7 tips for riding motorcycles

I found a cool video about riding, which is below. After the video, I list my 7 tips for riding.

Take safety seriously before you get on the bike

Motorcycle riders must take responsibility for their own safety, and your safety begins by using your brain and not riding outside your limits or like an idiot.

Good gear is important, too. Consider wearing a helmet, gloves and a quality motorcycle jacket at a minimum. In regard to a helmet, some states have universal helmet laws, partial laws, or no law requiring them. It depends on where you live. However, as many wise motorcyclists have said, just because you don’t have to wear a helmet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one.

Other pre-ride tips include adjusting the mirrors and inspecting the motorcycle’s chain, belt or shaft to see that it is in good working condition.

Choose footwear with good traction

Roads get slippery in many conditions, not just when they are wet. Oil and sand are among other common road debris that can make the road surface slick.

The last thing you want when you’re coming to a stop and putting your feet down, or when pushing off a bit to launch your ride forward, is for your feet to slip.

If the footwear you choose is designed specifically for motorcycle riding, it will have other built-in features that will make your ride more comfortable and safe.

Ride more defensively than you drive a car

Motorcycles are more difficult to see than cars and trucks, and most drivers aren’t trained to look for them. Plus, the stakes are simply higher for those who get hit on a motorcycle vs. those who have a car-to-car accident. Those are unpleasant facts you have to keep in mind when riding.

Take into account the irresponsible drivers who are talking on the phone, texting or turning around to yell at kids in the backseat, and you get an idea of the dangers you face. Accepting them will make you prepared; ignoring them will make you vulnerable.

Master looking ahead and anticipating

One of the most important principles of piloting a motorcycle is that you will drive where you look. Keep your eyes looking forward several hundred feet to watch how the traffic flow ahead of you is developing and changing.

Use peripheral vision to observe vehicles beside you or about to enter the flow of traffic from side streets and parking lots. Anticipate what is going to happen, and react accordingly. This doesn’t mean you should overreact. Just stay a step ahead of what is developing. For example, if you’re riding on a road with two lanes going your way, and a car is coming out of a parking lot on your right, move to the left lane if clear before the car makes its move. This puts you in control and prevents you from having to react rapidly should the car not see you and pull out in front of you.

Know how far you can go on the gas you have

Learning your motorcycle’s actual MPG and its fuel tank capacity are essential to knowing when you will need to get gas. This is especially important if you don’t have a fuel gauge, and even some newer bikes don’t. Multiply your tank capacity times the MPG to get your maximum distance, and then set a trip odometer. Knowing when you’ll need fuel will prevent the hassle of running out of gas in an inconvenient location, to say nothing of the grief you’ll get from the friends you’re riding with.

Speaking of gas …

Having whisky throttle can be dangerous on a high powered bike. Make sure you are comfortable with your machine and know its throttle response. Don’t use a throttle lock on your motorcycle unless you are an experienced rider. Also, consider taking an MSF course for safety, which leads to the next point …

Know state laws for motorcyclists

Laws for riding motorcycles vary widely. While helmet laws get the most attention, your state might also have laws about eye protection, whether the motorcycle must have mirrors, the use of high beam and rules for riders.

Learn your state’s laws before you start riding, and look up laws in other states you’ll be visiting. Motorcycle laws are available on each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website.