At Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles, we know that summertime is the prime motorcycle season. With that in mind, it’s vital that you and other riders keep safety measures in mind when hitting the road. To help keep our customers safe, we’ve compiled a tidy list of some basic safety precautions to take into account before your next big ride.
6 Safety Checks Before You Ride
You shouldn’t wait until you’re in motion to recall all of the ways that you should be taking safety into account on your motorcycle. Let’s start off with six basic things you should run through a mental checklist before you set out:
Make Sure You’re Riding the Right Bike
This might sound like a no-brainer, but the fact of the matter is that many bikers out there are riding a make or model of bike that they have no business riding. It’s very important to ride something that suits you, rather than just choosing a bike based off of looks. Do you see many NBA players driving around in Mini Coopers? What about sweet little grandmas driving a Hummer? Being able to safely control your motorcycle is not something you should take lightly, and if your bike isn’t right for you, it’s time to make a switch. Here are some things to consider to determine if your bike is right for you:
- Overall bike power
- Bike weight
- Power-to-weight ratio
- Your personal comfort level
Wear a Full-Face Helmet
You should always ride with a full-face coverage helmet, including a face shield or some form of adequate eye protection. You may be tempted to skip wearing your helmet if you’re just going out for a short errand, but let us remind you — a large percentage of accidents that involve motorcycles occur at slow speeds in-town. Even going 20 mph can do some serious damage to an unprotected head when it hits… well, anything really. It’s also worth mentioning that almost a fifth of all motorcycle helmet impacts occur on the chin of the helmet, so it is actually important to don the full-face helmet. You’ll be thanking us when you have a messed up helmet but an intact jaw.
Protective Gear is a Must
The human body is just simply not equipped to handle an impact on roadways, especially at higher speeds. With that reality in mind, it’s important to always wear protective gear. This includes riding boots that cover your ankles, a protective jacket that is abrasion-resistant, long pants or jeans, gloves, and as mentioned earlier, a full-face helmet. You may find yourself wondering if you’re ever going to actually need all of this protective gear — and ideally, you won’t — but you’ll be very grateful you made the investment in your safety should the worst happen when you’re out for a ride this summer. To combat the heat, there are also vented helmets and riding jackets available that still provide an adequate level of protection.
Be Aware of the Weather
Before going on a longer ride, you should always double-check the weather along your route. The last thing you want to happen is to be caught in the middle of a severe thunderstorm while on your bike. Dangerous weather can impede your ability to ride safely, and put yourself and other motorists on the road at risk. If you see dangerous-looking clouds on the horizon, re-route and plan accordingly, or better yet, wait out the weather in a safe environment.
Only Ride Sober
When riding a bike, hand-eye coordination is being used practically all the time. When your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired even a little bit by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, you are immediately raising your chances of being involved in a collision. It should also go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway — riding a motorcycle under the influence or while impaired is illegal.
Long hours on the open road, while exhilarating, can also be exhausting. As soon as you feel your mental capacity to ride beginning to flag, it’s important to call it quits for the day. Riding while overtired can be just as dangerous as riding under the influence, so it’s something that you need to take very seriously. Some ways to help yourself stay alert include remaining hydrated, getting plenty of sleep the night before a ride, and taking the time to stop for breaks when you need to, even if it’s just for a 15-minute powernap.
3 Tips for When It’s Time to Ride
So you’re all prepared and ready to get on your bike, right? Wrong! Before you take off, take just a few seconds to perform a quick safety check of the motorcycle itself.
Check Basic Motorcycle Status
Take a moment to ensure that your taillights are functioning, your tire pressure is where it needs to be according to your bike, and double-check that you’re topped up on all essential engine fluids. Doing this on a regular basis will reduce the chances of getting yourself into trouble with other motorists or with highway patrolmen.
On-Bike Safety Checklist
When you first sat on your motorcycle, you experimented with every facet of how it is set up for riding. Periodically, you should do this again. Here are some of the most common things to think about adjusting:
- Check the suspension
- Adjust mirrors
- Seating configuration
- Check clutch and brake levers
As nice as it would be to never have to worry about how visible you are on a motorcycle, that just isn’t the reality on the road. You always need to ride like you are invisible to other motorists. In all reality, because of the size of most motorcycles, you are invisible, since it’s easy to find yourself in another driver’s blind spot. Do your best to anticipate the actions of others on the highway, and always assume that drivers cannot see you.
For All of Your Summer Motorcycle Needs, Trust Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles
We hope that this crash course in summer motorcycle safety has you excited to hit the highway! If there is anything you need to enhance your motorcycle experience this season, you can trust the experts at Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles. Contact us today with any questions you may have, and to browse our inventory of motorcycles, trailers, off-road equipment, and much more!