If you’re new to the two-wheeled world you might be surprised to learn that there is a lot of folklore surrounding riding, particularly when it comes to safety.
For example, some riders believe that full-faced helmets are intrusive, while others believe it’s the most important piece of gear to own. Other times you may hear people say it’s perfectly acceptable to ride on “old” (past their expired date code) tires, while others won’t touch them even if they appear to be fine.
Like most topics, however, there are a few main truths underneath all the speculation (and even conspiracy theories) of best riding practices!
1. The Gear Basics
Source: Injury Patterns among Motorcycle Trauma Patients
The first step of safe riding is a good set of gear. Despite the passionate views of some, helmets are arguably the most important part of your gear set. Study after study has shown helmets save heads, which is good news — as that’s the most likely area to be injured in a crash!
After a helmet, investing in a good pair of boots and gloves is next. Any over-the-ankle boot will work, but a motorcycle-specific pair with added reinforcement is always best (the same goes for gloves). To complete your gear set, consider a motorcycle-specific jacket. These come with reinforced stitching and padding, and with the added benefit of making you look cool too!
2. A Motorcycle That Fits YOU
Source: Motorcycle Ergonomics Simulator
This one might seem obvious, but it’s shockingly not. Too many riders choose a bike based on how it looks, not on how it feels or fits.
Your bike should be something you are comfortable on. You should be able to sit on it with both feet firmly on the ground, and easily be able to reach the bars in a position you can hold for long periods. While the age of the bike doesn’t necessarily matter, the condition does. All parts should be well serviced and in good condition (including the tires!).
3. Basic First Aid – For You
Image: Amazon, Motorcycle Operator Kit
With safety your top priority it only makes sense to pack a basic motorcycle first aid kit. So what makes a motorcycle first aid kit different from a normal one? The answer: how much space you have on your bike!
In truth, motorcycle first aid kits can be purchased or built out from just the basics to full trauma-treatment packs. Choose whatever you feel comfortable keeping on your motorcycle, and be sure to go through it at least once a year to ensure your supplies are fresh, undamaged, and well from expiration dates.
4. Basic First Aid – For the Bike
Image: Revzilla, Stockton Compact Tool Kit
People aren’t the only ones that can encounter trouble on the road, so it’s best to always be prepared. An on-bike motorcycle kit should include your manual, a basic set of tools (including any specific to your bike), a flashlight, and precautionary pieces like a tire-plug kit and mini jump pack/phone charger. While it may sound like a lot, most if not all of these items are highly compact and can be stored easily within any interior compartment.
5. Safety Modifications
Image: Ride Vision 1 Camera Alert System
There’s an old saying that goes “luck favors the prepared,” and that’s especially true in riding. Though all of these steps may seem (and in fact, are) safety-oriented, it’s for a good reason. By investing in safety at the very beginning of your journey in riding, you’re ensuring that you have the most fun possible every time you ride.
Some common safety modifications include add-on lights to the front of the bike, these provide extra light, and make the motorcycle more noticeable for drivers. Other modifications include bike-mounted camera systems, and LED brake and turn signal upgrades for visibility.
And there you have it — the 5 basics needed for a safe and fun riding experience. Investing a bit of time into these steps of preparation will help to ensure you have a great experience every time you ride!