Buying a motorcycle can be the end goal to a lifelong dream, or maybe you just want a zippier way to get around town. Whatever your reason, a motorbike can be a rewarding mode of transportation. However, riding can be quite dangerous. So, it’s more important than ever to know how to stay safe while riding your motorcycle. Here, we’ll take on some of the most vital safety tips for your motorcycle trips.
11 motorcycle safety tips.
1. Take the right courses
Just as there are drivers ed courses, motorcycle education courses can teach you the ins and outs of your motorbike, plus how to operate it safely. Like most drivers’ ed classes, these courses will have written and on-the-road tests to gauge your skill level and qualify you for the proper license. To get the most out of your course, make sure you find a school that is supported by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and/or has a Rider Education & Training System (RETS) curriculum.
2. Get the right license
While it may not be mandatory to obtain a motorcycle-specific license, the safest practice for operating a motorbike will be to take the proper courses and obtain a motorcycle-specific license. Typically, these licenses are classified as M1 or M2 licenses and should be obtained in addition to your Class C drivers’ license. Some states have different requirements in order to get your motorcycle licenses. However, they may also give you the option to skip the written and road tests for the license if you take the proper courses. So, check your state laws for motorcycle licensing. (Georgia, by the way, does require you to have a Class M motorcycle license.)
3. Always wear motorcycle safety gear
This may or may not go beyond just a helmet. Make sure that when you ride, you’re wearing gloves, pads, and proper clothing. Safety gear like helmets should always be checked for cracks, rips, and imperfections that could compromise the effectiveness of its protection in a crash. Make sure that your safety gear fits snugly, but not so tight that it impairs your movement on the bike.
Long-sleeved shirts and long, think pants can be helpful in an accident, but also while riding your bike. Pants made with thick/durable materials (like a sturdy set of jeans) can reduce the risk of skin burns from parts of the bike that get too hot. Long-sleeved tops or jackets can create a barrier in an accident and prevent more severe cases of road rash.
4. Don’t drive under the influence
Driving a motorbike requires you to be even more alert and aware of other drivers. Motorbikes are obviously a lot smaller and offer a lot less protection than the cabin of a four-wheeled vehicle that’s surrounded by metal. So, make sure you’re not altering your senses by operating your motorbike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Again, this goes beyond when the bike is actually in motion. Know where the various gears and controls of your bike are. Practice using and switching between them while your bike is turned off and safely parked.
6. Follow the speed limit
It might be tempting to give the throttle all you’ve got, but speed limit signs are there for a reason. They were designed to be the best speed for that specific road in ideal conditions. So, keep an eye on your speedometer and be even more cautious when conditions on the road are less than ideal. This is an essential motorcycle safety thing.
7. Look out for hazards
Again, motorcycles are a lot smaller and offer a lot less protection than the cabin of a car. This means that small inconveniences to a car can cause much bigger problems for a motorbike. So, keep a close lookout for road hazards like debris, animals, potholes, cracks, bumps, and uneven spaces in the road. Pay attention to warning signs and learn the proper defensive riding techniques to safely avoid these hazards if you find yourself face to face with one.
8. Be hyper-aware of other drivers.
Remember, drivers of four-wheeled autos don’t have the full field of vision that you would on a motorbike. Try to stay out of vehicles’ blind spots (especially larger vehicles), avoid riding too close to vehicles, and pay special attention to how the drivers around you maneuver. Give yourself plenty of stopping distance between cars and plenty of room to account for erratic driving behavior.
9. Make your intent clear
Although a motorbike is small, avoid weaving between traffic and squeezing through tight spaces on the road. Most states inform drivers to give motorcycles the same space that they would give another car. So, do your best to define your motorbike’s “bubble” and drive according to the space you need.
Use your turn signals while turning and merging, and make sure you give the drivers around you enough notice of your intent to move.
10. Be especially careful when carrying passengers
Finally, if you’re taking someone else along for the ride, take special care to follow all traffic laws and safety measures. Make sure they know the rules of your bike and proper motorcycle safety as a passenger. You’re responsible for their life too if they’re tagging along!
11. Get the right motorcycle insurance
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and with a motorcycle, those accidents can have more severe effects on everyone involved. So, you want to make sure that you have the proper coverage to protect yourself from anything that comes your way, on or off the road.
Our insurance experts know exactly what types of coverage you’ll need for your motorbike and your unique riding situation. We also know the best ways to save you money on only the coverage you need. So, stop missing out on great savings on quality motorcycle coverage. To start getting cheaper rates on the motorcycle insurance you need, give our insurance specialists a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today!