Let’s face it, the average motorcycle rider is well-versed in local and state laws, and he or she probably follows all the rules of the road. However, there are a few riders out there who give the rest of us a bad name, and sometimes people simply don’t know the rules, written or unwritten. So, to clear things up, here are three do’s and three don’ts of motorcycle safety.
Always inspect the bike and helmet before a ride: If you have a problem with your bike or safety gear, you want to discover this before you hit the road. To get started, make sure your helmet is free of any cracks or other issues. Then, walk around your bike and look at the tires and wheels to make sure everything is in order. Finally, check the fuel level, chassis, chain and kick stand. With this two-minute walk-through, you can spot issues before you get out on the open road.
Follow all traffic laws: While it’s fun to get on your bike and tear up a mountain road, you should remember to follow all traffic laws. Not only are you going to get a ticket and anger drivers in cars, but you are at an increased risk of injury if you don’t follow basic traffic laws. Remember, we already face more risks than car owners, so don’t make it worse on yourself by breaking traffic laws.
Wear a lot of safety gear: In some states, riders can go without helmets, and some of my friends do just this. However, I don’t ever ride without full safety gear, including a helmet. Sadly, a fall can happen at any moment, and I don’t want to end up with bad road rash, or worse, just because I did not want to throw on my gear. If you invest in good gear and wear it on all rides, you can avoid serious issues in minor accidents.
Tailgate: I have seen a lot of rider’s tailgate, even when there is no reason for doing so. If you feel the need to pass someone, do it safely. But, don’t ride on someone and expect them to pull over for you. I have seen enough deer running out in the road out on Palomar, and I would hate to slam on my brakes if I have to stop suddenly because I am tailgating.
Neglect your bike: If you are a smart rider, you will take your bike in for servicing often. Of course, if you are mechanical, you can work on it yourself to save some cash. But, either way, make sure to change the tires and do other maintenance, when needed. It can help you avoid costly breakdowns. Furthermore, if your bike malfunctions on the road, you may end up in an accident.
Ride on the shoulder: I don’t see this as often as I used to, but I still see riders pass on the shoulder. While it’s frustrating to sit in traffic, you should still follow all the laws. Luckily here in California we can lane split, and I do so when safe. But, I certainly don’t ride on the shoulder to pass frustrated motorists as it’s dangerous, and I would hate to damage my tires this way.
If you ride, you need to set a good example for others. We all share the same road, and it’s wise to ride safely and make sure to avoid common mistakes. Then, when you are on the road, you can have fun without running into issues that some younger and foolish riders often face.