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Tuesday, 04 February 2020 13:56

9 Motorcycle Safety Tips for New Riders Featured

motorcycle riderIf you’re new to riding a motorcycle then you’ll have a lot of positive energy towards making the most of your time on two wheels.

Keep in mind though that a bike is one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road: a motorcyclist is thirty times more likely to die in a crash than a person who drives a car.

That number decreases for riders with more experience, so it’s worth taking sensible steps to ensure you don’t end up in a hospital bed this weekend.

Most enthusiasts enjoy riding without having an accident or picking up an injury, but here are some tips if you’re a new rider and want to stay safe.


1. Don’t buy a bike with too much power

Get a motorcycle that suits your level of experience. Don’t buy one that is way too powerful. Also, the size of the physical size of the bike should be one you can easily handle too: ensure you can rest both feet flat on the ground when stationary. If the bike feels too heavy then it probably is.

A smaller model at around 300cc can be a good starter bike if you have never owned or ridden one before, but most beginners should choose a 600cc with two cylinders. This gives you enough power to keep up with traffic when you drive on the highway and doesn’t give you any peaky power available at higher rpm. The even delivery of power is what you want as a beginner.


2. Invest in antilock brakes

Lots of different models have ABS and it has proven to be a lifesaver. ABS prevents the risk of your front wheel locking under intense braking. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) found that motorcycles with an ABS braking system were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those without it.

Why have ABS? When you’re a beginner there are lots of things to learn about on the road. When you need to brake in a panic or something happens quickly, braking and locking your front wheel robs you of your ability to steer. Something that can easily cause you to skid or crash.

 3. Develop your skills

There is nothing better than honing your skills on two wheels, but if you haven’t already completed a motorcycle foundation course then you should. It shouldn’t cost you more than $400 and will provide you with a solid set of skills to build on when you’re out on the road.

Some riders choose to join a local club or take an advanced rider qualification in addition to gaining their class M endorsement or a full motorcycle license, but this will differ by state.

4. Protect your most vital asset

Your head is your most vital asset and is least protected when on two wheels. Not all states in the US have a law on the regulation of helmets and whether they should be worn by riders.

Our advice is to wear a helmet. Riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a serious crash and three times more likely to suffer brain injury during a collision.  

A full-face helmet approved by the Department of Transport (commonly known as “DOT approved”; look for the sticker) is what we would suggest for beginners. American Legend Rider’s full-face helmets help to shield the full face and are strong, light weight and comfortable. Helmets do deteriorate over time but buying your first helmet and first bike at the same time makes sense. 


5. Wear the right gear

A t-shirt, shorts and sandals might be a great look in the summer months as you’re cruising along by the beach, but it will be a disaster if something happens.

You want gear that will protect you from the elements and any bugs or debris that comes your way (there will be a lot). If you want the most protection then a reinforced leather jacket, pants, gloves and sturdy boots will set you up the best. 

Even if it’s the Summer, you should be wearing all these items. Most of the gear is designed to be breathable in warm weather while also provide the most protection. If you’re driving at night then think about investing in some high visibility gear so that other road users can clearly see you.


6. Avoid bad weather

Rain reduces your visibility and that of other road users, as well as making any oil on the road slippery.

If you must drive in bad weather then remember that your reaction times will take a little longer and be aware that other roads users may need time to see you on the road. Be gentle on the throttle and the brakes, and avoid turning too sharply as that may cause you to slide.

In windy conditions, remember that passing other vehicles can cause gusts of wind unexpectedly too.


7. Drive defensively

Be extra alert when you are out. Sixty percent of car drivers who had a collision with a motorcycle said that they didn’t notice them until the last second. Prepare for this, especially with lots of car drivers using their phones for calls and texting while driving.

Watch out for cars suddenly pulling out of side roads and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

8. Be aware of road hazards

Motorcycles have less contact with the road than most other vehicles. Wet leaves, sand or pebbles make it harder to ride and can cause you to slip and slide. Potholes can seem a minor inconvenience to cars and trucks but can be dangerous when riding a motorcycle.

Be careful and reduce your speed if you come across any of these hazards. If you are crossing railroad tracks then cross at a right angle to prevent slipping on the rail.


9. Check things before each ride

Each time you head out for a ride complete a quick walk-around of your bike. Check that your lights, signals and horn are all in working order: these will help avoid a collision should they be needed. You should also check that there are no visible issues with your tires (ensuring they are adequately inflated and have enough depth).

When setting off, check that your brakes are working correctly. Then, have a memorable ride. 


What are your experiences?

More experienced motorcycle riders will have learned a thing or two. What guidance can you pass on to a beginner? Let us know.


American Legend Rider


Last modified on Tuesday, 04 February 2020 14:21

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