Ask any seasoned motorcycle rider and they'll agree: there's nothing that compares to the freedom of riding your bike on the open roads. Owning a motorcycle will allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of mother nature in a more personal manner, while still providing plenty of power to get to your destination. But if you're going to buy a motorcycle, you need to familiarize yourself with some basic safety tips.
Wear a Helmet
Let's first go ahead and discuss the most obvious safety tips: wear a helmet. Whether the state in which you are riding requires them or not, it's always a smart idea to wear a helmet. It servers as a barrier of protection between the road and your noggin', protecting your head from traumatic, potentially life-threatening injury.
According to a study conducted by the University of Southern California, wearing a helmet is the single most critical factor in preventing and reducing head/neck injuries among motorcycle riders During any given year, it's believed that helmets have saved the lives of more than 7,400 motorcyclists, so don't get on the road without one!
When choosing a motorcycle, look for a model with antilock brakes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Antilock brakes work by preventing the brakes from locking. This is particularly important for motorcycles, as locked brakes at high speeds often results in a loss of control, causing the rider to turn sideways and eventually crash.
Brush Up on Your Riding Skills
If you're new to the motorcycle scene, you may want to take a riding course near your area. There are hundreds of motorcycle “schools” that will teach you everything from starting a motorcycle, to riding, slowing, braking and coming to a stop. And don't assume these courses are expensive, either. While prices vary, most range anywhere from free (yes, there are free motorcycle training courses) to $400 bucks.
A helmet isn't the only piece of motorcycle gear that you should consider wearing. When dressing for a long road, choose clothing that's thick and well insulated. Proper motorcycle riding gear will protect against injury in the event of a crash, as well as the sun, bugs, wind, and rain. A leather jacket is always an excellent choice, as it's both comfortable and durable – two key qualities in motorcycle apparel.