This May, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing many to stay home, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation urges riders to do the same if they don’t have to go out. But there are folks who use motorcycles as a primary means of transportation or in their essential jobs, such as motor officers, so it is still important to mark May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
If you are taking essential trips by motorcycle, you may find that traffic is lighter than normal, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Traffic, surface conditions, and the weather can change quickly, so maintain constant awareness of your surroundings and be prepared to react accordingly.
The MSF also urges all car and truck drivers to take an extra moment to look for motorcyclists. Double-check your surroundings, especially before changing lanes or making turns. Some states are easing stay-at-home orders, and more people will likely be out on the road. Additional tips and resources for drivers can be found at ForCarDrivers.com. Some of these tips could save a life.
For riders who are spending time at home, there are many ways to still enjoy your motorcycle and be productive.
Use this time to tackle a few repairs or projects, or perform routine maintenance you may have been putting off. Some motorcyclists have found this to be a great way to spend quality time with their kids while teaching them useful skills, too.
Here are a few things you can do:
Clean your bike. Go beyond the typical wash and wax, and clean and degrease the underside of the engine and chassis. This helps prolong the life of your bike and can also help you more easily spot leaks or damage that may have occurred since the last major inspection. If you are anticipating longer downtime, you might want to follow the long-term storage procedures in your owner’s manual.
T-CLOCS. Help your bike maintain peak performance. Inspect, adjust, lubricate, and repair as necessary. This Motorcycle Safety Foundation T-CLOCS Inspection Checklist is handy to have as you look over your motorcycle.
There are many tasks you can do on your own, and most parts and accessories such as engine oil, filters, levers, etc., can be purchased online and shipped to your home. For more complicated services, your local service shop may have remained open as an essential business. Otherwise, it’s best to wait until local guidelines allow you to take your motorcycle to the service shop.
Accessorize. It’s fun to customize your motorcycle the way you want it, with windscreens, luggage, lights, grips, chrome and more. There are also many online forums dedicated to specific motorcycle brands or models. Now is a great time to put in some research.
Learn. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a variety of online educational content that can help keep your mental strategies sharp. Best of all, much of this content is free. Visit the MSF’s online library for downloadable booklets, videos, and quick tips, or take the MSF’s Rider Perception Challenge. You can also take virtual street rides with the MSF from the MSF’s YouTube channel. For a more immersive learning experience, the MSF Basic eCourse is available for purchase.
While we’re all eager to get out there and ride, there’s a lot you can do now #InTheGarage to prep your motorcycle and your mind to #rideitout. You and your bike will be better off, and ready for the open road and brighter days ahead. And remember, wear your full complement of safety gear every ride.