Motorcycle helmet and goggles placed on a motorcycle handlebar

Motorcycle safety tips

From riding tips to motorcycle awareness, you can help make the road safer with these habits.

The open road can be an adventure. You never know what might be around the bend, so try to be 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.

Key takeaways for motorcycle safety

  • Different ways to be safe while riding a motorcycle
  • Motorcycle awareness tips for car drivers

Motorcycle riding tips

Make it legal

Consider contacting your state’s DMV to learn the requirements for getting a motorcycle license. Also, it’s important to reach out to your insurance company about motorcycle insurance and different coverage options that might be available.

Motorcycle classes

Consider participating in a hands-on training course. These are beneficial for both new and experienced riders. Attending advanced riding classes may help you with tips for braking techniques, collision avoidance and difficult turning.

Motorcycle safety gear

Wear protective gear, and see that passengers are protected too. Motorcycle helmets, padded or layered clothing, gloves and eyewear can all help reduce injury. A helmet is not required in every state but is strongly recommended. Helmets are vital for safe riding and may help protect you from a serious brain injury.

Motorcycle inspection

Think about checking your motorcycle often to confirm lights, turn signals, mirrors, brakes and fuel are in good shape before you ride. Consider choosing a bike equipped with an Antilock Braking System (ABS) as it helps prevent wheels from locking up and skidding.

Don't drive under the influence

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

When on the road, be engaged and on the lookout for other drivers. Don't forget to be courteous and respectful of other motorists and share the road. In addition, watch for potholes and things like oil, gravel and sand as those can be dangerous and may cause you to lose traction or control of your motorcycle.

Be visible

Larger vehicles are generally easier to see than motorcycles. Drivers might have more difficulty seeing motorcycles due to their size. As a rider, think about taking safety measures to be more visible including wearing bright colors and using your headlights and turn signals. Avoid getting into other drivers’ blind spots.

Keep your distance

Follow at a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you. Allow more time and distance in poor weather conditions, heavy traffic and as you approach curves and intersections.

Obey the laws

Follow the rules of the road and obey traffic laws — especially speed limits and the use of turn signals. Try to stay in your lane — as opposed to driving on the shoulder or lane-splitting — because other motorists are more likely to see you when you're in a travel lane. Also think about learning the rules of riding double before taking a passenger.

Watch the weather

Difficult weather conditions like rain, ice and fog can make your motorcycle riding experience challenging. In addition to being cold, you might have a harder time controlling your motorcycle. Bad weather might cause it to be more difficult for other vehicles to see you. Consider checking the weather forecast before riding your motorcycle to avoid possible dangerous situations while on the road.

Motorcycle awareness for drivers

Keep your eyes open and follow the rules of the road

If you're in a car, it is good practice to be alert for motorcyclists. Respectfully share the road with them by being courteous and using turn signals to change lanes or when merging 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 motorcyclists due to road hazards, such as dodging potholes or debris.

In addition, respecting the speed limit, not driving under the influence, defensive driving and avoiding distractions while at the wheel may help you in keeping everyone around you, including motorcyclists, safe.

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.

Do not share your lane with a motorcycle. Even though they are smaller, motorcyclists are entitled to their own lane like all other vehicles.

Using these tips is a good starting point — and you can learn more by reading about how to avoid motorcycle accidentsriding 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.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
State Farm Indemnity Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas
Richardson, TX

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