Whether you are a beginner or an experienced motorcycle rider, this article will discuss common mistakes motorcyclists tend to make. Nobody is immune to being motorcycle-naïve, so let’s explore these mistakes and learn how to avoid a motorcycle crash.
Mistake #1: Underestimating the Importance of Lessons
Even if you have prior motorcycle experience, taking a beginner’s motorcycle class and safety course is still valuable. These courses not only enhance your knowledge about riding, but they can also lead to insurance discounts.
What to Expect from Your Class:
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of taking a class. Depending on the type, it may be a one-day session or spread out over a few days. Check the course information in advance to coordinate your schedule accordingly. You might also need to study a motorcycle rider’s handbook before the class, so knowing any prerequisites is helpful.
A comprehensive class usually consists of both a classroom portion and a road skills portion. After all, what’s the point of a motorcycle class if you don’t get to ride? The road skills portion prepares you for the driving test and ensures you can hit the road.
The local DMV will test the skills you’ll learn. Expect to practice braking, accelerating, shifting gears, navigating around obstacles, U-turns, and changing lanes. Throughout the class, you might discover if your chosen motorcycle suits you. Some participants end up opting for a lighter-style bike.
Mistake #2: Inadequate Riding Gear
When riding a motorcycle, prioritizing protective gear is essential. Different states have specific legal requirements for motorcycle rider helmets, face shields, and eye protection.
While safety gear might not be the most fashionable choice, it plays a vital role in safeguarding you on the road.
We’ve all seen riders wearing shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops, seemingly invincible as they cruise by. But the reality is that the asphalt can cause severe harm, especially to unprotected motorcycle riders.
Leather, often associated with bikers, serves as a safety measure. Wearing leather apparel adds an extra layer of protection during an accident versus regular clothing. Consider how much wear and tear leather boots endure and how long they last.
Most motorcycle leather gear is designed for easy removal, so you can wear it exclusively while riding and minimize the risk of injury.
If the weather is too hot for proper riding gear, it might be a sign that it’s too hot to ride.
Mistake #3: Applying Car Driving Habits to Riding
Riding a motorcycle is fundamentally different from driving a car. While both car drivers and motorcycle riders must follow traffic laws, the level of vulnerability on the road is significantly higher for riders.
Drivers expect to see cars in their mirrors or when they check their blind spots. Because of a motorcycle’s low profile, they often won’t see you.
Without the protection of a passenger cage, always assume that other drivers don’t see you. Even if you have the right of way, a motorcycle rider will always lose a battle versus any car.
As a rider, you need to be exceptionally alert and thoroughly check all directions before entering intersections or leaving parking lots.
Mistake #4: Taking Turns Too Fast
When it comes to taking turns on a motorcycle, there are two common mistakes that lead to accidents:
- Entering a curve too fast, resulting in sliding off the road and crashing into something.
- Braking hard while turning, causing the wheel to lock and resulting in sliding off the road and crashing.
To avoid these situations, it’s essential to slow down for turns until you become familiar with your motorcycle’s cornering limits.
If you find that you can’t make the turn at the speed and lean angle you started with; you can gently lean the bike over a bit more to navigate the turn smoothly.
The key is to execute the maneuver smoothly and gradually.
Mistake #5: Relying on a Single Brake
Motorcycles are equipped with front and rear brakes; using them together provides optimal stopping power. However, many beginners accustomed to driving cars tend to rely solely on the rear brake.
This significantly reduces stopping power and can lead to skidding or accidents. Using both brakes simultaneously is crucial for smoother and more controlled stops.
If you accidentally apply too much pressure to the rear brake and start skidding, it’s best to try to regain control rather than abruptly releasing the brake.
By releasing the brake suddenly, you lose the stopping power, and the sudden release can cause the wheel to regain momentum and potentially throw you off the bike.
Similarly, avoid hovering your hands over the front brake lever, as it may lead to sudden and harsh grabbing in panic situations. Maintain a firm grip on the handlebars while riding and use the brakes appropriately.
Mistake #6: Riding with Worn Tires
When it comes to motorcycles, riding with worn or completely bald tires is a dangerous mistake. Unlike cars, where three good tires can support a bad tire temporarily, motorcycle tires are much less forgiving and require immediate replacement.
Motorcycle tire cupping is a common issue caused by a number of factors.
Most tires have tread wear indicators located at the base of the main grooves, evenly spaced around the tire. These indicators appear as narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread when the tires have reached the wear point.
Another easy method to check tread depth is the penny test. Place a penny upside down in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the tread does not cover any part of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tires.
Why are tires so crucial? Well, your safety depends on them. Tires provide traction for acceleration, braking, and turning and contribute to suspension by absorbing the impact of uneven road surfaces.
Being aware of these 6 common mistakes as well as taking the necessary precautions can enhance your safety and enjoyment while riding your motorcycle.
Always prioritize lessons as well as advice from veteran motorcycle riders, wear proper gear, be cautious, know your motorcycle’s limits and capabilities, and practice responsible riding techniques.
Even if you follow every precaution and maintain awareness while driving your motorcycle, accidents can still occur.
If you find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident, be sure to seek legal counsel to protect your rights.