Fuel-efficient and fun, motorcycles can be ridden minus their statistics-backed reputation for causing serious injury. Alertness and strict observance of safety practices for riding your bike can already minimize your chances of getting injured. Then couple that with your mastery of advanced motorcycle riding techniques learned from courses such as these offered by the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the Office of Criminal Justice Services in Ohio.
Here are proven ways for safe motorcycle driving. You’ll find them crucial when taking your DMV motorcycle test.
Helmet and Whole-Body Protective Gear
You may look great wearing only a bandanna on your head when cruising on your bike at high speeds, but there is such a thing as stupidity, which can be deadly. A helmet, which is your head’s only protection in the event of a crash, should be of high-quality, preferably one that has passed the standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Whole-body protective gear and lace-up shoes can help keep you safe from road rash when you accidentally fall off your bike. Be very visible to motorists, as well. Make sure your motorcycle has neon decals or you are wearing brightly colored clothes.
Study the manual that came with your bike, and know the basics of motorcycle maintenance. These include checking for tread wear, properly inflated tires, oil level, and any light that may have burned out. Your dealer can show you how to adjust the motorcycle’s chain. It pays to learn this basic maintenance technique, because chain replacement is costly. You would not want to ruin yours quickly. Tire inflation is vital, too. Over-inflation and under-inflation can affect steering, which can save your life if you have to make an emergency stop to avoid injury during the split-seconds of skidding and crashing. Tire treads, of course, help with traction and steering.
On top of understanding state laws on motorcycle riding, speed limits, express lane rules, and other restrictions in your area, master your basic skills. You should be fully comfortable with the use of the handlebar accelerator, brake, clutch, and foot-pedal gear shifter. You should also be knowledgeable about interpreting your fuel and speed gauges. It would be nice if you can find someone experienced to teach you basic riding techniques such as braking, navigating a turn, accelerating, and parking. Practice in an open parking space or any isolated area.
You can’t become an expert motorcycle rider overnight. So, take your bike on short distances to get a hang of it after you’ve mastered basic riding. Also, practice applying what you’ve learned from your advanced riding class, if you trained on one. Things you can learn from an advanced riding course may include risk management, controlling your bike at low speeds, making an emergency stop safely, swerving fast when rounding a curve or a corner, and maneuvering curves and small spaces.
Lastly, remember that having a passenger changes the dynamics completely. Make sure that you are comfortable first with your bike and your riding skills before you take another person with you on the road. Stay safe!
Russell Jones works in motorcycle instructional training and always appreciates the chance to share his insights online. He has posted his thoughts on a variety of youth lifestyle related websites.