Best Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips for New Riders

May 4, 2022

Motorcycle riders riding in California.

Riding a motorcycle is an exciting experience and can become a big part of your lifestyle. However, it is well-known that motorcycles come with added dangers compared with driving a car or truck. 

According to the Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to perish during an accident than someone driving a car. This is a scary statistic, especially for beginners. Worry not, however, as we’ve compiled some of the most important safety tips for first-time motorcyclists. The goal is to enjoy the ride and remain safe along the way.

1. Buy a Motorcycle That Fits You

A common mistake for first-time riders is riding a street bike that doesn’t fit their skill. Many riders want to go big, and go fast, but if you don’t have the experience and haven’t developed the right bike handling skill, you may be in trouble.

Today’s small motorcycles have outstanding performance capabilities. The evolution of road bikes is fast and you can get a zippy street bike without breaking the bank or having to get a massive bike.

Keep in mind that you should be able to put both feet on the ground when seated, at least when you are a beginner. Plus, if you can’t reach the handlebar easily, it isn’t the right bike for you.

2. Getting an Education Is Instrumental

No one’s born knowing how to ride a street bike. So it is important to take a riding course. You may need this to obtain a motorcycle endorsement, so keep this in mind before you begin searching for a bike.

You should also be knowledgeable about how to act in an emergency situation. This is instrumental to avoid further consequences, and help others during accidents. You will also likely get maintenance tips from the instructors and they will let you know the best way to avoid dangerous situations. While you can go to a driving school, you can also learn about motorcycle safety courses right at the dealer. Some even offer special discounts!

3. You’ve Got an Amazing Bike, Get To Know It

You need to know your bike inside and out to be comfortable and confident while riding. Take the time to become familiar with the handling. You need to learn how to move with your steed, not against it.

Do this by practicing inside an empty parking lot before hitting the road. This lets you get up to speed in a safe environment without additional obstacles in your way. Taking these precautions might sound a tad time-consuming but will be worth it.

4. Invest in Riding Gear

You’ve already made the decision of riding a bike, which is a considerable investment. Make sure you invest equally in your own safety! If you get second-hand gear, you may find that it doesn’t fit as it should. This is a safety hazard.

In Las Vegas, you are required to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding (read the Motorcycle Helmet Laws by State article for added insight). Plus, helmets must comply with standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Buy a real helmet that is DOT and/or Snell certified.

You can purchase additional safety gear for your motorcycle, too. Protect your investment by fitting plastic sliders, which are specially designed to protect vulnerable parts of the motorcycle. The sliders are designed to take the hit, protecting items such as your tank, engine cases, and the radiator.

5. Always Wear a Motorcycle Helmet

We already mentioned helmets as an instrumental part of the gear you should wear. 

There are different types of helmets and you might want to take a closer look into them in the How to Choose a Motorcycle Helmet That’s Safe and Comfortable write up. We recommend wearing a full-face helmet.

Other helmets might look cooler, but only a full-face helmet provides the highest level of protection. Anything can happen while riding, no matter how skilled you are.

6. The Traffic Rules Are There for a Reason

This should be common sense. Skipping a stop sign, running a red light, or turning where you shouldn’t are recipes for disaster. This is dangerous for you and others on the road.

Also keep in mind, the faster you go, the harder it is to stop quickly. If another vehicle appears out of nowhere, you’ll have difficulty maneuvering around it and avoiding an accident.

7. Powerful Anti-Lock Brakes Are Safer

These days, many new motorcycles offer ABS. And most new riders will benefit from this technology. Avoiding a fatal crash might very well depend on you having anti-lock brakes according to the Institute for Highway Safety. 

ABS mitigates the potential of brake lock and tires skids. This sometimes can occur when there’s an obstacle on the road, or, when a car, or, animal suddenly appears and the rider engages either brake too aggressively. Anti-lock brakes protect you from yourself, allowing greater vehicle control. Unless you are a pro-level rider, ABS is likely to help. 

While this feature may come at an added cost, it’s an important investment. This is money well spent.

8. Distractions Are Dangerous

Regardless of how relaxing you might find your motorcycle ride, you need to remain focused on the road ahead. Staying aware of your surroundings at all times is crucial. This will allow you to have a faster reaction time if anything bad happens. 

Staring at nature, houses, or whatever your surroundings are could cost you dearly. And don’t use your phone while riding! Connect with your machine and focus on what you are doing.

9. Go Defense!

A University of Florida study found that in 60% of its study cases in which a bike and a car are involved in an accident, the car is at fault. This is an alarming statistic that gives an idea of why it’s necessary to ride defensively. 

Keeping this in mind will help you stay focused and be on the lookout for danger. Watch out for cars that switch lanes suddenly. Don’t ride near these motorists. Another precaution is maintaining a safe distance between you and other vehicles. By doing this, you will have time to maneuver, if needed. 

Similarly, always use your mirrors before switching lanes and/or turning.

10. Mother Nature is Queen

Some days, the weather is not your ally. If you are not skilled enough to safely ride on rainy or snowy days, then don’t. It’s better to stay at home, take public transportation, or get an Uber if you have to go out.

Always check the weather. If you live in an area where the weather constantly changes, then all the more reason to do so. Prevention is always key when it comes to riding safety and comfort.

11. Don’t Drink and Ride

Drinking and riding is dangerous for everyone on the road. If you have had a couple of drinks, it’s best to just call a lift and pick up your bike later. Also, if you are tired or sleepy, you should reconsider riding.

Riding a motorcycle is an adventure and a moment to connect with the surroundings. While this can be an exhilarating experience, you need to take precautions. Purchasing safety gear, practicing, and making sure you know all about riding safety are important measures you can take to avoid an accident.

Keep in mind external things such as the weather, traffic signs, and reckless drivers. Remember to employ a defensive attitude and to maintain enough space between yourself and other vehicles. As long as you have the space to maneuver and you have gotten a bike that fits you, you’ll be safer.