Riding a bike for the first time is a thrilling experience, which is why a lot of people enjoy riding motorcycles. But if you are a new rider, there is a lot of information that you need to be aware of in order to drive safely. Read on to find a list of some of the basic things you should keep in mind before you ride a bike for the first time. Be safe and enjoy your ride!
Take a motorcycle safety course
If you are totally new to riding a bike, get help and join a course. Getting guidance from a professional is useful as you will learn to ride a bike the proper way from the very beginning. You will also learn several safety tips from instructors present at training institutes. A friend or family member can also be helpful. Just make sure you have someone around if it's your first time revving the engine.
Know the local motorcycle laws
Similar to traffic rules when driving an automobile, different states have different motorcycle laws. Some states require riders to wear a specific helmet, or wear some sort of eye protection; others say that only riders below 17 years of age are required to wear a helmet, while others require no helmet at all. Some states require both a right and left mirror on your bike, whereas others only require one mirror. If you plan to start riding regularly, familiarize yourself with the local motorcycle laws and also check with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Wear proper clothing and shoes
Wearing proper clothing is another crucial point for motorcycle riders as it will protect you in case you go down. No matter how carefully you ride, you never know when something might go wrong. Most riders will go down at some point or another and if they have proper clothing and shoes on, they can save themselves from a lot of harm.
A lot of bike riders prefer wearing leather as it is tough and won't harm your legs if you go down. Jeans and other material will simply shred if you have a nasty fall. Motorcycle racers often wear layered clothing made of leather or textile protective gear.
Similarly, choose footwear that has good traction. Wearing open-toed shoes like a flip-flop is not only uncomfortable, it will tire you easily. Moreover, it will not protect your feet in case of a nasty fall. Your feet can also become sweaty on a hot day or become wet in case there is rain or water on the road. Make sure your shoes have a strong grip with a rugged sole to avoid slipping. They will also give you a firm grip when you use your feet to balance at a stop sign.
Get the right gear
Bikers can choose from a variety of armored gear including helmets and eye protection. Surveys and studies carried out to compare non-helmeted riders with helmeted riders show an overall higher death rate in riders involved in accidents who were not wearing helmets. Helmets are also helpful in significantly reducing the chance of head and facial injuries in case of an accident. They also help reduce traumatic brain injury.
Understand your ride
Inspect your bike and familiarize yourself with it. Motorcycles can be chain-driven, belt-driven or shaft-driven. Check your bike to see which type it uses. Also know the estimated MPG and fuel capacity of your bike. This will give you an idea how long you can travel before you need to start looking for a gas station. Your bike will be your companion on the road, so make sure you understand it inside out.
Do a pre-ride inspection
Check your chain or belt before you head out. Also see if the tires are alright and you have enough fuel to go wherever you are heading. A chain or belt that is improperly adjusted can easily break and lead to an accident. You can inspect the chain by turning the rear-wheel and watch the chain move. If the chain is too tight or lose, it means it is not properly fitted.
Check your tire condition and pressure
Tires need to be checked for slow leaks, nails, screws or anything else that might be stuck in between. Remove any foreign materials lodged in them, such as sharp rocks or small pebbles as they can cause serious tire damage as you move.
Also check the tire pressure regularly. If your motorcycle has low tire pressure, it can make the bike incredibly difficult and dangerous to control.
Turn your choke off
A lot of new bike owners do this mistake at least once. Choke is turned on to prime the engine after it's been sitting cold for a while, and most bikers forget to turn it off. If you leave the choke on after you start moving, you'll end up running your bike rich unnecessarily. If this becomes a habit, it can lead to problems with your bike over time, not to mention the extra fuel you'll be burning.
Look before you ride
When you first start biking, make a habit of target fixation. Observe your surroundings and look where you're going and you'll keep going that way. Focus is important too, especially when you are approaching corners. Keep an eye out for potholes, obstructions on the way, even animals, pedestrians and children. Some bikers make a habit of turning their head in the direction they are going to signal to anyone behind where you're planning to go. This is especially important if you plan to change lanes. Even a slight turn of your head will make other people see you and pay attention to you which is a good thing.
Be on the alert when you are riding your bike. Be extra cautious and defensive, and be prepared for the worse. When you ride on the street, pretend that everyone or everything around you is out to hit you. This way you'll be more proactive and prepared for anything which might come your way. Also pay attention to your surroundings and keep your eyes and ears open. Scan ahead and observe if there is a traffic block, construction zone or school up ahead. Anticipate any potential dangers and move out of way as needed.
As a new motorcycle rider, familiarize yourself with these tips to stay safe on the road.
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