Taking time to check your equipment and hone your skills is important when getting behind the wheel or atop a bicycle, but it is especially important when riding a motorcycle because of the speed involved and vulnerability of the rider. With a long winter break both bike and rider need to ease onto the road once again. Be sure to avoid fatigue and stay sharp on your motorcycle.

Traffic Services Top 10 Motorcycle Safety Tips:

  1. Take a course: It’s important for you to learn how to safely drive a motorcycle and to be evaluated by an instructor. Your skill set will develop as you learn to control the motorcycle; the motorcycle shouldn’t control you.
  2. Make sure you have proper riding gear: A helmet is required by law, but riders should also think of wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants, ankle boots and a jacket (even when it’s hot outside). Riding in the sun constantly drains you, and we should think about reducing road rash in case of a fall.
  3. Make yourself visible: Many collisions are caused by a motor-vehicle turning into the path of a motorcycle driver. You want other drivers to see you. Wear a reflective vest or contrasting colours and continually try to make eye contact with drivers to be sure that they’re aware of you.
  4. Slow down: Most fatal collisions are caused by excessive speed. Motorcycles are unstable vehicles and they have a limited grip on the road. You don’t want to lose control with excessive speed, especially around a turn.
  5. Don’t ride impaired: You shouldn’t ride a motorcycle or drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol or consuming drugs, and you shouldn’t ride when you’re tired. You need 100 per cent of your attention and focus when operating a motorcycle.
  6. Ride with a buddy: Riding with friends allows you to occupy a full lane; this practice increases your visibility and you can keep an eye on one another if something goes wrong.
  7. Make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained: Check your vehicle frequently for general maintenance and problems. Tire pressure is especially important. The contact patches of your tires are about the size of a footprint. This small area is all that keeps you on the road and any problems with tire pressure can be dangerous.
  8. Communicate with other drivers: Attempt to make eye contact with other drivers, making sure they’re aware of you and your movements. Consider using hand signals prior to turning or changing lanes as indicator lights on motorcycles are very small. Also, if you’re comfortable with a specific group of cars, stay with them.
  9. Scan the road: Many collisions are caused when cars turn into the path of motorcycles or come out of driveways. If you’re aware of what’s happening around you, you can avoid dangerous situations. Your head should be moving, checking your mirrors, and your eyes constantly scanning the road when riding on a motorcycle.
  10. Refresh your skills: No matter how long you have been riding, you will be rusty after a few months. Your skills and association with a motorcycle deteriorate quickly when not riding, even for a short period of time. Take a refresher course if it’s been a while since you’ve ridden. Ask yourself, can I improve? Am I the best and safest driver I can be?