As the cold weather slowly becomes warmer and the snow has melted, it’s time to get ready for the spring and summer riding season. Once all systems are checked and the necessary tune-ups have been performed, it’s time to hit the road. Bikes can be hard to see on the roads, especially during the summer when it can be crowded on the highways, so it is important for motorcycle owners to be cautious to ensure their rides go smoothly.
Here are some tips for avoiding accidents and staying on the right side of the law.
- Ride within your skill set.
Riding a motorcycle can be a lifelong affair and depending on how long you’ve been riding, your skill set will differ from that of a novice to someone more experienced. It is important to know where you stand on the skill hierarchy and to not stray far from your comfort zone. Trying to emulate more experienced riders when you’re still a beginner can lead to serious accidents and severe damage to your bike. Keep it steady and ride within your limits.
Just like car drivers, the more distracted you are on a motorcycle, the more likely it is that you will get into an accident. Leave your phone out of view so you won’t be tempted to text or email and avoid wearing headphones that will make it difficult for you to hear a car honking or brakes screeching.
- Watch the weather.
Riding in bad weather conditions significantly increases your risk of an accident. While winter is never considered riding season, spring and summer can also make roads hazardous for motorcycles with rain, wind and slick surfaces. Check the weather forecast before you head out for a day trip and be sure to steer clear of oncoming storms.
- Leave the weave.
We’ve all done it and we don’t think it’s a big deal, but weaving in and out of traffic is a good way to get noticed by the police and also annoy other motorists. You are just like any other motorist on the road and to share the road means to abide by the same rules. While it is tempting to bypass traffic jams, do yourself a favor and be patient to avoid a ticket or an unexpected move, such as a driver suddenly opening their door which can cause a nasty spill.
- Get the gear.
Accidents are a part of life and no matter how careful you are, the longer you ride the more likely it is you will be involved in an accident. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to have the right gear: durable, steel-toe boots, leather jackets and vests, high-quality riding gloves, a helmet with a clear shield and chaps if you will be riding on a long trip. Learn the crash protection system and heed the advice of experts who know what it takes to stay safe.
- Don’t ever ride without a valid motorcycle license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
You are no different from a car driver required to carry the same documents. Riding without the important paperwork can lead to your bike being towed and you facing a hefty fine, traffic school and, in some cases, a day in court. Don’t fight a system you can’t beat. Be up-to-date with your documents and ride with peace of mind.