Riding Safely on a Motorcycle
Riding Safely on a Motorcycle
To ride a motorcycle is to feel freedom on the road. For many of us, mounting a saddle supported by just two wheels is the first time we’ve ever felt such a sense of independence, but all that autonomy comes with a price. Namely, motorcycles aren’t designed for optimum safety. There aren’t any airbags, crumple zones, or seatbelts, so instead, the responsibility for protecting your body falls on your own preparation. Thankfully, learning to ride a motorcycle safely isn’t hard, so this brief guide will give you some of the basic considerations you’ll need to keep in mind before every ride. However, remember that this guide doesn’t substitute for a rider’s safety course. Instead, we just want to give you a few tips so you can be more confident next time you hit the road. If you have any further questions, come on in and ask us at Bergen County Harley-Davidson®. We’re in Rochelle Park, near Clifton, Hackensack, Newark, Ridgewood, and Paterson, New Jersey.
Pay Attention to Weather Reports
No matter what the current season is, you should always consider the potential hazards of riding in different types of weather. If you ride unprepared during extreme heat, you could run the risk of heatstroke or dehydration. Rain and cold weather, on the other hand, can decrease your visibility, create dangerous road conditions, and potentially lead to hypothermia, if you don’t dress appropriately. Luckily for us, we get a pretty balanced diet of each of these weather patterns here in New Jersey. That means you’ll need to be prepared for each type of condition. Check the weather report before every ride, even if it’s the middle of the summer and you think you can count on sun. When the weather’s hot, make sure you bring plenty of water, and conversely, wear extra layers when you’ll be facing cold or stormy conditions.
Checking Major Components
Before actually getting on the road, you should also take a look at all your bike’s major components. Remember that Harley-Davidson® motorcycles are much smaller than cars, which means that even one little damaged part could lead to a catastrophic accident. Make sure you’re looking at your brakes. You can hop on your bike, ride around slowly for a couple of minutes, and simply listen for any grinding or uneven braking. Also, look at the tires. These are extremely important since one blowout will cause you to lose control. You can get a tire pressure gauge to check the tire pressure, but also inspect the tread for wear, the sidewall for punctures and bulges, and the rest of the tire for tears or gaps. Finally, check your fluids as well. Your oil should be topped off, and if it’s too dark or thick, make sure you replace it right away.
Last of all, make sure you get the right equipment when you’re riding. Like we mentioned earlier, you should wear layers when it’s cold, but you’ll also need to suit up with motorcycle gear during the warmer weather. Remember that you don’t have airbags, so if you turn your bike over while riding, there won’t be anything to protect you other than your clothing. With a good motorcycle jacket, the sleeves and torso are reinforced with padding, which guards your body from road rash and can muffle the impact of the road. Gloves are great too, as these help you maintain your grip when your hands get sweaty. Finally, a helmet is indispensable when riding a motorcycle. If you don’t wear any of the other gear we recommend, at least make sure to wear a helmet. These protect your head from severe injury, and, of course, it’s illegal to ride without one.
Riding a motorcycle safely is pretty simple, so follow this simple advice to prepare yourself properly for safer riding. At Bergen County Harley-Davidson®, we want everyone to ride safe, so ask our experts for advice anytime you have questions about riding safely. Our service department is also always here for you if you need repairs for safe riding, so stop by our dealership in Rochelle Park, New Jersey.