Driving a Motorcycle: Expert Safety Tips

Be safe and be smart with these top tips from your fellow motorcyclists and safety experts:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice!
    Brush up on your safety drills and skills learned in your safety course. Practice emergency braking and swerving.

    “Practice in empty parking lots and quiet side streets until you are very comfortable before going out in traffic,” says Ron Arieli, president and owner of T.E.A.M. Arizona Motorcyclist Training Centers.

  2. Watch the Road.
    Road hazards that are minor irritations for an automobile can be a major hazard for a rider. Hazards include potholes, oil slicks, puddles, debris or other objects on the roadway, ruts, uneven pavement, and railroad tracks. – NHTSA
  3. You’re Invisible.
    “Imagine every time you sit on your bike, you become invisible,” says Dean Akey, Allstate insurance agent and founder and president of Rescue Riders. “Even if you’re at an intersection and they’re waving you through, never assume that they can see you because you’re invisible!”

    We’ll say it again (this tip was the one we heard most often!!): Take ownership of yourself and your bike. “Being on a motorcycle isn’t about watching the scenery, it’s about being a part of it,” says Jack Skates, founder of North Bay Sport Riders in California.

  4. Where to Ride.
    “Usually they say to ride in the left wheel track in a lane so that the person in the car in front of you can see you,” says Ken Weissblum, New York Scooter Club member. “If you see traffic merging or someone taking a left turn, sometimes merging to the right wheel track can be a better position. Also, I pay attention to the front tires of cars – you can see when they’re turned towards you”
  5. Know Your Risks.
    “80 to 90 percent of collisions happen when a car makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle that’s going straight and the driver of the car simply just didn’t see the motorcycle,” says Thom D’Angelo of Motosport brokerage. Anticipate these risks at intersections and look ahead.
  6. Slow Down and Be Smart.
    “Most motorcyclists are injured through falls which are frequently the result of careless mistakes such as speeding or by making poor choices such as driving too fast in bad weather,” Dave Mannato, sales agent at the Matador Insurance Agency, Latham, NY. “While injury levels widely vary, they almost always stem from careless mistakes or poor judgment.”

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The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.

Last Updated: 5/2009