Whether you just got your motorcycle license or are the proud owner of a new bike, it’s essential to keep safe when you hit the road. Motorcycles can be more vulnerable to uneven roads or drivers who fail to notice you in their rearview mirrors! You need to be super diligent to help reduce the risk of accidents. Even if you feel confident riding your motorcycle, you should still take advantage of safety tips. Here we review ten motorcycle safety tips you should follow to stay safe.
1. Get your motorcycle license
In Alberta, you require a Class 6 Motorcycle License before you can plan those road trips on your new bike. First, you get your Learner License by writing a Class 6 Knowledge Test at the licensing bureau. Your Learners License allows you to ride your motorcycle but with limited access based on certain conditions, including:
- You must be 16 or older
- You must have another class of driver’s license
- You may ride only between the hours of sunrise and sunset
- You may not carry any passengers
- You may not exceed 60 km/h
Next, it’s always best to take an extended driving and safety course so you can build your skills and confidence before getting your Class 6. This can also help decrease your insurance premiums. Some important things to learn include:
- Traction control
- Speed control
- Emergency techniques
- Riding with a passenger
Experienced riders can take the course to help improve their skills and qualify for reduced insurance premiums when they get a motorcycle insurance quote.
2. Prepare your bike
Your bike should be ready for road use, so a quick check to make sure everything works is always a good idea before you head out. That includes your lights, horn, and signals. Your chain belt or shaft and brakes should also be checked. Make sure tire pressure is safe and look for signs of tire damage such as wear and tear. If anything looks suspicious, schedule a check with a motorcycle mechanic to run a diagnostic to confirm issues and make repairs.
3. Invest in protective gear
A t-shirt and jeans in the heat of the summer might seem more comfortable, but it won’t protect you in an accident. There’s a reason bikers are known for wearing leather. It provides protection when you hit the pavement or, worse, skid on the road. You can also avoid injury from things like flying rocks or a cigarette tossed from passing cars. When driving at night, you should also consider having a fluorescent vest to make yourself more visible to other drivers.
4. Choose a high-quality helmet
Of course, your helmet is vital. Without a helmet, you significantly increase your odds of serious injury and death. Your helmet should be the best you can afford, with a proper fit that is not too tight or loose. It should also provide excellent vision but still cover most of your head. Many people prefer a full-face helmet for comfort, perfect vision, and added protection.
5. Wear Appropriate Footwear
Even if you’re just making a quick run to the local store, always make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. Like your t-shirt and jeans, open-toed shoes or even runners will not provide the protection you need to avoid burns and operate your bike effectively. Sturdy shoes, or better yet boots with reinforced toes provide stability, friction, and protection you need.
6. No off-road cruising
While it might seem your motorcycle can take you anywhere, the more uneven the surface of your path, the more chance there is for accidents. Avoid leaving the pavement, even for paved or gravel shoulders, as this can cause you to lose control as the traction changes suddenly.
7. Keep your distance
Just like when driving a car, keep a safe distance from fellow drivers. It might seem convenient to zip between lanes when passing, but this is the best way to get into an accident.
Drivers are watching for cars and might not notice you weaving in and out of traffic or driving two abreast with a fellow biker. Follow the two-car distance rule, so you always have enough room to brake safely and use designated lanes properly when passing.
8. Give yourself room when passing
It can be tempting to zip in and out of traffic or even drive between lanes because you think you have enough space. However, bikers should give themselves almost twice as much room when passing.
Keep in mind motorcycles tend to be in car blind spots, so when passing, they often don’t see you. Always signal before proceeding, and make sure they see you before making a move.
Likewise, pay attention to car signals in front of you in case the driver is planning to change lanes as well. When passing slower traffic, watch for other drivers trying to do the same thing. Also, watch cars behind you as they need to slow down to let you pass.
9. Watch the weather
Weather can change with little warning, so watching the weather before you head out is a must. Summer driving is always the safest, but you can still encounter heavy rain or hail, which can be very dangerous.
Heading out too late in the season or too early in the spring puts you at risk of encountering icy conditions or snow. If you encounter a sudden storm, it’s wise to find a safe place to pull over until it passes. Wait a bit before proceeding, as even a quick spurt of heavy rain can bring residue to the road surface that makes it even slipperier.
10. Watch for road hazards
From debris in the road to bumps and potholes, paying close attention to what’s ahead can help you avoid losing control. Sand, pebbles, and wet leaves are other potential hazards that can put you at risk. Keeping an eye on what’s coming allows you to slow down safely. If the road passes over railway tracks, approach them at a right angle, so you reduce skidding.
11. Get motorcycle insurance
Of course, you can’t drive your motorcycle without proper insurance. Get motorcycle insurance quotes to find the best premiums and coverage possible. These tips will help you enjoy your rides and reduce the risk of accidents and protect you if one does occur.
Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy.