Motorcycle safety tips

Road safety habits for motorcycle operators and all drivers make for easy riding.

A motorcycle helmet hangs on the handlebar

The open road is always an adventure. You never know what might be around the bend, so make sure you're prepared for whatever the road has in store for you.

Whatever type of ride you prefer, sharing the road is essential. Here are some motorcycle safety tips to help keep yourself and your passengers safe.

Motorcycle riding tips

Make it legal

Before you take your motorcycle out, make sure you have a motorcycle license if your state requires one. You're also going to need insurance.

Motorcycle classes

Consider participating in a hands-on training course conducted in a controlled environment. These are beneficial for both new and experienced riders.

Wear the right gear

Wear protective gear, and be sure passengers are protected too. Helmets, clothing, gloves and eyewear can all reduce injury if you're involved in a crash. A motorcycle helmet is not required in every state but you should wear one. Helmets are vital for safe riding and can protect you from a serious brain injury.

Brake check

Choose a bike equipped with Antilock Braking System (ABS). ABS prevents wheels from locking up and helps avoid skidding.

Stay sober

Balance, coordination and good judgement are all parts of being safe on a motorcycle. Alcohol or prescription or over-the-counter medications can affect how you ride. Always ride sober.

Stay alert

While riding you should be an engaged rider, focused on the road. While on the road be on the lookout for distracted drivers. Pretend you're invisible to drivers or other vehicles and take precautions to be seen, including wearing bright colors and using your headlight at all times. Don't forget to be courteous and respectful of other motorists and share the road.

Keep your distance

Follow at a safe distance - two seconds behind the vehicle in front of you is best in ideal conditions. Allow more time and distance in bad weather, heavy traffic or as you approach curves and intersections.

Obey the laws

The rules of the road apply to motorcyclists and you should always use turn signals and stay in your lane because other motorists are more likely to see you when you're in a travel lane. You should also know and obey traffic laws, especially speed limits, and learn the rules of riding double before taking a passenger.

Motorcycle safety tips for drivers

Keep your eyes open

If you're in a car you should always be alert for motorcyclists. Share the road with them by being respectful and courteous and using turn signals to change lanes or merge into traffic.

While on the road check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. Watch for motorcycles with turn signals flashing and wait until they turn or the driver turns the signal off, because unlike cars, motorcycle signals don't always have auto-cancel. Also watch for sudden moves by motorcycles due to road hazards, such as potholes or debris.

Give them space

When following a motorcycle, travel at a safe distance, recommended to be three or four seconds. They can stop quicker than a car, and you need to be ready to stop, too.

Using these tips is a good starting point but you can learn more about how to avoid motorcycle accidents, riding double and other motorcycle insights.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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