You just got your first motorcycle and even just passed the motorcycle driver's license test, so maybe you think you're ready for the road. However, before you take off on the open road, you need to consider some extremely vital things that might have not been discussed in your training.
While owning and riding a motorcycle is extremely fun, it's absolutely vital to take motorcycle riding as a responsibility when you're on the road. Here are a few tips to follow before you turn into a road warrior:
1) Do Not Drink And Ride
No matter if you've just turned 21 or 50 years old, riding a motorcycle with even one drink in you could be very dangerous. Even though this tip should be obvious, a lot of first time riders find themselves in accidents because they had one or two drinks before hitting the road.
While it varies from person to person, two beers before riding a motorcycle can have the same effect as six beers before a driving a car. Motorcycle driving requires split-second reactions and precision that are extremely difficult to grasp while intoxicated. Simple turns that you're just learning get much more difficult with alcohol in you, so steer clear.
2) Inspect Your Ride Before You Go
When you first get to your bike, you should inspect it before you take off. A loose chain or underinflated tire could cause you to wreck. While in a car, small issues like this are much less catastrophic. Turn on your bike and let it run for a while and adjust your mirrors. You never want to adjust mirrors while driving because it takes your eyes off the road. If you find oil or any fluid leaking from your bike, have a professional to inspect your ride before you take off. The last thing you want is to be stranded somewhere because you didn't check first.
3) Stay Away From Severe Weather
If you just got your motorcycle and are ready to roll, don't take your chances in bad weather. Your margin of error is dramatically reduced when you're riding in slippery road conditions. Additionally, your visibility is limited in the rain and your overall control is limited. If you get stuck in severe weather, know that bumps and potholes are harder to locate, so drive slow and brake gently. When approaching railroad tracks, take them at as much of a 90-degree angle as possible to reduce slippage.
4) Focus On Your Direction
This is something your motorcycle instructor should have taught you, but it's key to riding safely: Always look in the direction you want to go. Turning on a corner can force you to look in other directions or straight ahead, which you'll quickly realize affects your ability to turn smoothly. Instead, look at the lane you want to take and your bike will take you there. Don't let other traffic distractions get in your way and always focus on where you're going.
5) Get Proper-Fitting Apparel
For first time riders, it's smart to wear motorcycle gear that appropriately fits you. Make sure your helmet is snug and doesn't move around. Additionally, your motorcycle jacket, pants, gloves and protective back shield should all fit snug. When you're riding a motorcycle, loose gear tends to flop around in the wind, which can take your focus off driving. Having the right gear will not only reduce distractions, but it will protect your body better in the instance of an accident.