Last month, Burnett Wilson Law shared some basic motorcycle safety tips for every rider on the road. This month, we want to focus more on how new motorcyclists can stay safe. The risk of getting into a motorcycle accident tends to be higher for new riders simply because they don’t have full and confident control of their vehicles yet. This quick list will address common new rider mistakes and how to best avoid them.
Seven important motorcycle riding tips for beginners are:
- Practice clutch control to avoid stalling: Stalling is more dangerous than most people realize. If you stall your ride in the middle of traffic, then it can greatly increase the risk of a crash. New riders often have trouble controlling the clutch, so stalling is common. Practice clutch control in an empty parking lot or another safe place in between rides to reduce your chances of stalling later.
- Remember your blinkers: Always use your blinkers or turn indicators each time you want to change lanes, turn, or merge. This tip seems simple and obvious, but many new riders forget to use them entirely. This is usually because they aren’t used to the layout of their motorcycle’s controls. Take a moment to re-examine your ride’s buttons, levers, switches, etc.
- Master the slow turn: Slow turns on a motorcycle are trouble for a lot of new riders. They don’t know how to keep their momentum going enough at that slow of a speed, which results in the ride falling over or “dropping.” When you are practicing your clutch control, also practice your slow turns until you can cruise around corners without dropping your ride.
- Accelerate smoothly: Shaky acceleration can be dangerous. It might make your ride kick out from under you like a bucking bronco or it could send you right into the back of the vehicle in front of you. Make sure you are always fully in control of your accelerator and keep it smooth whether you are trying to reach 25 mph or highway speeds.
- Avoid busy streets for now: As a new rider, one of the worst dangers on the road is other drivers. For a few weeks at least, you should avoid busy streets and major highways if you can. Get used to your ride and how to control it on less busy roads with fewer drivers who can mess things up for you.
- Get a feel for the fuel tank: Does your motorcycle have a fuel gauge? Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t. Many models do not include them, so it is up to you to get used to how it feels when your tank is nearing empty. Motorcycle gas tanks are much smaller than a full-size vehicle’s tank. As a result, when a motorcycle nears empty, it is near empty. You should find a gas station as soon as you can to avoid stalling.
- Keep your eyes open: You might have been told to “look where you want to go” while you were being taught how to ride a motorcycle. While this is useful advice, don’t take it too far. Many new riders get tunnel vision and stare only where they want to go and lose sight of the traffic and road conditions around them. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes open and your mind aware.
Hopefully, this list of motorcycle riding tips for beginners helps you enjoy your new ride even more. Keep safety in mind at all times, and you will surely have a long and happy history as a motorcyclist ahead of you.