Posted on January 9, 2023 at 11:11 AM by The Biker Lawyers

Image of a motorcycle next to a leather jacket and helmet in a garage.

20 things every motorcyclist should know before hitting the road

Introduction

Motorcycling is an exhilarating and liberating way to travel, but it's important to remember that your safety should always be the top priority. This article is dedicated to providing you with the best advice on how to stay safe while riding your motorcycle in 2023.

Whether you're a new or experienced rider, you'll find some useful tips here on wearing the right protective gear, obeying traffic laws, and still having fun.

Keep reading to learn more about how to stay safe and enjoy your ride.

1. Wear appropriate protective gear.

Yes, when we say wear appropriate protective gear, that means including a helmet, gloves, eye protection, leather or heavy-duty textile jacket and pants, and boots that cover your ankles.

Gear Matters. Use a high-quality motorcycle helmet that fits properly and meets current safety standards. Use eye protection as well as face protection when riding at night or in inclement weather. Wear long pants to protect your skin from road rash in the event of a fall.

Image of a motorcycle in an intersection with multiple traffic signs.

2. Learn and obey traffic laws and regulations.

Motorcyclists should always know and obey the traffic laws and regulations of the road before hitting the highway. As a biker, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road, including speed limits, right-of-way laws, and helmet laws.

Obeying traffic laws and regulations is essential for keeping both you and other drivers safe on the road.

3. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings, including other vehicles and pedestrians.

Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges.

To ensure you stay safe while on the road, it's important to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings, including other vehicles and pedestrians. Always look both ways before crossing an intersection, and be sure to give yourself plenty of space when passing other vehicles. Try to anticipate the actions of others on the road, and be aware of any blind spots or areas of limited visibility.

If you're riding in a group, be sure to communicate with the other riders and maintain a safe distance between motorcycles. By being aware of your environment and staying alert, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

4 Familiarize yourself with your motorcycle and its controls.

It is essential for all motorcyclists to familiarize themselves with their motorcycles and their controls before hitting the road. Knowing how your motorcycle operates and how to use the brakes, throttle, and the clutch is vital for a safe and enjoyable ride.

Veteran Road Warrior Tip:

"Ensure you have a "heel kick" up-shift arm on shifter. Most often, your winter weather footwear will not fit under the "toe lift" of shifter. I recommend this vs. removing shifter and adjusting for footwear."

-Richard Brockmeyer via Facebook

Image of a man on a motorcycle riding in the snow

5. Reduce speed in adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, and snow.

Riding a motorcycle in adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, and snow can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible. However, if it can't be avoided, it is essential that motorcyclists reduce their speed while riding in these conditions. Lower visibility, wet roads, and slick surfaces can make it difficult to control your bike and can increase the risk of an accident.

To reduce the risk of an accident, motorcyclists should reduce their speed and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Additionally, they should consider wearing rain gear and other protective gear to stay safe and dry. Taking the necessary precautions can help you stay safe and enjoy your ride even in the worst weather conditions.

6. Increase the distance between you and other vehicles.

Motorcyclists should always remember that they are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident and should drive defensively. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and therefore harder for other drivers to see. Because bikers have less protection from impact, they may suffer serious injuries from even minor accidents.

7. Maintain a safe following distance when riding in a group.

It is important for motorcyclists to maintain a safe following distance when riding in a group. This ensures that all riders have enough time to react to any unexpected hazards or changes in the road. Following too closely can cause an accident if the rider in front has to suddenly brake, and the rider behind does not have enough time to respond.

When riding in a group, it is best to leave at least three seconds between each bike. If riding in a staggered formation, the bikes traveling closest to the centerline should have a three-second gap between them. The bikes in the fog line lane should follow this same rule.

The gaps between the bikes near the center line and near the fog line should have at least 1.5 seconds between them. This way, each rider has enough time to react to any changes on the road and can feel safe and secure.

8. Avoid lane splitting when in traffic.

Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic, is an incredibly dangerous practice for motorcyclists.

Not only is it illegal in most states, but it can also be dangerous for other drivers and yourself. It is much safer to stay in your designated lane and drive in the same direction as the flow of traffic. Motorcyclists should be aware of the laws in their state and always ride responsibly and safely.

Additionally, lane splitting can be especially dangerous if it is done too quickly, so it is important to maintain a safe speed and distance when riding in traffic.

9. Be aware of uneven road surfaces and potholes.

As you ride, be sure to keep watch for uneven road surfaces and potholes. Uneven road surfaces can cause your motorcycle to wobble and can be dangerous, while potholes can cause you to lose control of your motorcycle.

Both of these road hazards can be difficult to spot while riding, so it is important to be extra vigilant while looking out for them. Be prepared to take evasive action and slow down if you do notice them. Also, be sure to check the road surface ahead and to the sides of you before changing lanes or taking a corner.

10. Anticipate other drivers’ actions and be prepared to take evasive action.

Call it riding with your head on a swivel, call it cautious driving. Whatever you call it, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to always practice defensive driving. This means being aware of other drivers on the road, watching for potential obstacles, and anticipating the actions of other drivers.

Image of pedestrians on a crosswalk in a busy city

11. Use your signals and be courteous to other drivers.

Before hitting the road, especially if you are a new rider, make sure to brush up on the basics like signaling when turning and changing lanes.

Being courteous to other drivers should also be a priority, as a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a car driver. For instance, if you see a car trying to make a left turn in front of you, don’t speed up to get in front of them (a great way to learn about the "Lethal Left" the wrong way).

