho
When you become a motorcyclist, you become a weather expert. But sometimes even experts make mistakes.
Not many things can turn a fun day of riding into a difficult or even dangerous trek home faster than an unexpected rainstorm. On top of that, moisture accelerates the near-constant cooling effect motorcyclists are exposed to while on the road.
The solution? An inexpensive plastic poncho or thin rain jacket, stored on your bike! This piece can be easily put over or even under your riding jacket (over may cause it to inflate if it’s large) to provide an instant water and windproof layer.
5. Choose Good Friends
People are naturally “group animals,” and because of that we tend to behave however the group around us is. The same habit is just as strong on two wheels as it is on two feet.
Before you even swing a leg over the seat of your motorcycle, ask yourself who you’re riding with, and what their riding style might be. If you’re with aggressive, risk-taking high-speed riders, it may be best to go it alone for the day. Navigating how to choose your friends versus your “motorcycle friends” may be difficult, but it’s well worth the effort.
Like any skill, motorcycle riding requires planning and practice. Following safety tips and tricks like the ones above is a great way to ensure you have plenty of future rides and memories to enjoy!