Being a new rider is an exciting time. It's an amazing feeling when you get your first bike and prepare to hit the open road.
You’ve taken the time to research which motorcycle is best for your needs, you’ve gotten your license and you went all out to get the bestprotective gearavailable. You feel like you're finally ready to enjoy your very first season.
You’ve done everything right, so what could go wrong?
The answer? A lot!
Even if you’ve played it by the book up until this point, there’s still plenty to learn about handling a bike safely. While there’s no denying that motorcycles are the coolest way to get around, it’s good to keep in mind that motorcycle crashes are about 30 times more likely to be fatal than a crash between motorists.
Make sure you stay safe while out on your bike, and enjoy a stellar first year as a new rider by following these essential safety tips.
12 Ways to Survive Your First Year as a New Motorcycle Rider
1. Get the Right Gear
As a brand new rider, when it comes to your gear, more is definitely more. Although everyone wants to look cool when they get on their bike, safety should be your top priority. Even when it’s warm outside you should be wearing gloves,motorcycle jeans, a good leather or cordura jacket, a full-face helmet, and boots for protection.
2. Inspect Your Bike
Before you hit the road you should always stop to give your bike a good once over. Every time you get on the road you should check your tire pressure, lights and mirrors.
3. Be Visible
While you may be tempted to deck yourself out in all black or brown gear, visibility is your friend. Typically, bright or neon gear isn’t something most motorcycle companies manufacture, so look for an appropriate safety vest, or even some neon reflective taping to add to your gear.
Yes, you're not going to look like one of the cool kids, but the first few months of your riding career will be the most difficult and dangerous, so make it as hard as possible for cagers to knock you down down because they didn't see you.
4. Ride with Trusted Pals
Ride with seasoned riders who you can trust to help keep you safe. Never try to ride above your limits to keep up with a group - if they aren't riding at your level, ditch them.
Can’t think of anyone you trust to share a lane with? In that case, riding alone is better than sharing the road with someone who could be a distraction.
5. Never Ride Tired
You know that feeling when you've driven home from a friend's house late at night, and have no memory of really driving home? That kind of zoning out on a bike can be fatal.
While only you know your tolerance, don’t push it. If you feel tired, or you start to zone out, stop, stretch, get your blood circulating and refresh your brain before you head off again.
6. Don’t Forget Your Gloves
When you go down, what do you think the first thing to hit the pavement is going to be?
That's right, your hands.
Riding without gloves is just plain stupid. Ill-fitting gloves can also greatly affect your safety. Take the time to get get the best fitting gloves you can find. Generally speaking, a new quality leather riding glove should be just a little on the snug side, but it'll quickly stretch out to fit your hand perfectly.
Yes, it may seem like you have less "feel" for the controls at first, but give it a few days and you won't even notice you're wearing them.
7. Leave Room
Don't ride so close behind the vehicle in front of you that a sudden stop is going to see you rear ending them. Even worse, your bike is almost certainly going to be able to stop quicker than the car behind you can. A good practise is to leave enough gap to the car in front, so that if they stop suddenly, you will be able to to come to a safe stop, but also allow the slower braking car behind you to stop without hitting you.
Yeah, think about that one for a second.
8. Use Your Head
It is important to utilize your mirrors but you need to use your head to be fully aware of your surroundings. Experienced riders should keep their head and eyes up as they round corners and change lanes.
Always be asking yourself "What is the worst thing that could happen right now?" Prepare for that.
9. Check the Weather
Make sure you're always aware of the weather forecast. Wet or icy roads can make riding challenging, and poor visibility means you should stay off the road.
10. Don't Outride Yourself
This is a big one.
The #1 cause of motorcycle accidents is the rider. It's easy to go fast on a bike...anyone can do it. It's the cornering, braking and maneuvering that take skill, and if this is your first year riding, you just don't have that skill.
Too many riders get into trouble every year going in to a bend just a little too hot, drift over the line into oncoming traffic, or off the side of the road into a tree.
Riding is meant to be fun, and there's no doubt it's easy to get a little carried away. But as a new rider, you can't afford to get carried away. Always know your limits and stay well within them.
Otherwise, you may find it's the EMTs carryingyouaway.
Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to spend some time learning how to be a better rider. Your first few weeks are going to be a little scary, but the more you get out there and experience the road as a rider, the better, and safer, you're going to be.
Stay Safe and Have Fun on the Open Road
With the rightprotective gear,a good sense of your abilities on the road, and respect for your fellow riders, you’ll find that your first year as a new rider will fly by.
You've got all the tools you need, so get out and enjoy life on two wheels!