Laws differ by state, so make sure to review them before every trip. Read South Dakota motorcycle laws.

The basics you’ll need are a USDOT approved motorcycle helmet, leathers, boots, eye protection and full-fingered leather gloves. Read the section on motorcycle safety gear to find the features you should look for.

For riders under 18, yes. For those over 18, there is no helmet law.

Riders who don’t wear helmets are three times more likely to have a brain injury from a crash. Altogether, those numbers add up; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s estimated that helmets save the lives of about 1,800 riders every year. That’s 1,800 more parents, spouses, family members and friends who live to ride another day.

Nope. A study by NHTSA showed that overall, wearing a helmet didn’t restrict a rider’s ability to hear signals or see traffic. The benefits of wearing a helmet far outweigh anything else.

Most bikes aren’t meant to hold much cargo, but small loads can be carried safely if they’re positioned and fastened right. Keep the load low and balanced, and try to fasten loads to the seat or put them in saddlebags. Watch our packing dos and dont’s video for more tips.

Since most of a motorcycle’s weight is on the front wheel, the rear wheel can lock up and skid easily. To control it, keep your eyes up and look where you want to go – not where your bike is skidding. It’s important to practice braking to make it an instinctive reaction; inexperience and panic can cause riders to brake suddenly or skid.

Give your bike a brief inspection before every ride with a more thorough inspection regularly. The T-CLOCS inspection is a great guideline; watch our motorcycle maintenance videos for more information or download a PDF checklist.

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