Instead, slow down and give them plenty of space to make the turn safely. By using your signals and being courteous to other drivers, you can help to ensure a safe ride for everyone. Also, and we know we mentioned this before but it is worth repeating, watch for pedestrians. 

12. Be prepared to take evasive action if necessary, such as riding in a zigzag pattern or braking hard.

Motorcyclists should always be aware of their surroundings and know how to respond if a situation arises that requires evasive action. This might include riding in a zigzag pattern to throw off a tailgater, or braking hard in order to avoid hitting an obstacle.

It's also important to know how to maneuver your motorcycle in a tight space and be able to quickly shift your weight in order to make quick turns. Being prepared to take evasive action can help you to avoid an accident and keep you safe on the road.

13. Inspect your motorcycle before each ride and check the brakes, lights, tires, and fluid levels.

Motorcycling is a great way to explore the world and get a sense of freedom, but it is important for riders to remember that safety should always be their priority. It's good to do a deep dive inspection of your bike at the beginning and end of riding season, but before each ride, take a few minutes to inspect your motorcycle and check the brakes, lights, tires, and fluid levels.

This is key to making sure your motorcycle is in top condition and that you are prepared for the ride ahead.

Click below for a FREE Motorcyle Check-up Checklist!

Motorcycle Health Checklist

Make sure to check the tire pressure, oil levels, and brake fluid, and also look for any signs of wear or tear that could cause a problem on the road. Additionally, ensure that all lights are working properly and that your brakes are in good condition. Taking the time to properly inspect your motorcycle before each ride will help you stay safe and enjoy your time on the road.

14. Don’t drink and ride.

Motorcycle riders should never drink and ride. Alcohol impairs the rider’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time, making it extremely dangerous for anyone to operate a motorcycle after drinking.

Even a small amount of alcohol can increase the chances of an accident, and the consequences of such an accident are often severe. Not only can you be charged with a DUI, but you can also face serious physical injuries, fines, and even jail time. Always remember to never drink and ride, and to always ride responsibly.

15. Don’t ride when you’re fatigued and don’t ride if you’re feeling ill or taking medication that could impair your judgment or coordination.

Always be sure to ride with a clear and alert mind. Don’t hit the road if you’re feeling fatigued or if you’re taking any medications that can impair your judgment or coordination. Make sure you get plenty of rest before getting on your bike and take regular breaks during long rides. Following these basic rules will help ensure you’re fit to ride and that you stay safe on the roads.

Image of an insurance document

16. Make sure you have good insurance including UM/UIM.

No biker should ever hit the road without having quality insurance coverage. It's important to make sure you have insurance that covers you in the event of an accident, including Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.

UM/UIM coverage helps to protect you if you are hit by a driver who either has no insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the full extent of the damages. Without this coverage, you could be stuck with a hefty bill if you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your motorcycle before you hit the road.

Close up image of a motorcycle engine and various mechanical parts- with text

17. Keep your motorcycle in good condition and service it regularly.

Motorcyclists should always keep their bikes in good condition, especially before a ride. Regular maintenance and servicing is essential to ensure your safety and the performance of your motorcycle.

Inspect your brakes, tires, lights, and oil level before every ride. It's also important to check the chain and sprockets for wear and tear, as well as any loose nuts or bolts. Additionally, be sure to check the fluid levels in your engine, and replace them when needed.

Regularly servicing your bike is the key to keeping it running smoothly and safely. If you don't feel comfortable doing the maintenance yourself, don't hesitate to take it to a professional. Taking the proper steps to ensure the safety of your bike will help you enjoy your ride for many years to come.

18. Know the local laws and regulations in the areas you plan to ride.

Before hitting the road on your motorcycle, it’s important to know the local laws and regulations in the areas you plan to ride.

Depending on your location, traffic laws and regulations may vary. Be sure to familiarize yourself with motorcycle regulations and traffic laws, as well as any other specific requirements you may encounter. Make sure you have all the necessary documents, such as a valid license, registration, and insurance.

Also, ensure that your motorcycle is in good condition and that you have the proper safety gear and equipment. Following the local regulations and laws can help you stay safe and avoid any legal issues.

19. Never ride beyond your capabilities.

Motorcyclists should never ride beyond their capabilities. No matter how experienced you are, it is always important to stay within your skillset and abilities when riding on the road.

Riding beyond your capabilities can lead to dangerous situations and even catastrophic accidents. Before hitting the road, always practice your skills and make sure you are comfortable with the bike and the environment you plan to ride in.

It is also important to understand the limits of the motorcycle and to never exceed them. Responsible riders always keep safety in mind and make sure they are riding in a safe and controlled manner.

Image of a person on a motorcycle in a city with text "Enjoy the Ride"

20. Have fun and enjoy the ride!

Riding a motorcycle is one of the most exhilarating forms of transportation. Before you hit the open road, make sure to take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe.

Be sure to review your bike’s owner’s manual and always wear a helmet and other protective gear. Additionally, be sure to check the weather and road conditions before you leave and be sure to know the rules of the road.

Conclusion

With these basic safety measures taken care of, you can relax and enjoy the ride. Cruise down the highway and take in the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Whether you’re out for a short ride or a long journey, remember to keep your eyes open, your head of a swivel, and have fun!


This article was brought to you by the personal injury lawyers at The Biker Lawyers, PC.

Injured? Ride with Us.

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