This post goes the extra mile. The internet is loaded with lists of top 10 tips. We consulted with our motorcycle safety friends. 10 good ideas only got us into second gear. So we went full throttle with 21 motorcycle safety tips. That number may remind you of blackjack. But we can’t gamble on two wheels. The odds already favor distracted drivers and bigger vehicles.
If you’re old enough to have a motorcycle license, you’re old enough to make your own choices. Decide if the information here serves as valuable lessons or reminders.
May these 21 motorcycle safety tips bring you added insights. May they also bring you good luck. And above all, may they help to bring you back to ride another day. If so, you are a winner.
21 Motorcycle Safety Tips
1. REVIEW BEFORE YOU ROLL.
Before every ride, do a thorough inspection of your motorcycle. Check your tires, lights, turn signals, brakes, etc. Make sure everything is working properly. It’s always best if you can make discoveries while parked.
2. REGROUP BEFORE YOU ROLL.
Perform a self–exam before riding a motorcycle. Inspect YOU. Make sure you’re fresh and focused for the ride ahead. Confirm you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally ready. Are you prepared or preoccupied? Are you exhausted? Feeling scared, stressed, or sad? Angry or anxious? Impaired or intoxicated? Don’t dare ride. Do Plan B. Wait. Regroup. Roll only when you’re fully ready.
3. GET MOTORCYCLE SAFETY TRAINING.
Getting a motorcycle license doesn’t ensure your safety. You passed a test, but not the test of time. Listen to Lightning Strike friend, Sandra Aguilera. She was the first female on the Arizona Highway Patrol. She credits her training in preparing her for everything on a motorcycle. She also says an obvious lack of training was a factor in many motorcycle accident scenes she worked. Consider taking a safety course. You can learn many lessons and skills in a controlled environment, instead of learning risks and reality the hard way.
4. RIDE WITH AN ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM (ABS).
There is nothing like the front wheel of a motorcycle locking up. You will not like it. But you will remember it. An anti-locking or anti-skid braking system prevents your wheels from locking up during braking. Keeping traction with road? Good.
5. WEAR A HELMET.
Once you know you’ve got your head on straight, why not put a helmet on it? Yes, Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire don’t require it. But that doesn’t mean you can ever be too safe. For the most protection, motorcycle safety experts recommend helmets approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It may not be cheap, but your brain and life are worth it. Right?
Bonus : The best excuse for a bad hair day, and the best solution for a bad hair day is…wearing a motorcycle helmet.
6. WEAR THE RIGHT RIDING GEAR FOR YOU.
Discomfort trumps comfort. Yes, shorts, flip flops, and t-shirts are cooler and more comfortable than leather. But protection is always a plus. The right gloves are especially important for a good grip and control. The issue of riding gear is a common safe or sorry scenario with motorcycles. You can’t predict the day or time of a spill or slide out. But you can predict more pain if you’re not wearing the right riding gear when you do.
7. RIDE THE RIGHT BIKE FOR YOU.
Identify your personal needs as a rider. Ask for help in identifying them if needed. Ask questions about a motorcycle before you ride it or buy it. Confirm it’s right for you. Ride what you can afford and handle. The right bike fits your abilities and needs. Whether it’s size, weight, power, or performance, too much in a motorcycle is just that. Too much.
8. KEEP GOOD COMPANY ON THE ROAD.
On a motorcycle, there is a big difference between good and bad company. Ride only with other riders who know how to ride safely, and who do. Never ride with someone impaired. Never ride with a showoff, or someone who seems to have a death wish. Only ride with others whose skills and decision-making you know and trust. Sharing isn’t always caring, especially when it means sharing the road or a lane. Keeping good company helps to keep you upright and safe.
9. DO SHOW & TELL WITH ALL PASSENGERS.
Every good motorcycle rider recognizes the safety of passengers as their responsibility. Passengers don’t know what they don’t know. Don’t assume. Be sure to show and tell every passenger what you need them to do, and how you need them to do it. Be sure to also tell them what they are not allowed to do and why. Be clear. Welcome their questions, but always maintain your safety standards. It’s your bike. Your responsibility. Your rules.
10. HEED YOUR NEED FOR SPEED.
Granted, this sounds boring. File it in the “Yeah Yeah Yeah” folder in your brain if you must. But speed limits are in place for a reason. And just because a speed limit is posted, doesn’t always mean it is safe to go that fast. Ride at a safe speed. Ride at a comfortable speed for you. If you’re in a group that’s going faster than you like, hang back. Enjoy your ride, your way, at your speed.
