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 safety tips for operators
- If you're new to owning a motorcycle, perhaps you've already received your motorcycle license, required by most states. You're also going to need insurance.
- Consider participating in a hands-on training course conducted in a controlled environment. These are beneficial for both new and experienced riders.
- 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.
- Choose a bike equipped with Antilock Braking System (ABS). ABS prevents wheels from locking up and helps avoid skidding.
- Be an engaged rider, focused on the road. Watch out for distracted drivers.
- Always ride sober, including avoiding prescription medications that may affect how you ride.
- Be courteous and respectful of other motorists; share the road.
- 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.
- Stay in your lane. Other motorists are more likely to see you when you're in a travel lane.
- Obey traffic laws, especially speed limits.
- Always use turn signals.
- Pretend you're invisible to drivers or other vehicles; take precautions to be seen, including wearing bright colors and using your headlight at all times.
Tips for all drivers
- Be respectful and courteous; share the road.
- Use turn signals to change lanes or merge into traffic.
- Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
- Watch for motorcycles with turn signals flashing. Wait until they turn or the driver turns the signal off, because unlike cars, motorcycle signals don't always have auto-cancel.
- Watch for sudden moves by motorcycles due to road hazards, such as potholes or debris.
- 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.