After years of sitting in traffic jams while motorcyclists burn past you, and after envying them for their casual coolness as as they hurtle down the highways, you might be tempted to buy yourself a motorcycle.
Making the switch from four wheels to two can sometimes be an exciting prospect, but it’s one that needs to be taken with some caution. As a car driver, you will already understand the need to be safe on the road, but just because you’ve nailed safety in your motor doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be safe when sat atop a motorcycle.
You need to protect yourself while out on the roads, so consider the following, and don’t skimp on any of these safety aspects.
#1: BUY THE RIGHT MOTORCYCLE FOR YOUR EXPERIENCE LEVEL
After getting your license, your impulse might be to buy the biggest two-wheeled beast you can find. But here’s the thing. The bigger the bike, the more power it will be carrying, and if you’re not experienced enough, you might cause yourself an injury if you can’t handle your new ride.
Generally speaking, a beginner motorcycle should be your priority, and as you can see in the following link, you can still buy a real beauty. Make sure you buy something according to your height and size, as this is essential for your personal safety, and take time in the buying process so you don’t end up with something that is unfit to ride.
#2: INVEST IN THE RIGHT GEAR
And when we say the right gear, we are referring to more than just a cool pair of shades, as safety has to come before fashion.
The most obvious thing you need to buy is a helmet. After all, if you crash your bike at any time, you could suffer a fatal injury if your head is not protected. When buying something, you need to make sure they adhere to modern safety standards, so take extra care if buying something older and second-hand. Your best bet is to buy something new, although you should still check with the seller to make sure the helmet in question is compliant with safety regulations. For your information, the following are some of the best helmets on the market today.
After the helmet, you need a good motorcycle jacket. It’s recommended that you buy something with the thickest material as this will offer you more protection. Most jackets offer in-built protection but commit to research online.
You also need gloves, boots, and riding pants, so look online for the best available, and search for those that offer the most abrasion resistance. It’s important to purchase the gear that fits comfortably as well, as your safety could be put at risk if you are distracted by discomfort.
Finally, don’t forget the extra accessories you will need for your personal safety. Ear protection will guard your ears against the sound of your bike and the loud noise of the wind. And if your helmet doesn’t come with a visor, you will need a set of riding glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying insects and other prices of debris. Be as stylish as you want, but remember to buy something shatter-resistant and with tinting options to protect you from sun glare.
#3: GET USED TO YOUR BIKE
If you don’t undertake training, you won’t be granted your license, so you should already have a basic understanding of how to control your bike and body movement before buying something new. Still, if the bike you buy isn’t the one you trained on, you should take some time getting used to it before any epic road journeys. Perfect your motorcycle riding skills, including cornering, braking, and counter-steering, and consider a refresher course if you struggle to get used to the bike in your possession.
#4: RIDE DEFENSIVELY
Not everybody is out to get you when you’re on the roads, but when you are sat on a motorbike, you are in a vulnerable position, especially when faced with car and lorry drivers. Adjust your position often to ensure you always have an escape route should another driver get too close, and scan ahead at all times so you can take evasive action if a problem arises.
For detailed advice, check these defensive riding tips. By learning how to react in any given situation, you will avoid the potential for damage to both yourself and your motorcycle.
#5: BE ALERT TO ANY ROAD HAZARDS
Unfortunately, car drivers and other motorcyclists are not the only hazards you will encounter on the roads. As you will already know if you are also a car driver, there are also potholes, dips, bumps, loose animals, and road debris to watch out for. If you own a car, you should know how to take steps to avoid these things. Motorcyclists are more likely to come a cropper, however, as a sudden bump in the road, for example, could send you flying.
So, despite the temptation to push your bike to its limits when you’re on an open stretch of road, remember that dangers could lie in wait. From those issues that are on the roads to the hidden bends that you might encounter, be sure to get a handle on your brakes so you can slow down before disaster happens.
#6: MAINTAIN YOUR BIKE
As with a car, a poorly-maintained bike is a health and safety risk. You should never risk a ride if any part of your bike is in ill-repair, so take it to a garage if you don’t know how to make the relevant fixes yourself.
To save money, there are some maintenance tasks you can do yourself, and you can also source motorbike tyres and parts online, so learn the basics for both your financial and personal security. With a well-maintained bike, you will fully enjoy your ride.
There is always more to be said on bike safety, so continue your research online. You will have greater peace of mind if you do, and you will have a better and more fulfilling time when out on your two-wheeled journeys.
Photo Credit: Shajan Jacob