The wind in your face isn’t always a bad thing. For motorcyclists, it’s synonymous with the freedom of riding. Motorcycles are more vulnerable than cars, minivans, and trucks though, which means extra vigilance is required for bikers. Bike maintenance is also key for a vehicle balanced on only two wheels. A sudden jolt from parts failure can lead to a spill.
Your safety gear comes first
If you’re new to riding, the leather ensemble that many seasoned motorcyclists wear isn’t just a fashion statement. The thick leather serves as a second skin. Not only can it protect against the elements, but it can also help protect your real skin against road rash if you and your bike part ways while in motion. Leathers built for motorcycling have padding or multiple layers at vulnerable contact points, like the elbows.
Other gear for safer riding:
• Face shield, goggles, or motorcycle glasses
• Gloves with padded palms
• Non-skid boots
If possible, it’s safest to avoid riding at night, but if you find yourself out after dark or at dusk, reflective clothing can be a lifesaver. Reflective safety vests are available that can fit over a heavy leather jacket.
Perform a pre-ride inspection
The weather is great and you’re anxious to get out on the road, but a safety inspection only takes a few minutes and could help ensure that your great day stays great. In the best case, a tire failure will leave you stranded at the roadside. The worst case can be, much worse.
• Tires: Check for weather checking or deep cracks in the sidewall or tread. Tires aren’t made to last forever and it’s common for tires to age-out before they wear out. Cracks make your tires more vulnerable.
• Leaky puddles: Fluids should be inside the bike. Any puddles warrant further investigation. It may just be a loose oil drain plug or it could be a sign of bigger trouble.
• Test your systems: Before you head out, test the brakes in the driveway. Also, adjust the mirrors and test the horn. Hello, Neighbors! Check the throttle and clutch for smooth operation as well.
The world may not be out to get you, but other drivers may not realize you are there or may not realize bikes don’t handle like cars. Motorcycle riding is a lot like riding a (non-motorized) bike. In both cases, you need to try to anticipate the moves of other drivers by reading their body language and the position of their vehicles. Seasoned riders know cars often start in a direction before the turn indicator goes on – if it ever does. Be aware of blind spots for drivers as well – and try to stay out of them. The rear corners of the vehicle are the most difficult to see.
Be a good neighbor on the road
Road rage is a bigger problem than ever and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to aggressive drivers. Minding your road manners on your bike and following traffic laws can help reduce potential problems with other motorists. A simple wave to say thanks for yielding or letting someone in when traffic gets heavy goes a long way toward building goodwill on the highway. Say, the weather is great – what are you still doing inside?
By combining your motorcycle insurance with your home, or auto policy, you can save on your premium. Need some more information on motorcycle insurance contact our brokers for assistance and they will answer any questions.