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10 Crucial Tips for New Motorcycle Riders

Get comfortable with your bike and ride defensively.

Are you a new motorcycle rider? If so, you’re probably both excited and overwhelmed by the prospect of getting out on the open road. While there’s nothing like the feeling of riding your own bike, no matter what level of experience you have, it’s important that all bikers follow certain safety precautions. Below is a Top 10 to help you be safer riding your motorcycle.

1. Go to School

New motorcycle riders have a lot to learn when they hop atop their first bikes. Safety must take priority; novice riders should remember that knowledge is power. Actively seeking out the information necessary to inform safe riding decisions is essential. A riding course will provide this important safety training as well as introduce riders to the basics of how a motorcycle works and the rules of the road.

Taking a riding course may even save you money; many states offer discounted insurance for riders who complete certified courses, making it clear that rider education pays off.

2. Get Comfortable with the Bike Before Taking It on the Road

No matter how much you know about the rules of the road, if you’re unfamiliar with the motorcycle itself, it’s easy to get into trouble. Before you hit the highway, make sure you’re comfortable with how your bike functions and are confident about using it. Get to know how your bike handles, what the brakes feel like and how it responds to different inputs. Practice in an empty parking lot or on a closed course before doing any serious road riding. This will help to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

3. Ride Defensively and Be Aware of your Surroundings

Compared to larger vehicles, motorcycles don’t have the same protection. As such, it’s important for riders to stay alert and aware of their surroundings — especially when it comes to other drivers. Defensive driving techniques, such as scanning ahead and maintaining an appropriate following distance, can help riders to anticipate potential dangers and avoid them. Be especially aware of cars making left-hand turns, as drivers may not be expecting to see a motorcycle.

4. Always Wear Your Helmet and Other Protective Gear

A helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment for a motorcyclist. It can save your life in the event of an accident. Invest in a high-quality, properly fitting helmet and wear additional protective gear such as gloves, boots and reflective clothing when riding. This can help to protect you in the event of a crash and make sure your ride is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

5. Obey Speed Limits

Riding too fast is one of the primary causes of motorcycle accidents. You should never exceed the posted speed limit, as this can be dangerous and even deadly. Even experienced riders can benefit from slowing down and appreciating the scenery rather than rushing through a ride. Take your time and enjoy it.

6. Avoid Bad Weather Conditions

Rain, snow, ice and strong wind can all make riding a motorcycle tricky. Poor weather conditions can reduce traction on the road and impair visibility, making it difficult to ride. It’s best to avoid riding in bad weather conditions, if possible, or wait for the weather to improve before heading out, especially for new riders.

7. Check Your Bike Before Each Ride

As a new rider, it is incredibly important to remember to check your bike before every single ride. Doing basic maintenance and upkeep checks can go a long way in preventing any equipment malfunctions and potentially dangerous situations. At the very least, always inspect your bike for air pressure levels in the tires, chain condition and tension, braking system state, wheel alignment and road worthiness.

8. Pay Attention When Cornering

Cornering is one of the trickiest maneuvers for new riders to learn, but it’s also one of the most important. Make sure to keep your head up, look ahead and lean into the turn to maintain balance. Always use brakes judiciously, and don’t try to take a corner at too high of a speed. Remember: Slow and steady wins the race.

9. Get Your Mind Right

No matter how much you’ve practiced, the mental part of riding is just as important. Riding a motorcycle can be overwhelming for new riders, and it’s easy to let fear take over. To help keep your nerves in check, focus on staying relaxed and taking deep breaths. Stay positive, stay focused, and be confident in your riding skills.

10. Survey the Road Ahead

Before embarking on a ride, always take some time to survey the road ahead. Look for potential hazards, such as potholes, debris and uneven surfaces. Taking a few minutes to plan your route can help you anticipate any potential issues and be better prepared to react if needed.

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