As a motorcyclist, I will be honest, it’s a lot of fun and a great way to travel on the cheap, but there are some dangers that new riders need to know about before they hop on their first motorcycle. Motorcycle safety is something that should always be at the forefront of a new rider’s mind.
In this article, we’ll go over 25 tips so you can enjoy your time riding without worrying or being unprepared for anything!
1. Practice in Empty Parking Lots
Since there isn’t a lot of motorcyclists out on the road, you should definitely start on an empty parking lot or driveway. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with your motorcycle and its controls without worrying about any traffic.
It’s also something that I recommend new riders do regularly; it’ll make you more familiar with your motorcycle and safer when on the street.
2. Practice Clutch Control
When you’re starting out, clutch control will be one of the most important things you learn. You can’t ride your motorcycle without it!
The clutch allows you to control how fast or slow you go, as well as allowing you to stop completely.
I highly recommend practicing using your clutch lever controls in an empty parking lot before hitting the highway for new motorcycle riders. Also, it’s a good idea to practice your clutch control in connection with stopping in a curve the correct way.
3. Leave your Phone at Home (or Off)
This may seem like something you wouldn’t want to do, but in reality, it’s one of the smartest things you can do on a motorcycle. The last thing you need when learning to ride is for your phone (or music) to distract you while riding.
Make sure that when you get on your motorcycle, all distractions are left at home or off.
You’ll learn much faster if you can avoid unnecessary distractions during each motorcycle ride.
4. Wait to Ride on Major Highways
This is probably the most important tip I can give to new riders. Avoid riding on major highways when you first start out; use smaller roads, where traffic isn’t as intense.
Allow yourself some time to get used to slow-moving traffic before hitting up a highway. Most motorcyclists will tell you that highways are the most predictable place to ride, and whilst it might be true it’s not the best for new riders.
As a first-time motorcyclist, you don’t learn anything sitting at 60 on a highway. And if you’re are involved in a motorcycle accident on a highway the consequences are so much worse…
5. Practice Turning Around
I know this sounds weird, but it’s really good advice I got from more experienced riders! Practice slowly turning your motorcycle correctly.
You never know if something will be in your way or if another vehicle cuts you off – practice turning around so that you’ll be better prepared for any emergencies that may arise while riding.
Use an empty car park or even just drive into a dead-end street and turn around to prepare yourself for anything.
6. Ride at your own Pace
The one thing you should remember whenever you get on your motorcycle is to take it easy. There’s no reason to rush or push anything; riding a motorcycle isn’t easy, so it’s best not to overdo it when you first start out.
When it comes to motorcycle safety, riding your ride is key.
Practice and learn your motorcycle at your own pace and things will go much more smoothly!
7. Hold off Riding in Groups
Most riders ride in groups in their first couple of rides straight after getting their motorcycle license.
Your first-time riding shouldn’t be in a group, with the exception of your instructor in a safety course. Riding in groups straight after getting your motorcycle license lends itself to peer pressure & more obstacles for you to avoid. Especially when everyone around you is going fast!
Give yourself some time to learn about your motorcycle before you ride in any sort of group.
Of course, taking a motorcycle safety course is the one exception to this. Taking a motorcycle safety course will exponentially help you ride defensively which is exactly what you need on your first bike.
8. Experienced Riders Look through Turns
Another tip that will help you prepare for any potential emergencies is to look through turns before actually entering them. This way, if there’s an obstacle in your path you’ll be able to avoid it without having to stop completely.
Look through the turn and allow yourself some room so that if something happens, you can safely avoid it without much fuss.
9. Practice Riding in the Dark & Rain
Slowly ease yourself into this one, but this is something that even experienced motorcyclists avoid…
If you are not bad at multitasking then practice riding during both nighttime and during the rain as these are the two most difficult conditions for a beginner rider.
But also something that needs to be practiced in order to increase your overall motorcycle safety.
Most accidents happen due to lack of proper visibility because of sunlight or darkness or due to slippery roads after raining so it’s better for beginners to train themselves on how they would behave.
10. Wear Proper Motorcycle Gear from your First Ride On
Despite what you might think from movies or other riders, it’s important to wear a full-face helmet and to wear proper gear. This may feel a little stifling at first, but if you’re going to do anything it’s best that you do things right the first time around.
Not only is wearing a helmet required in most states, but it’s also the single most important piece of safety equipment you’ll ever use.
The same goes for wearing full gear; wear it all, even if you feel like it restricts your movement. You’ll get used to it, and trust me, it’ll save you!
11. Never Ride In Middle Lanes
It’s probably a good idea to try to stick in the slow lane while riding, especially if you’re just starting out.
The middle lane can trap you between other motor vehicles and force you to make sudden moves.
That’s not something you’ll be able to do effectively when you’re just starting out!
12. Keep your Feet on the Footpegs
Another tip that you should definitely follow is to keep your feet flat in the footpegs.
It’s never a good idea to get your feet off of the pegs for any reason, so make sure that even if something happens and you lose control of your motorcycle, at least you’ll be able to keep it upright. On a motorcycle you always want to be ready, so keep your right foot next to your rear brake.
