It seems like everyone is now in the business of suggesting different safety tips and hacks that are supposedly going to make our lives easier, or at the very least make a few tedious tasks just a little less tedious.
Motorcycles are no exception, there is a confusing mashup of myths, lies, and half-truths to wade through before you actually find your way to anything useful in some way shape or form, with most of those still suggesting you buy some random product. Some of us have only been riding for a little while and have not had the opportunity to learn or discover the most useful tips, and might easily confuse good marketing for good advice.
So here’s a few of the most relevant tips that won’t necessarily cost all that much to put into practice and might well come in handy one day.
10 Wear The Appropriate Safety Gear
Technically, this will cost you something, but it is important to adjust accordingly. As much as it is a great idea to gear up for every ride, that just isn’t realistic.
If you are just going to the convenience store 5 minutes down the road, some sneakers and a helmet will be enough. If that convenience store is in another state, and you plan on doing a few 0-60 runs from light to light, well you better be wearing your jacket and riding jeans too. Also, for those dirt riders out there, it is important to get the right gear for that very different environment.
9 Tuck Away Those Shoelaces
If you commute on your motorcycle, you know very well that your riding boots might not really work anywhere off the bike, so nine times out of ten you are going to put on your sneakers, or regular work shoes.
If you have ever ridden with sneakers, you might have experienced that awful sinking feeling when your lace gets hooked on the footpeg. If you ride in sneakers or shoes with long laces, it is crucial that you build a habit of tucking in your laces, it will almost certainly save you from a low speed tip-over one day.
8 Preload Your Brakes
Most experienced riders will cover their brakes in preparation for the inevitable while riding in an unfamiliar or poorly lit road, it can at least mitigate panic braking to some extent.
You can take it a step further and actually preload the brakes. If you hold them to the point just before they bite, this can eliminate panic braking altogether. It is important not to hold it too tight, though, or you might end up increasing the wear on your brake pads.
This might seem simple enough, but seriously, monitor what you do one day, and you might be surprised. Most people alternate and some will even use the right foot consistently, which in this case is actually the wrong foot.
Make a habit of shifting some of your weight to the left as you come to a stop, that will force you onto the left foot, so your right foot can stay planted on the foot brake, warning those behind you that you are indeed there and don’t want to be killed.
6 Take A Riding Course
No matter what level you are currently at, there is a suitable riding course that will make you a better rider.
This one will require time, effort and a bit of a budget. It is worth it, though, giving you access to seasoned professionals as well as racers in most cases.
5 Do A Basic Safety Inspection
There are several different checks you can do on a motorcycle, but one thing you can never overlook is the state of your tires.
That should be part of any list, depending on the weather you ride in there will be a few variables, but other essentials include the state of your chain (if you have one), oil level and coolant level. Most bikes have a fuel gauge, but if yours doesn’t work then add that to your list.
4 Get A First Aid Kit
Not all of us will have this one, but we should. There are pretty small versions of this out there, but another option is just doing a little copying.
Find a suitable pouch that fits under your seat, and find a small kit online that you feel has all the essentials. Pick up the essentials from a pharmacy and pack your own kit.
3 Always Be Visible
On a motorcycle, visibility is crucial, even during the day people in cars will usually anticipate seeing a car and all too often overlook anything smaller.
A black helmet and a black bike might look cool, but the combination does nothing for visibility, at the very least choose a bright/white helmet. If you buy a rain suit, make sure it is reflective.
2 Obey Road Rules
This one might seem straightforward, but the vast majority of us will need to admit we don’t always follow the rules perfectly.
We have to take responsibility for our actions so just always be aware of others, if you are going to break the law be prepared for any and all eventualities.
Even the most experienced riders might find this technique counterintuitive. We see guys doing it on dirt, but on the street leaning into a corner just makes more logical sense and is certainly more fun.
However, most corners on the street are actually low speed corners, so counterleaning is technically more effective, and if you practice it you will notice how much quicker you are able to shift your weight in an emergency situation.