7 tips for a safe motorcycle season
Whether you’re a seasoned biker or you’re just taking your motorcycle out for the first time this year, keep these tips in mind to stay safe when you hit the road:
- Wear the right gear every time you ride. Protective gear like a padded motocycle jacket, leather clothing, gloves, non-skid boots, and a helmet with a face shield (or other eye protection) can help protect you if you’re involved in a collision or skid. You should also consider choosing bright colours that will be more visible in the dark and think about adding reflective tape to your clothing. If you have a passenger riding on the back of your bike, they need protective gear to stay safe, too.
- Perform a visual and physical check before every ride. You should always:
- check your tires for cracks, bulges, or any other visible signs of wear,
- look for signs of oil or gas leaks under your motorcycle,
- test your high and low-beam lights,
- clean and adjust your mirrors,
- test your front and rear brakes,
- make sure your clutch and throttle are working correctly, and
- test your horn
- Be diligent about maintenance. Be sure to follow the maintenance instructions in your owner’s manual, and keep up with oil changes and chain and suspension adjustments. You should also make sure your brake pads are always in good condition. If you notice that something doesn’t seem right, look into it right away and don’t risk breaking down mid-ride.
- Keep an eye on the weather. It’s one thing to get caught in a downpour when you’re in a car, but when you’re on a motorcycle, you’re completely exposed to the elements. Not only will you get soaked (and cold!), but rain also reduces visibility — and there aren’t any windshield wipers to clear your view. If rain is in the forecast, think twice about going for a ride.
- Never assume other drivers can see you or will give you the right of way. If you’re driving up beside another vehicle, rather than hovering in the driver’s blind spot, either pass their vehicle safely — using the correct lane, not the shoulder — or adjust your speed and stay behind them.
- Turn your head and look before changing lanes or turning. Just like when you’re driving a car, you can’t rely solely on your mirrors to tell you who’s coming up beside you. Keep your head and eyes up when turning corners, and turn your head and look over your shoulder when you’re changing lanes.
- Follow the rules of the road. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth a quick reminder: when you’re on a motorcycle, you still need to follow the basic rules of the road. Always stop at stop signs and red lights, use your signals when turning or changing lanes, and travel at a safe speed.
It’s not always possible to prevent an accident. Before you get out on the road this season, make sure you have the coverage you need to protect you in the event of a collision. If you’re shopping around for new motorcycle insurance coverage or you’re considering switching providers, talk to your group’s broker today.
Know someone who rides a motorcycle? Share these tips on Facebook or Twitter to help them stay safe all season long.