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How to Ride a Motorcycle for Max Safety and Speed
Posted on 3/22/2019 10:18:57 AM

The unfortunate reality that every motorcycle enthusiast faces is that motorcycles are more dangerous to dive than conventional vehicles. Due to the nature of riding a motorcycle, you’re more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than a car crash. While this doesn’t mean you need to trade in your bike for a sedan, there are some important tips to know and gear that can help keep you safe on the road.

Begin with the Right Gear

The gear you wear while on your bike isn’t just for looks, though that is undoubtedly part of its appeal. It also helps keep you protected. For example:

  • A high quality helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment for a biker’s safety. According to Injury Facts, helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries for bikers, and that number increases to 41% for passengers. So, even if you aren’t required by law to wear a helmet in your state, you should wear one anyway for your safety.
    • Full coverage helmets offer the most protection. When buying a helmet, look for a seal or description that asserts the helmet meets standards set by the DOT for safety. Helmets shouldn’t be used after they’ve been worn in a crash, so you should replace your helmet after a crash and avoid or be cautious of buying used helmets.
  • A road-ready leather jacket keeps you warm and protects your body, especially in slides. Leather is abrasion- and sharp-object-resistant, which is in part why it’s been a popular choice for personal protective apparel for more than 2000 years.
  • Leather gloves keep your hands protected year-round and warm in colder weather.
  • To complete the leather look, you’ll need leather pants, chaps or overpants. Regular pants or jeans don’t offer the same strength and protection as leather pants or motorcycle jeans, which are designed to help protect riders in accidents.
  • Heavy duty boots keep your feet protected while you ride and in the event of an accident. It’s important to get boots that cover your ankles in order to properly protect you while on your bike.

Let Your Body Follow Your Eyes

 The right body position is key for riding a bike safely and intuitively. While on your bike, if you lead with your eyes and shoulders, your body and bike will follow. Your body is prone to follow wherever your head and shoulders lead, so make sure you’re aligned with the road, sitting straight and centered.

 Never Brake During a Turn

 Every motorcycle rider should know that you shouldn’t brake while turning, as this can cause skidding or, worse, a crash. If you’re approaching a turn and need to reduce your speed, brake before entering the turn, while you’re still riding in a straight line, and then coast through the turn; don’t accelerate.

Use the Back Brakes

While in general you should avoid using the brakes during a turn, the back brake can help you control your speed in a pinch. If you’re going too fast through a turn, applying the rear brake lightly can help you curb your speed safely. Using the front brake, conversely, could cause weight to transfer into the front tire and possibly result in a crash.

Drive Defensively in Traffic

 It’s important to drive defensively as a motorcycle rider. You can’t always count on other motorists to see you, so you should drive in a way that helps them be aware of your presence, including using headlights both day and night. As always, no matter what you’re riding or driving, be courteous and respectful on the road.

Learning How Riding a Harley Is Different

For the most part, riding a Harley is different than riding other motorcycle models. For instance, Harleys typically offer less ground clearance than sport or adventure motorcycles. Cruisers sit closer to the ground and sometimes have floorboards, which stick out further than than the footpegs you’ll find on other bikes. Touring Harleys have a heel and toe shifter for changing gears, which can take some getting used to if you’ve not ridden a bike with this setup before. Because Harleys are heavier than sportbikes, it’s important to balance the front and back brake when braking in order to keep the weight of the bike stable.

Regardless of the bike you’re on, it’s important to be a safe rider so you can enjoy your motorcycle for years to come.

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