You can’t control everything, but if you’re talking motorcycle safety, it’s crucial that you control what you can. On the road, you’ll face many potential hazards, from low-traction obstacles to aloof motorists merging into your lane without even knowing you’re there. The potential for an accident is high if you don’t treat safety as your most important concern. If you’re a motorcycle owner, you’ve probably gone through the motorcycle riding course. But the elements of safety besides riding can be almost equally important. Here at American Harley-Davidson®, we want to make sure every rider who comes through our doors is set up for safety.
That’s why we created this brief guide to help remind riders of the elements of safety that they might not always think about.
If you have more questions or you need riding gear, stop by our Tonawanda dealership and showroom today. We proudly serve Buffalo, Lockport, Niagara Falls, Batavia, and Rochester, New York.
Inspect Your Bike
When you climb up on a motorcycle, you’re trusting your life to just a few very important parts. When you consider the stakes, it’s pretty clear that you should take a few minutes to inspect before you take a ride. Start with the tires, making sure they’re correctly inflated. They should be wearing down evenly and there shouldn’t be in foreign object stuck in the tread. Check the brake fluid, oil, and coolant, if the bike is liquid cooled. Look at the brake lights, headlight, and turn signal, too. Once you get rolling, ride slow for a minute and test out the brakes and throttle. Make sure the brakes engage smoothly and don’t vibrate. The throttle should open up without trouble and should snap back closed when disengaged.
Invest in Good Gear
The gear you use on your bike will make a big difference in how you ride. Quality gear will keep you warm and dry without making you overheated, and it will provide a layer of protection against the road should you crash. Motorcycle riding gear starts with a quality helmet. No matter what type of helmet you choose, make sure it’s certified by an independent testing agency such as Snell or DOT. On the ground, you’ll want some sturdy boots. These will give you a sturdy foundation when you pull up to a stop light, and they’ll also protect your feet from any road debris that might get kicked up. For commuters and touring riders, a single piece riding suit provides all-around protection from rain, wind, and road spray. Remember that any uncovered skin will get cold quickly due to the fast-moving air while you ride, so invest in some quality gloves, some neck protection, and long enough socks to cover the gap between your pants and boots.
Watch the Weather
Nothing puts an end to a ride faster than a hard turn of the weather. Checking the weather before you ride will help you know what type of gear you need to pack and whether it’s smart to ride at all. Keep an eye out for any chance of precipitation as well as cold weather conditions. Of course, it’s not just rain and cold that present dangers to the rider. Extremely hot weather can be equally dangerous. Riding gear can cause you to retain heat, making heat stroke and dehydration a serious possibility. For commuters, it’s not always possible to avoid riding in the rain or less-than-perfect weather. For these riders, rainproof gear is key. On top of that, a windshield and a rainproof helmet can make a big difference in riding safety.
A major part of motorcycle safety is staying focused while you ride. Several elements go into how focused you are. If you’re extremely tired or emotionally distraught, you might not be able to keep your focus on all the conditions around you. Consuming alcohol or drugs before you ride is another way to make you distracted and unable to ride safely. Even simple complacency can ruin your focus. The human mind can get used to just about anything, including the sensation of riding. As you ride more, you’ll probably start to lose that edge that allowed you to keep tight focus on the road when you first started riding. It’s important to keep in mind that just because you feel more comfortable on your bike doesn’t mean there are no longer dangers to riding.
If you need riding gear, accessories for your bike, or parts and repairs, stop by American Harley-Davidson® in Tonawanda, New York. We proudly serve the areas of Lockport, Niagara Falls, Batavia, and Rochester, and we’ll help you make sure your bike is in safe riding condition.