Motorbiking is an activity that is exhilarating and nerve-racking at the same time. Most people take it up as a hobby, while some enjoy it as a professional sport. In both cases, it's important to dress appropriately and observe safety rules. Even the most experienced riders get involved in accidents. No matter how small or big the city you live in, there are high chances that there will be places where you can practice your riding skills. Apart from that, there are regularly organised social gatherings for riders to meet new people who share their interests.
If you have just bought your first motorbike and are thinking of joining one of these social gatherings or maybe even starting a local club, then read on to learn more about motorbike safety tips for beginners.
Understand the Risks
Before you start riding a motorbike, you should understand the risks involved. The most common risk associated with motorbiking is falling off the bike.
Since it is an outdoor activity, you never know when you might hit a pothole or lose control of your bike. If you are a beginner riding on the freeway, watch out for other vehicles. Always keep your eye on the vehicle ahead and behind you to prevent a collision. Also, ensure you wear the proper riding gear to protect you in case you fall off your bike.
Most riders can attest to the fact that riding a motorbike is more dangerous than a car. Therefore, always ensure you drive slow and take it easy on turns to avoid skidding off the road.
Always Wear Proper Riding Gear
The key to staying safe while on the road is to wear the proper protective gear.
Aside from thick denim pants, long sleeves and boots, the most important piece you should be wearing is a helmet. There are many types of helmets available in the market for you to choose from, depending on your style and comfort.
You should also ensure the helmet fits you properly because if it does not, it will not protect you. Many stores that sell helmets have experienced staff to help you choose the right one. As far as safety is concerned, always ensure that the type you purchase has a proper seal on the inside to protect your head from injury. However, if you are buying a used helmet, make sure it is not old and has not been in a crash. This is because those will not protect you due to the possibility of malfunction.
Watch Out for Road Conditions
While riding your motorbike, you should always be aware of your surroundings. If you are on a busy road, make sure you are riding at a safe distance from the car in front of you. If you see any potholes on the road, make sure you slow down or change lanes to avoid them.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast to avoid riding your motorbike during monsoon season when the roads are most likely to be flooded. If you have to go out during that time, beware of the poor visual clarity of most drivers due to the heavy rains and moisture.
You should also be on the lookout for drivers breaking traffic rules or drunk drivers. Make sure you wear reflective gear, especially a fluorescent jacket or belt, so that such drivers can see you better.
Stay in Control of Your Bike at All Times
Riding your motorbike is about more than just keeping your eyes on the road. You have to be in control of your body too. So keep your knees pressed against the gas and clutch your feet on the foot pegs.
Avoid resting your feet on the footrests as they are meant for your break and shifting gears. If you are riding your motorbike in a group, ensure you are not riding too close to the others as you might hit them.
One of the most important aspects of riding a motorbike is having enough practice. The more you ride, the more confident you will be in handling your bike. So make sure you are practising on a road that is not too busy to increase your focus and enjoy the ride.
Don't Forget to Use Your Brakes
Braking is one of the most important aspects of riding any motor vehicle. Always remember to use your brakes even if you are going downhill. It is better to slow down gradually than speed up and suddenly hit the brakes.
Sometimes you may have to hit the brakes a bit hard to stop in time. Do so with caution to avoid injuring yourself in the process.
Take a Riding Lesson
If you have been riding your motorbike for some time now and are still not confident about your riding skills, consider taking a riding lesson. Go for beginner lessons to polish your skills and learn how to ride a motorbike safely.
Riding schools also conduct group riding lessons where you can meet new people and exchange tips. Of course, if you want to go solo, you can always sign up for an online course and learn to ride at home.
With this in mind, getting some insurance cover for your bike isn’t a bad option. You should do the same if you have a vehicle by making a car insurance comparison. There is no such thing as being too cautious regarding safety.
Go for Quality Jackets and Gloves
A quality riding jacket will have an outer layer of synthetic or genuine leather/denim that is thick and impact resistant. It will also have an inner fleece layer that will keep you warm and snug in the cooler months and a breathable mesh layer for the summer months.
Good jackets will also have removable armour for the shoulders and elbows to protect you from injuries in case of an accident. The gloves should also be made of quality fabric and have the same armor protection for the wrists as the jacket.
Additionally, a good pair of gloves should have a sturdy grip so you can firmly hold on to the handlebar.
Check if the Bike Is Steady When at Idle
A sure sign of a well-maintained motorbike is that it is steady when idle. However, if your bike is shaky, you might want to seek help from an expert. Also, if you hear a strange sound coming from the engine, it is a good idea to get your bike checked by a mechanic to rule out any faults.
Do the same for your brakes and tires before hitting the road. When checking the tires, ensure they are inflated to the correct pressure. This will help you steer the bike better and prevent overheating.
Motorbiking is a thrilling activity that many people love. However, accident risks are always high when you’re not taking any precautionary measures. While you don’t need to be a pro to ride a motorbike, you should never forget to wear your riding gear, stay alert to your surroundings and use your breaks if needed.
You must always ride at the right speed and watch out for other motorists. It may appear challenging at first, but once you understand the basics, it becomes second nature almost immediately.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Content Creator / Editor
Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the motorbiking adventure space, focussing on all types of biking both on and offroad. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.