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Riding And Safety Tips


Veteran Member
Pre-ride checklist
On a daily basis these are suggested steps before you ride.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) methodology for inspection is T-CLOCK. Tires, Controls, Lights, and Electrics, Oils, and Fluids, Chassis and Chain and Kickstand. Nine good inspection points include:

1. Tire(s) condition and pressure
2. Brakes condition and fluid levels
3. Suspension adjustment(s) - air pressure, or whatever
4. Cable(s) conditions, including clutch, etc.
5. Oil, primary case, transmission, etc... ALL fluid levels
6. Headlights and other lights - have spare bulbs/fuses, etc.
7. Windshield cleanliness/trans lucidity
8. Operation of ALL controls
9. Loading of bike and positioning of such load.

How to plan trips
Motorcycle Safety Foundation Top 10
Elisabeth Piper, Director of Corporate Affairs for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, has established her top 10 list as a guideline for trip taking:

1. Plan your route, mark it on the map.
2. Let a friend know your route and expected arrival times at planned locations.
3. Know the traffic and safety laws of any state you are riding in.
4. Call ahead for any road construction areas etc. on your planned route. Make hotel reservations in advance.
5. Check the weather report for the days of your trip.
6. Pack an emergency first-aid kit, a cell phone, etc. Remember the load triangle rule when packing materials on a motorcycle.
7. Appropriate protective riding gear (helmet, eye protection, jacket, long pants, full-fingered gloves, and sturdy over the ankle boots).
8. Also pack rain gear, extra layers for warmth if needed and clear face-shields for nighttime riding.
9. Most importantly, rider condition (level of fitness for a long ride, a good nights sleep prior to and during the ride, do not ride while impaired by alcohol, prescriptions drugs, over-the-counter medication or illegal drugs.)

Did you know?
Night Riding
From the Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Quite often you'll have to ride at night. After all, it is dark 50 percent of the time.

Dusk is really the worst time, when people's eyes are adjusting from daylight to headlights. Be especially careful just after sunset.

Usually it is advisable to slow down a little when riding at night, especially on nay sort of winding road.

Use your own headlight and those of other traffic to keep an eye on the road surface. It is more difficult at night to see the patch of sand or something that fell out of a pickup. The distance between you and the vehicle in front becomes even more important at night. Give yourself room to react.

Wear a clear face shield without scratches. A scratched shield can create light refractions that might confuse you; two headlights can look like four and you don't know who is coming from where. One of your biggest hazards at night may be a "who" coming from a few hours of drinking. Be especially alert for drivers and vehicles doing odd things, like weaving in and out of traffic, and give them lots of room.

Steel Bridged Gratings and Rain Grooves
From the Motorcycle Safety Foundation

Steel-mesh bridges can be externally unnerving, (like the Wilson Bridge). Keep an even throttle and keep the bike straight. Don't grip the handlebars too hard. If there is a vibration in the handlebars, do not fight it. This is a natural feedback from your timers going over these thousands of little squares.

Some parts of the country have rain grooves in the highway. They're not very popular among motorcyclist. This is when the road surface, usually concrete, has several dozen grooves running lengthwise down each lane. The purpose of the groves is to prevent cars and trucks from losing traction when it rains.

The reaction of the bike to these grooves often has to do with the tread pattern on the tires. Sometimes it feels as though the motorcycle is getting a flat tire, with a squishy back-and-forth sideways motion. Don't worry, just keep going straight. don't fight the handlebars. There is nothing dangerous about these rain grooves it just feels funny to ride on them.

Carrying a Passenger
From the Motorcycle Safety Foundation

Company is always nice, Some company weighs 100 pounds, other company weights 200 pounds. Putting extra weight on the motorcycle will affect the handling. Adjust your suspension and tire pressures to compensate for the amount of company you've brought along. (Check your owner's manual.) Also realize that your braking capabilities have changed; take that into account. The more weight you have on the motorcycle, the longer it takes to stop.

Passengers should be instructed to always mount from he same side, and to warn you before thy climb on. This goes a long way to preventing a muddled heap laying on the ground.

Passengers need the same protection that you do - proper clothes and helmet. Ten-foot scarves flapping in the wind may look dashing, but not on a motorcycle. You don't want shoe laces or loose pants legs catching on rear wheel or chain parts.

Never carry anyone sidesaddle. Passengers should always straddle the bike with their feet secretly planted on the footrests. Tell passengers not to put a foot down when you come to a stop. Show them where the hot things are - like header pipes and mufflers. Caution passengers against coming in contact with the hot parts to prevent any injuries. Also, rubber soles can melt leaving a mess.

Instruct passengers to hold onto you at your waist or hips. Ask them to lean forward slightly when you leave from a stop or accelerate along the highway.

Also, When you break, passengers, should be firmly braced against your waist and should lean back slightly. You don't want their weight to shift forward.

Advise passengers not to lean unless you do. You do not want the person behind hanging off the bike at 30 degrees; that will do funny things to the steering. However, when you lean going around a corner, passenger should definitely lean as well. So have them look over your shoulder in the direction of the turn when you go through a corner' that will put the weight where you want it.
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Passengers should also be instructed to look up the road you are going. WHY? Because, just as important as the rider to look where he/she wants the bike to go, the passenger will be off-balance for this direction if they are leaf-gawking elsewhere, and their internal balance will be set in that direction; henceforth, the "trying to straighten up the bike" feeling, the other thing being fear: NEVER scare a new rider. How may gals have said, "Never again"?

Smaller tricks like RR get the overall picture of the terrain, and then shoot for the point where the steel disappears into the pavement. At this point, the track is level with the asphalt.
Helmet brims assist evening rides into the sun.
Trying to steer around a deer when you know you will hit it will cause you to go down every time. Panic brake straight into the animal and merely lose a headlight or some plastic. You will hit at a MUCH lower speed.
PRACTICE panic stops until you can almost lock up both tires without skidding. I can't emphasize the FACT that only a couple percent of riders can actually stop their bikes quickly; the rest all lock up the rear wheel and do a slide-out, by overbraking from lack of practiced skills. This is probably your most important practice, even if you've done the Ride Like A Pro course.
Occasionally work the stripes in a parking lot. Skills deteriorate quickly and if you can't turn your bike around in about 18', with feet on the pegs, you cannot control your bike; it is controlling YOU.
As the riding season is upon us especially in the cold weather states.
Never is a bad thing to review safety techniques....
Absolutely right...always good to keep safety techniques fresh in your mind, you never know when you'll be called on to use them, to avoid a potentially horrid situation. Ride safe!