11. THE EYES HAVE IT.
Where you wish to go, and where you wind up can be oh so different. Where your eyes go, you and your bike will often follow. Your field of vision sets your future. It determines your destination. Look where you want to go every chance you get. You will see who and what may in your way. You will see how to navigate danger and hopefully avoid it.
12. DON’T BE “that” DISTRACTED MOTORCYCLE RIDER.
Please don’t say, “But everybody else does it.” That excuse never worked as a kid. And it doesn’t work as a motorcyclist. Yes, we see countless car and truck drivers distracted by their smartphones or other things. That doesn’t justify us creating the same danger. Don’t be that motorcycle rider who loses focus on the road by staring at a GPS map, texting, or getting caught up in conversation. Once you snap back to attention, fear could cause you to instinctively hit the brakes. Over the front you go. Let’s be better.
13. ALWAYS HAVE AN ESCAPE ROUTE.
Always. Have an escape route, and plan how you’ll use it. The escape route is a process you’re constantly updating. Here’s some examples. If you’re on a highway, leave room to escape when the car in front of you suddenly slams the brakes. Plan your reaction. If you’re at a stop light, leave room between your bike and the car in front of you, if the truck coming from behind doesn’t notice you. Plan your reaction. No escape route? No options but brace for impact. No good.
14. STAY AHEAD OF THE WEATHER.
This is literally and figuratively speaking. No one can guarantee exactly what Mother Nature does, and when or how she does it. But nowadays with the internet and smartphones, there’s no reason you can’t be both a motorcyclist and at least an amateur meteorologist. Check the weather forecast for where you are, and where you’re headed. Keep an occasional eye on the skies. Avoid riding in bad weather conditions. When in doubt, wait it out.
15. KNOW YOUR ROUTES.
It sounds old school romantic for a motorcycle rider to simply pick a direction and go. However, it’s more practical and obviously safer when you know where you’re going. With GPS technology today, it’s never been easier to map out plans for your routes. Why add risk by hoping to blindly find your way? The more familiar you are with your routes, the better you can manage them. More focus on the road, means a better shot at spotting drivers who may not be focused on seeing your motorcycle or you.
16. KNOW AND RESPECT THE LAW.
Knowing and respecting the laws where you are riding is always in your best interests. It can help to save you financially, as well as physically and mentally. Motorcycle laws are at your fingertips online. A little time to check the laws could save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation.
17. KNOW AND RESPECT YOUR LIMITATIONS.
In Clint Eastwood’s classic movie, “Magnum Force,” Dirty Harry Callahan’s key line is, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” As a male or female motorcycle rider, know and respect your limitations. Don’t ride tired. Don’t push it to the limits. Yes, we ride because it is fun and exciting. But especially for inexperienced riders, safety means staying within the skills of your comfort zone. Minimizing or avoiding risk is the real reward.
18. IGNORE THINKING YOU ARE INVINCIBLE.
This is said with all due respect. The fact is you are not invincible. No one is. Ask any motor officer. They’ll tell you. Very often the worst motorcycle accidents they see involve riders who thought or acted like they were invincible. Just don’t do it.
19. “BE SMART ENOUGH TO BE A LITTLE SCARED.”
This quote is from another Lightning Strike friend, Steve Sidoti. He’s ridden motorcycles safely for 40 years. Knock on chrome. He has never put down a bike. Steve had a big brother who was a motorcycle officer. He still follows the advice he gave him when Steve began riding. “Assume no one can see you on a motorcycle, and that every driver can be an idiot.” This may seem harsh to some. May seem smart considering the growing number of dangerous drivers distracted by their smartphones.
20. CONSIDER B.O.L.T. (BEAM OPTIC LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY)
Some would call this shameless self-promotion. We call it passion and conviction. We believe in our patented motorcycle visibility system. We know these optical LEDs can make all the difference when it matters most. The B.O.L.T. on the front of your bike helps car and truck drivers see you BEFORE an accident happens. You’ll even see their faces when their “Ah ha” moments occur.
Shameless self-promotion? No way. We’d feel ashamed if we didn’t include B.O.L.T. as one of our motorcycle safety tips. You decide.
21. CONSIDER FLASHBACK.
Same as above. But this applies to the other end of your bike. Flashback has your back. This is our high-intensity, optical LED flashing light system. We believe it belongs being one of our motorcycle safety tips. Flashback protects you and your motorcycle by increasing the visibility of its rear end. The system is automatically activated by your existing brake light. You hit the brakes. You tap into attention-getting power far greater than any brake light.
Thank you for taking this journey to 21 motorcycle safety tips with us. Lightning Strike hopes to empower all riders (and drivers) to see the light. Let us know how we may be of service to you.
The best destinations for motorcycle rides are the ones you reach safely. Here’s wishing you many smiles across many miles. Safe passage wherever your road leads you.