Tips for Motorcyclists

motorcycle_countryroadGet training on your motorcycle!  If you are self-taught or have only taken a Basic Rider Course on a training motorcycle, advance your skills.  Motorcycling is more enjoyable and safer when you have the skills that match the performance of your street machine.  Many intermediate and advanced level courses are available in Texas that could qualify you for lower insurance rates.

Wear all the gear all the time.  Motorcycle specific clothing is designed to work best.  Sure it’s not cheap, but it is a lot cheaper than a skin graft or an extended recovery period off your motorcycle due to injury.  Be sure to research the gear that is available and buy the best you can afford, before you buy extra chrome for your machine

Be Prepared. Routinely practice your emergency braking and swerving skills in a parking lot with a good traction surface.  If you ride with a passenger, practice with them aboard as well (at safer speeds).  Fate will not tap you on the shoulder and give advanced notice when these skills will be needed.

Never drink and ride. Successfully riding a motorcycle requires exceptional visual, cognitive and physical skill sets that not everyone possesses.  Drinking negatively impacts all of these skills. This is one of the most common causes of motorcycle fatalities.

Riding a motorcycle is fun, pushing one is not.  Include a pre-ride check of your machine to ensure all is in proper working order.  Check the tires, control functions, lights and electrics, gas, oil, brake fluid levels, and suspension movement.  If you have a chain drive motorcycle make sure the chain is correctly adjusted and lubricated.

Keep the following on your motorcycle at all times (under seat compartments work great):

  • Tire pressure gauge,
  • Tire repair kit,
  • Small air compressor or several CO2 cartridges,
  • Replacement headlight bulb,
  • Small first aid kit,
  • Zip ties,
  • Super glue, and
  • Duct tape (wrap several yards around a pencil to take up less space).

Carry a tire repair kit and know how to use it since tire failures happen outside of cellphone coverage areas.  If you ask nicely, you can likely practice your tire repair skills on an old tire at your local dealership.

Consider a roadside assistance plan.  Many motorcycle insurance companies offer this as an option.  Also, the American Motorcycle Association has a plan that covers all of your vehicles included with membership.