15 Tips for the New Motorcycle Rider
Riding a motorcycle isn’t that difficult, but when you are a new motorcycle rider, there is definitely a steep learning curve. Simply starting and stopping at traffic signals or while going uphill can present a huge challenge. Some things, you have to improve by experience. However, there are tips for new motorcycle riders that can make the learning process a little easier.
15 Tips for the New Motorcycle Rider
Get a good helmet.
It’s a hard reality that you are more likely to crash when you are a new motorcycle rider. This doesn’t mean you are going to get in a high-speed accident. Highway rides on relatively straight stretches are in many ways easier than local roads. Just about any wreck has the potential to dump you on your head, so wear a helmet that is DOT-certified, and choose a helmet that has as much coverage as possible. This is not to suggest that you should ever wear anything else, but new riders are more likely to get into preventable accidents, and any added protection is beneficial. Half-helmets and beanie helmets are sometimes considered “cool,” but if you’ve ever seen their efficacy, you know that more coverage is always a good thing.
Especially in the southern states, it gets warm. You’ll see people riding their motorcycles in flip-flops, which paints an excruciating picture in a wreck. They make vented, lightweight boots for summer wear. Invest in a pair instead of risking the loss of your toes in a road rash debacle.
Choose a bike you can handle as new motorcycle rider.
Most new riders want to appear experienced and hang with the experienced riders without any ill comparison. This is cool, but honestly, all riders appreciate you being able to handle your bike. You are more likely to tip over a bike that is too big for you to handle. Riding a bike that is too fast may have a tendency to put you in dangerous riding situations. Ride a motorcycle that is at your riding level. A light bike that is not a racing bike is appropriate for beginners. You’ll enjoy your ride, and you won’t ruin your bike by some silly mistake. More importantly, you’ll be safe on a bike meant for your skill level.
The hands are fragile.
Just like the feet, the hands are something many warm weather riders neglect. The hands just get ruined if you are in a wreck. That is not only because they don’t have a lot of cushion to begin with, but you tend to try to stop your body with your hands. So much tissue damage can be avoided by simply wearing gloves designed to handle some pavement.
Visibility = safety.
There’s a period in the new motorcycle rider’s life where he or she gains a dangerous amount of confidence. This may make the person try darting in and out of traffic or taking corners at too high of a rate of speed. This is only made more dangerous by the fact that it’s hard to see a motorcycle. Even if you are driving in plain sight, you might not be seen. Keep yourself in as visible of a location as possible, wear bright colors, and use your headlights. Especially as a new motorcycle rider, you may not be able to dodge other vehicles, so make sure they see you coming.
Look where you want to go. This goes for straight stretches but even more so for corners. Looking ahead will help your body to almost automatically go in that direction. When pressing through a corner, looking ahead will help you to navigate the bike through the corner by pressing the coordinating handle instead of trying to turn with the corner. Your body is programmed to go in the direction the eyes tell it to go. Don’t look into oncoming traffic, and if you’re cornering, look through the corner to where you want to end up.
Always inspect before you ride as a new motorcycle rider.
If you want to avoid completely PREVENTABLE accidents, inspect your bike before you ride. Make sure you don’t have any tire damage and that everything looks connected properly. Check your lights. If you ride everyday, a simple visual inspection will suffice. However, if you’re new to riding, a deeper inspection will help you learn your bike. Check out T-CLOCS inspections for further information. A good inspection may prevent you from getting a dangerous blowout from worn tires, or it may keep you from being stranded on the side of the highway. It also helps keep you safe from mechanical problems that could cause an accident.
Invest in quality body gear as new motorcycle rider.
If you’re going to cut corners in your motorcycle investment, don’t cut those corners in riding gear. Riding gear is only as good as its stitching, and cheap gear equals poor stitching. Should you ever have to slide on a roadway, you want your body gear to stay intact in order to do its job.
Watch your gas.
You may have a gas gauge on your motorcycle, but if you don’t, figure out your gas mileage and the size of your tank. If you don’t, you’ll have some very unfortunate circumstances of being stranded.
Tires are your lifeline.
Inspections are important, but every rider gets relaxed and starts to depend on the condition of the bike the day before they ride. In some cases, this is fine. ALWAYS check your tires before your ride. It’s simple, and tires are your lifeline. They are the only thing connecting you to the road. If they fail, you may be seriously injured.
New motorcycle rider: beware of tar snakes.
Those little tar repairs on the road can turn into a slick hazard when heated by the sun. Try to be aware of tar snakes, and TRY to drive through them in an upright fashion. Reduce your speed, and proceed with caution. Tar snakes are navigable, but they can be a challenge.
Don’t brake through a turn.
You want to slow down before you reach a turn, so you can speed up through the turn. This actually gives you more control. You probably learned this in your motorcycle education class, but it is always a good thing to keep in mind especially when you start to get too comfortable with your riding knowledge.
It doesn’t matter who is driving poorly, you have to drive defensively when you are on a motorcycle. This is simple physics. You are simply not safe driving aggressively with another vehicle that outweighs you by multiple times. Play it smart, and drive defensively.
Use your visor.
If you haven’t had a bug in your helmet yet, give it time. When this happens, the first important thing to remember is to stay calm and get off the roadway. You can reduce the chance of this happening by using your visor. It also helps reduce the chance for eye injury.
Always plan a way out.
Lastly, a new motorcycle should always be thinking ahead and looking or a way out. This means assuming the worst and hoping for the best. A safe ride is one where a rider has considered all the hazards and found ways to prevent them. Simply crossing your fingers isn’t enough to avoid collisions.
The new motorcycle rider has things to learn.
The new motorcycle rider is not necessarily going to have to learn tough lessons, but he or she can limit these lessons by being prepared. A fun ride is a safe ride, but accidents do happen.