The snow has melted and the bikes are out. Perhaps you've already made that celebratory ride this spring or perhaps you’re still thinking about it. In either case, our skills may be a little rusty early in the season and many of us are focused more on the pure thrill of the ride than we are about our own safety.
- Make sure your bike is ready to go. At a minimum, perform the "T-CLOCS" (Tires, Controls, Lights & electrical, Oil & other fluids, Chassis, Stands) check. See our recent blog post for a more detailed Spring Maintenance Checklist.
- Be alert and be defensive! Attitude is everything. Assume that you’re invisible to other vehicles on the road. Never let your guard down, no matter how euphoric the ride may make you feel.
- Remember to SEE! Search, Evaluate and Execute. Get in the habit of planning ahead to help manage the risks.
- Double-check all intersections. Give intersections an extra-wide birth when passing them to give yourself plenty of space to react in an emergency.
- Leave extra room. Give yourself some extra space for reaction time. Our skills might not be as sharp early in the riding season. Leave room for error.
- Turn on your high-beam. That high-beam makes you more visible and could save your life.
- Slow down. Loose sand and pebbles are everywhere and can make corners, intersections, main roads and side streets particularly hazardous. A full lean around that corner with a little extra throttle may be thrilling, but wait until the roads are in better shape.
- Salt is slippery. If you can manage it, wait until after the first or second strong rainfall of the season before hitting the streets. The rain helps to wash away the salt.
- Be bright! Motorists are not used to looking for motorcycles. Help them out by wearing a brightly colored helmet and/or a safety vest.
- Always wear a full set of gear. Ideally this means a helmet, gloves, jacket, ankle-protecting boots and at least a thick pair of jeans (riding pants or chaps are even better). Accidents happen and all too often it’s not the motorcycle driver’s fault. None of us are invincible, no matter how many years we’ve been riding.
- Cellphones are everywhere! There are fewer eyes focused on the road than ever before. Be careful!
- Rising gas prices = more inexperienced riders. In this tough economy, folks are turning to more gas-efficient transportation – the 2- and 3-wheeled varieties. Give your fellow motorcyclists some room.
- Take a Rider Safety Course. If it’s been 3 years or more since you attended a rider safety course (or if you have never taken one), you might want to brush up on your skills with one. They’re often available at your local Technical College or other educational institution.
Enjoy the ride and stay safe!
Author, J.M. Stickney is a powersports enthusiast working as the Digital Marketing Manager at GearUp2Go. She loves to ride her Suzuki GSX-R600 on the street or at the track. While not on her bike she spends a lot of time outdoors, writing, reading, running or playing with her family.