The decision to start riding a motorcycle comes at a different time for everybody.
For some, they’re introduced by their parents at a young age. For others, they pick it up when they’re older.
Whenever you decide to start riding, it’s a big decision and not to be taken lightly.
Here are some useful tips to consider as you make your decision!
1) Take a class
If you are an adult beginner, one of the first things you should consider is taking a Motorcycle Training Course, which is administered by CHP’s California Motorcyclist Safety Program.
For a small price, the course offers 15 hours of the best motorcycle education money can buy. The class includes:
- Five hours of classroom instruction
- 10 hours of riding instruction
The course is mandatory for riders under 21, but not if you’re over 21. However, it is highly recommended, no matter your age, if you are seeking to obtain any form of motorcycle endorsement on your license.
As of 2016, over 1,000,000 riders in California have benefited from this course, which began in 1987.
2) Meditate over the decision
The only person who can decide if you’re ready to ride is you.
Motorcycle riding strikes a chord for virtually all people. Everyone either knows someone who rides, rides themselves, or frequently sees riders on the road.
If you’re considering a motorcycle, you are bound to get advice from anyone you talk to about it. Everybody has a motorcycle story they want to share with you, and you should welcome their stories… with a grain of salt.
You need to be smart about this decision.
- Are you responsible?
- Do you value your life?
- Do you understand the dangers?
- Do you have respect for the road?
These are just a few questions you should ask yourself before you get on a motorcycle. Remember, crashing on a motorcycle is very different from crashing in a car. There is no metal box protecting you from the elements! Just whatever you decide to put on your body.
3) Research and invest in gear
All the gear, all the time.
One of the oldest debates in motorcycle culture is what protective gear to wear and when to wear it.
In the state of California, helmets are mandatory, however, there are many safety items that will save your body (and your life) from a dramatic injury that are not mandatory, including:
- Ankle boots
If you do decide to purchase a motorcycle jacket, we recommend getting one that has reflective material. This will help cars see you at night.
4) Preparation, preparation, preparation!
According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, motorcycle riders are most at risk of going down during their first 30 days of riding.
It is essential to your safety that you take it slow and proceed with caution in your first month!
Most of these first-month accidents are a result of lack of preparation.
Taking a safety course, wearing proper gear, and obeying traffic laws are critical elements of having a successful first month of riding!
5) Make sure you’re in the right mindset
Nothing is more important than being in the right mindset to ride.
You must be extremely alert and on your game, when you’re on your motorcycle. Failing to be in the right mindset could result in a bad accident, or worse, a fatality.
Sometimes it is difficult to gauge your own mindset. Some key indicators of being in the wrong mindset are:
- Fight with a friend or family member
- Haven’t eaten or lacking energy
- Bad day at work
- Didn’t get enough sleep
These are just a few factors you must always be wary of when getting ready to ride. Any distraction could lead to your final reaction.
The motorcycle is not a place to blow off steam – it’s a powerful machine which, if operated safely, will be the greatest ride of your life, every time!
6) Know the different parts of your motorcycle
With a car, you can get away with bringing it into the shop for a tune-up every 3,000 miles (and nowadays, many more miles than that). But with a motorcycle, you must do regular checks and maintenance on a regular basis.
- Tire pressure is extremely important and must be maintained weekly to bi-weekly. The last thing you need is a flat tire on the freeway!
- Brakes are also very critical. Motorcycle braking systems have become much more reliable and advanced, but they still need regular checking.
- The battery on a motorcycle can make or break your ride. Most bikes don’t have a place to store an extra battery, so make sure you’re charged up before you ride or you’ll be calling for a tow before you know it!
- Maintaining your chain or belt is crucial. Always use proper lubricant and make sure to bring your bike in for regular full tune-ups, every few thousand miles!
These are just a few of the many parts that need regular tending to if you want to ensure a safe ride every time.
Take out the mechanical error element, and you’re on your way to a great ride!
7) Respect passenger car drivers, and always acknowledge other motorcyclists
Motorcycle culture has many unwritten rules, but the most important one is remembering to always acknowledge your fellow riders on the road.
8) A simple hand wave goes a long way
If you see another rider stopped on the side of the road, don’t hesitate to check if they are OK. You never know when you’ll need to collect that good karma yourself.
Just as important is your ability to respect passenger car drivers.
As you lane-split, pass, and interact with drivers, always remain respectful. Remember, most people behind a wheel are distracted by something, it’s up to you to remain vigilant!
9) Be prepared for the worst
However, if something does happen on the road, it is extremely important that you obtain legal representation.
Motorcycle accidents are sometimes treated with a certain stigma, and you need someone in your corner who will stop at nothing to fight big business insurance companies; who will try to withhold compensation from you and your family.
Our team of legal experts is available 24/7, 365 to take your call.
Don’t delay, call Wilshire Law Firm today!