Safe Riding Practices

Hit the open road – but not literally.

Riding a motorcycle comes with thrills and challenges all its own. Knowing the right way to ride can save your hide in a hairy situation.

Practice Defensive Riding

  • Give yourself extra distance and time to react.
  • Signal in advance, and incorporate arm turn signals.
  • Avoid speeding, weaving between lanes or making sudden maneuvers motorists can’t predict.
  • Don’t pass on blind corners or where visibility is limited.
  • If you’re new to an area, review riding maps before you go.
  • Constantly scan the road for wildlife and other hazards – deer come out of nowhere.
  • Know how to handle your bike in varying conditions including wind, rain, snow, fog, gravel/sand, work zones or other uneven surfaces.

Use Caution with Motorists

  • Remember that motorists have trouble seeing motorcycles; always assume you’re invisible on the road.
  • Be aware of car and truck blind spots, and don’t ride in them.
  • If you think a motorist might not see you, beep up and use your horn.
  • Ride in the part of the lane where you’re most visible. Avoid the center of the lane.
  • Make sure your headlight is on day and night, and use reflective strips on clothing.
  • Flash your brake light to warn motorists before slowing down and stopping.
  • A large percentage of motorcycle crashes happen at interchanges. Watch for turning vehicles, especially those turning left.

Change your Approach with Passengers

  • Make sure passengers are educated on riding and wearing the right safety gear.
  • A passenger’s extra weight changes how your bike reacts. Adjust for extra stopping time, avoid excessive speed and use more finesse when accelerating.
  • Passengers should hold on tight and avoid making any sudden movements.
  • Ask your passenger to stay sitting straight when turning, simply looking over your shoulder in the direction of the turn instead of leaning.
  • If you’re riding in a group, avoid lane sharing and use a staggered formation to give your bike space.

Avoid Drunk Riding

  • Know that drugs and alcohol affects more than your judgment; they also skew your balance and coordination, which are essential on a bike.
  • A crash due to impaired riding doesn’t just hurt you. It takes a life-changing toll on family, friends, employers and more.
  • Even if you don’t crash, the costs of impaired riding are serious, including jail time, arrest, losing your license and/or motorcycle and other large expenses.


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