Overdriving the conditions.
We get it—motorcycles make you feel awesome. It’s empowering and thrilling to ride like the wind. But overdriving the conditions is one of the most common mistakes even old pros make. New roads, winding curves, rain, wind, traffic—all these things pose serious dangers if you’re driving too fast and aggressively. And crashing your bike definitely feels less than awesome.
Failing to engage the clutch and stalling out.
If you’re a less experienced rider, you’ve probably stalled out a few times as you learn. The most common cause is improper clutch control—not engaging the clutch while decelerating during stops. To improve slow riding and stops, repeat riding in a figure 8 as slowly as you can to practice clutch control. And make sure you perform regular maintenance to rule out any mechanical issues for stalling.
Skipping your helmet in town.
You might think because you’re riding in town at lower speeds that you can skip the helmet. Not true—according to NHTSA, more than half of crashes occur within five miles of home, and that means motorcycles, too. Even at low speeds, you’re more at risk for a fatal crash without a helmet.
Too many new things at once.
Mastering your motorcycle takes years of practice. So don’t rush to do too many new things too quickly—being new to riding, driving a new bike, exploring new locations and roads, or riding with a new passenger. Add one new thing at a time and practice careful, defensive riding until you’re comfortable.