Motorcycle Safety Tips
Motorcycles have been around since the 19th century. From the hand crank and steam powered machines of the past to the rumbling power hogs of today; people have always been attracted to these beautiful, yet dangerous machines. Just watching motorcycle riders tear down the street is exhilarating and riding one is even more of a thrill if it’s done safely and respectfully. Other people are drawn to motorcycles by the efficiency associated; motorcycles are very fuel and space efficient. Then, there are those who are drawn by the freedom associated with riding bikes across country. No matter what reason people are drawn to riding bikes, it is important that riders learn the different nuances associated with motorcycles, especially motorcycle safety.
Riders start by obtaining a motorcycle permit. To get a permit a rider takes a written test based on a state’s motorcycle handbook. The handbook outlines the specific states laws and requirements. It can be obtained from the closest department of Motor Vehicles.
- DMV List
- Motorcycle Manuals: Educated yourself before the test by downloading your states motorcycle manual.
- DMV Guide: To motorcycle safety.
Once a rider has obtained their permit it is time to start learning the basic riding skills. Experts recommend riders take a bike safety course like those taught at a RiderCourses location. The RiderCourses are sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) an international foundation dedicated to “lifelong learning” for motorcyclists. RiderCourses cover the theory of riding, which includes topics about tire traction, riding scenarios and street smarts. The course also includes practical lessons for new beginners on basics of the bike itself, how to start and turn off the ignition, tips on balance and other skills associated with everyday riding. RiderCourses also offer refresher courses that are designed for the more experiences riders. Besides learning motorcycling safety, insurance companies offer riders good discounts on their insurance policies if they take a riding course.
- RiderCourses: Find a safety course in your area.
- Course Highlights: A 5 min video summary of what happens at a RiderCourse.
- MSF Tips: PDF file of riding tips from the safety foundation.
- Motorcycle safety: This booklet from the US Department of Transportation outlines some basic but important motorcycling safety skills and is a good reference guide.
Motorcycle gear is a must for every rider. Unlike most four wheeled vehicles motorcycles provide no protection leaving the rider open to all outside elements. Even the most experienced riders cannot control what other drivers do and this is why it is important to wear all the appropriate gear. The most important part would be the helmet. It is necessary that the rider find the right fit, and the most protective helmet. In the United States it is the Law that all motorcyclist wear helmets. The helmet not only cushions the head and brain in the case of a fall but also protects the rider from the distractions caused by dust and flying debris. Second to helmet safety is the outerwear worn, which includes, the jacket, pants, gloves and boots. The importance of outerwear is discussed in the article the “Invisible Man.” The article discusses the disadvantages of a rider wearing black colored outerwear. Black although a popular color for leather does not help the visibility of the rider but it in fact causes the rider to blend into environment and become “invisible.” According to the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety, conspicuity is very important. They recommend that motorcyclist wear brightly colored clothes for visibility. Well-fitting gloves and boots protect the rider from the cold temperatures and flying debris.
- Helmet FAQ: A great guide for the first time helmet buyer learn about sizing, shape and how to find the most comfortable and safe fit.
- Invisible Man: A great article about protective gear and why it is important.
- Helmet Laws: Find which states have current laws and what age they affect.
- Crash Statistics: Look up old statistics that show the danger of not wearing protective gear.
- Safety Group: A site focused on motorcycle safety and reducing the odds of accidents.
When choosing a motorcycle, riders can pick from many different groups of motorcycles. The three that are the most common include off road bikes, street legal bikes and dual-purpose bikes. Each type is designed to serve a different riding purpose and puts the rider into a different riding statue. Street bikes are further divided into cruisers, sport bikes, touring bikes and mopeds and scooters. Off-road bikes are also called dirt bikes and the dual sport can be ridden off road as well as on the road. For a first bike, experts recommend buying a lightweight, small and manageable bike for learning purposes.
- Motorcycle Groups: Wikipedia article on the many different groups of motorcycles.
- 10 Great Beginner Bikes
- Street Bike Guide
- Donate a motorcycle and help your favorite charity
- Off Road and Dual-Purpose Buying Guide
- Beginners Guide To Dirt Bikes
- Model Guides: See bike models from the past 10 years from all different companies.
There is a right bike for everyone as there are different motorcycles models available to choose from with new models coming out every year. No matter what kind of motorcycle a rider chooses it is important to remember safety should always come first.