8 basic tips for improving riding and motorcycle safety
Do you want to improve your motorcycle riding skills? Whether you’re a rookie or a motorcycle professional, you can always improve your riding in some aspect, but there are certain basic rules that you really should know.
Motorcycles are fun and consume less fuel than a car, but they’re also more dangerous and it never hurts to take every precaution you can in order to avoid unnecessary scares.
Although motorcycles are sometimes considered dangerous or unsafe, when riders follow certain advice, accidents are less likely to occur. There are a good number of riders with years of experience who have never been involved in a motorcycle accident thanks to their skill and discipline.
The main key for optimizing riding is to be prepared at all times in order to avoid risks. Below, you can consult some tips that we offer to help you improve riding on two wheels.
- Get ready to roll!
The first thing you have to do before each trip, especially when you’re going to do a medium-long route, is to take a quick test-ride to make sure that the horn, lights and directional blinkers work correctly. In addition, you should check the belt, chain or axle and brakes, as well as the tires, to see if they are worn and make sure they are adjusted to the proper pressure.
- Use the best bike according to your riding level.
Try out the bike before heading out, that’s the best thing to do. If you are a novice or haven’t been riding for a long time, you’ll be surprised by the performance of today’s bikes. In the market there are much faster and more powerful bikes than a few years ago, so choose the best motorcycle that fits your specific needs.
If it is the first time you’re using one, it’s important that you put it to the test and learn to ride it well before a trip.
- Take a safety course.
Most countries require a skill test before obtaining a motorcycle license, and some also require a safety course. Even if you don’t need to take a preparatory course to get a driving license, you should seriously consider it. The course will teach you about the traffic laws that apply to motorcycles of different displacements and how to react in emergency situations. You’ll have an opportunity to try out new experiences in a controlled environment.
If you love to ride, you must do everything possible to do so in the safest way and learn to ride being your best. In turn, that will make you react quicker and smoother on the road.
- Adjust the speed.
Speed limits exist for a reason, and all roads and routes have different ones. Make sure you stay within stated limits to avoid danger. If the road is clear and wide, you can travel at maximum speed according to the established limit, but it’s not the most convenient when there is a lot of traffic or you don’t have good visibility.
When there is slow traffic in the city it is better to moderate the speed and be on the look-out for stupid accidents that can occur, like when someone opens a car door.
- Invest in anti-lock brakes.
There are many studies that correlate the effectiveness of ABS with the reduction of accident victims. Since 2016, all motorcycles in Europe over 125 cm3 have to be equipped with an ABS anti-lock system, but it isn’t compulsory for smaller bikes.
The IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it. The same thing is reflected in a study from the German ADAC car club, 21% of motorcycle accidents could have been avoided if they’d been equipped with ABS.
The reason is simple: locking the brakes in a panic stop robs the driver of any direction control. This can easily lead to a slip and shock, which can result in serious injury. ABS helps retain steering control during an emergency stop, and can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.
This feature is now standard in high-end models, a worthwhile investment for the safety it offers.
- Check the weather.
This is an essential part of planning a motorcycle trip, especially when planning a long distance one. Monitoring the weather forecast in every place you travel to is essential for keeping safe.
Make sure to avoid bad weather, especially when you don’t have much experience. The dangers of icy or wet roads multiply being on two wheels. When planning a motorcycle tour, first monitor the weather. If it is essential to travel in the rain, better not to do it right after the storm starts.
- Improve visability.
Although we are more vulnerable on two wheels, we also have the ability to use the road much more than a car driver. That greater flexibility allows us to see, literally, around corners and to make sure other road users see us beforehand.
Avoid getting right behind a large vehicle like a truck or van. You won’t be able to see what is happening in front of them, and more importantly, others won’t know you’re there. Use your positioning to let road users know you’re there sooner than they would if you stayed in your usual position.
- Use the propper gear.
The use of a helmet and appropriate clothing is non-negotiable. It would be madness to ride a motorcycle without the right gear. Any scrape or fall can be a serious accident.
Motorcyclists without helmets are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in an accident and three times more likely to suffer brain injuries than those with a helmet.
You need gear that protects you from temperature extremes, flying insects and debris. For maximum protection, opt for a leather jacket or another padded type, gloves, full pants and footwear up past the ankles, even in summer. Also get effective protection for your eyes, use a helmet visor or goggles. And think about some bright colours in order to make yourself more visible.
In case you or other people get into an accident, you can consult our Complete Guide to know what to do.