For motorcycle riders, there is a distinct difference between riding on suburban and urban roads. Upon entering a city, there are numerous factors riders have to pay attention to that are not nearly as common in smaller towns.
At the same time, street bike riders shouldn't let the big city scare them when it comes to riding. But, it does take the right mentality and know-how to ride in the city safely. Here are 5 tips on riding a motorcycle in the city:
1) Stay Focused And Scan Everything Around You
As a motorcycle rider, it can be easy to get distracted riding in a city with everything going on around you. However, it's critical to always stay focused while scanning everything in your peripheral.
It's easy to get too cautious and only focus on the traffic ahead of you. The more you're able to keep your head on a swivel, the likelier you will know how to ride safely in this busy environment.
2) Always Be Visible
While you're riding a motorcycle in the city trying to stay focused, all the cars and other vehicles are doing the same. That's why it's always best to stay visible so you know other drivers are alert with your surroundings.
Unfortunately, not every driver is alert or has a clear and visible view of you. This is why it's essential to always be ready for cars to merge unexpectedly. Never watch the driver's physical actions to know if they see you, but instead, watch their vehicle and the car's front tires. This will help you see cars merging randomly much faster.
Additionally, you should avoid any car's blind spots whenever possible, even if you know the driver saw you. You can't take the risk of a car not seeing you or forgetting you're riding in the lane next to them.
3) Know Your Escape Lane
In city traffic, a simple fender-bender could turn deadly in an instant for motorcyclists. This is why it's imperative to have an escape route or lane planned out at all times.
If traffic ahead of you suddenly changes and blocks your path, you need to have a plan of action of avoid any impact. That's why it's smart to have an escape route. Planning ahead gives you enough time to make a last second move. If you don't have an escape route, you're all the more likely to make impact on a car when traffic stops or enters your lane.
This also means you should try to keep safe distances from other cars so you can create a safe escape route before you ever get pinned in by traffic. Use your brake and flash it quickly so those behind you are alert.
4) Carefully Enter Every Left Turn
One of the worst things you can do as a rider is take a left turn without really thinking about it. Taking left turns is probably the most dangerous action for riders in city traffic because even if you're clearly visible, drivers can still lose you in their sight, and especially so when there are cars in front of you.
Instead, either flash your high beams or tap your horn a few times to let drivers know you're turning left. Getting everyone's attention in an intersection is better than going unnoticed.
5) Check Road Conditions Ahead
While you are scanning and staying visible for other riders in city traffic, it's also really important to check the road conditions ahead of you. Cities are much more prone to potholes, cracks in the road and other extremely unsafe conditions for motorcycles.
You need to check ahead and ensure you have an escape route in case you come up on a large pothole or patch of loose gravel that could cause you to wreck.