Part 1 discussed some of the basics of motorcycling. Part 2 will deal more with practical riding tips.
6) Scan: Be aware of what is going on around you at all times. As a motorcyclist you must be an active driver. It is your life on the line, so be aware and compensate for bad drivers around you.
7) Pace: Ride at your own pace. Don’t follow the pack/leader. Do only what you feel comfortable doing.
8) Brake!: Learn to use both front and back brakes and PRACTICE! Make sure you can slam on the brakes as quickly and as safely as possible.
9) Lane Position: Try to make yourself as visible as possible to drivers around you and make sure that you have an ‘escape route’ if a situation becomes dangerous. Assume you are invisible to most drivers so put in the extra effort to make sure they see you.
10) Double Check: Always perform a head-check when changing lanes or turning.
11) Triple Check: Take the extra time to adjust your controls. Check all of the levers on your bike and make sure you can intuitively reach for them and find them instantly. You do NOT want to be fumbling around, trying to find the correct lever on a ride.
12) Comfort Matters!!!: Unlike with a car, your comfort matters when riding a bike. Here are a few important tips to remember that will affect your health and the safety of you and those around you.
a) Drink Water- Stay Hydrated. Especially on long rides.
b) Invest in Proper Safety Gear- A Helmet, Gloves, Over-the-Ankle-Boots, Riding Pants and a Riding Jacket. Even a minor collision can mean serious injury for motorcycle riders. You should AWLAYS ‘dress for a crash’ whether it is a short ride or a long ride.
c) Invest in Waterproof Gear – If you live in the Bay Area riding in the rain and low-lying fog will be a fairly common occurrence. So invest in some waterproof gear. The more comfortable you are when riding, the less distracted you are, the safer you will drive. It will be worth it.
d) Don’t ride on an empty stomach. Same reasoning as before. An empty stomach means you are distracted. Don’t be distracted!
e) Most of all, as cheesy as it sounds, listen to your body. Don’t try to push through discomfort, hunger or thirst because that means that at a minimum you are distracted, and on a motorcycle driving distracted means dangerous.
Check back soon for the final installment of the series, Part 3!
Kardas, Jeff. “50 Things New Riders Should Know (And Experienced Riders Shouldn’t Forget).” American Motorcyclist 66.8 (August 2012): 46-48. Print.