13. Adjust your Mirrors Before every Ride
Before you take off on your motorcycle for any reason, make sure to adjust your side mirrors so that you can see what’s behind you.
You never know when your mirrors have been knocked and adjusting whilst riding is just annoying.
This will give you more time to react if something is in your path and allow you to safely maneuver around things without having to stop or swerve suddenly.
14. Motorcycle Riders are Invisible to Other Motorists
It is important that you put yourself in the mindset that other drivers on the road can’t see you. This will allow you to practice defensive driving and avoid any accidents while riding.
All too often, motorcyclists get into trouble because they assume that other vehicles can notice them, so it’s important to always think ahead and be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
15. Don’t Push through Bad Training
Learning any skill requires repetition and these reps combine to create habits. When it comes to motorcycle maneuvers and techniques it’s no different, especially in those months straight after getting your motorcycle license.
If you’re not getting it, take a break, go watch a YouTube tutorial or read a blog on the subject and get back to it another day.
16. Wait Before Buying Expensive Mods
Learn to ride safely and enjoy your motorcycle before you go out and buy expensive mods. It takes time to get to know your motorcycle. Don’t solve your issues with buying things.
You can easily get carried away and spend a lot more than you should at first on all sorts of things that will just end up collecting dust in the garage.
17. Start Riding with a Smaller Motorcycle
I get a lot of criticism for this one, but I do not recommend getting a motorcycle that’s too big for you to start with.
You’ll be tempted, and trust me, the peer pressure is also there…
But no matter how cool they look, it doesn’t change the fact that motorcycles are dangerous machines. Getting a smaller motorcycle means that you’ll have more control over it and give you a comfortable learning curve. Experiencing a motorcycle accident in your first few months of riding will wreck your confidence.
18. Do not force yourself to Ride
I see this all the time, a learner wants to get as much experience as possible so they start riding to every social event on their calendar.
This isn’t inherently bad, but what happens is you find yourself out at 1:00 am needing to get home, maybe you’ve had a drink or maybe you’re just dead tired and you force yourself to ride.
Please don’t do this, it’s the most likely time you’ll crash.
Before you take your motorcycle out, consider what time you’ll be coming home, and if you think you’ll be tired, don’t force yourself to ride.
Muscle memory is a real thing and we want to repeat good habits.
19. Consider Private Lessons
If you can’t get a specific technical or maneuver to consider hiring a professional instructor for some private lessons.
When you consider how much longer you’ll spend on trial and error, it can be a very cost-effective and beneficial learning experience.
20. Bring a Bike Lock for your Helmet
I learned this one after 3 months of riding and wish someone told me from the beginning.
Go and buy a bike lock, this will allow you to lock your helmet to your motorcycle when you arrive somewhere. Carrying your helmet around the shops, restaurants, and into friends’ homes is just annoying.
21. Be Extra Cautious in Car Parks
Car parks are notorious for being the most likely place you’ll have a tumble on your motorcycle.
Since other motorists aren’t expecting motorcycles, you need to be extremely careful when entering and exiting car parks.
Always look ahead at the cars where they’re headed, never assume that other drivers have seen you because they probably haven’t.
And even if other cars aren’t the concern, most first-time motorcyclists aren’t very good at slow-riding skills. So extra high alert!
22. Learn when to use your Rear or Front Brake
Leaning properly modulation of your rear brake and the front brake will assist you in body positioning. We actually have a full article on this here.
Braking with two wheels is different than four. You’ll need to learn when to use your rear brakes vs when to use your front brakes.
Also, practice using two or three fingers around the rear brake or front brake lever and applying slowly increasing pressure.
23. Don’t neglect Motorcycle Maintainance
There’s nothing more terrifying than the “check engine” light coming on when you’re driving along at 100 mph doing 40mph, or worse, it comes on after you’ve already left.
Pay attention to your service history and make sure you have a way of getting it fixed. Make sure you know where all the spare parts are located in the motorcycle so if something were to break down, you know where to find them.
A few things to add to your pre-riding check are to make sure your turn signals are working, your throttle isn’t sticky, your tires have a good amount of tread and your motorcycle clutch lever feels normal.
24. Protection over Style
When it comes to gear, protection always comes before style.
You don’t need a full race suit to start with, but decisions will always come up when you need to choose and choose motorcycle safety over what you actually look like.
Sturdy motorcycle boots, a good jacket, riding pants, gloves, and a full-face helmet are all musts for a new rider who cares about motorcycle safety.
25. Get as Insurance Coverage
This one is huge. Don’t skip out on having the proper insurance.
A new rider needs to insure their motorcycle. If your motorcycle is totaled and you haven’t spent extra to protect it, well… It’s gone and there’s nothing anybody can do to replace it!
Even more importantly, get some sort of personal injury insurance.
This one is often overlooked but all it takes is that one person to be careless and you’ll be facing medical bills that could financially ruin you.
Learning to ride a motorcycle in a fun and safe way is not always easy but with these tips hopefully, you feel a little more confident about jumping onto that motorcycle.
The most important thing to remember is to never force yourself to ride.
If you feel like barking muscles, saddle soreness, or just cannot get a specific maneuver don’t push through it.
So take it easy on yourself, find a buddy, and enjoy your new motorcycle experience!