1. Dress Appropriately
- A helmet is considered by many to be the most important piece of a motorcyclist’s attire. Not only does a helmet protect you in the event of an accident, but it shields your face from the wind, cold temperatures, and insects. There are several styles of helmets to choose from, depending on what you are looking for. A few options include a full-face, open-face, and off-road helmet. The Motorcycle Legal Foundation provides important information on each style of helmet to help riders find the one that suits their needs.
- Boots or closed-toed shoes
- Flip-flops and sandals should never be worn on a motorcycle, even if you are just a passenger. Always wear closed-toed shoes to protect your feet from road rash, flying debris, and of course extreme temperatures. Besides providing you protection, boots increase your traction and can help you come to a safe stop. Be sure to invest in good riding boots for all riders.
- A jacket is a must for all motorcyclists, no matter what the temperature is outside. Jackets provide protection from extreme temperatures, a variety of weather conditions, and provides protection in case of an accident.
- Pants offer extra protection from engine heat, road rash, and flying debris. While jeans may seem like the perfect pants for motorcycle riding, they are not. Jeans are far too thin to withstand rubbing several seconds on the roadway in the event of an accident. Instead, pants made of leather or other thick, sturdy materials are recommended.
- Eye protection
- To protect your eyes from flying debris and the glare from the sun it is highly advised to invest in sunglasses. The Drive has a list of the best motorcycle sunglasses, as well as additional information on the importance of proper eye protection.
- Depending on where you live, and the temperature you may need more than 1 pair of gloves. During the summer months, lightweight and breathable gloves provide riders with the most comfort. Whereas, the winter months call for thicker gloves to keep your hands warm as you race down the roadway.
2. Inspect Your Motorcycle
- Check the tire pressure & tire tread to ensure proper traction on the roadway.
- Check oil & fluid levels regularly & before long trips.
- Make sure all fasteners on the handlebars are tight & that the handlebars are free moving.
- Check your brake pads for signs of wearing. Often you can hear and/ or see when your brakes are coming to the end of their life.
- Readjust your mirrors before each ride, especially if multiple riders are sharing a motorcycle.
3. Obey the Law
- According to the Texas Department of Transportation, all riders under the age of 21 in Texas must wear a helmet on a motorcycle. Those who are 21 and over, do not have to wear a helmet if they have met certain criteria, such as completing a motorcycle safety course.
- No one under the age of 5 may be a motorcycle passenger in Texas.
- All motorcycle riders must have a Class M license.
- To obtain a Class M license, riders must be 16 years or older in Texas.
- Motorcyclists need to have motorcycle insurance.
4. Increase Your Visibility
- Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots.
- Wear bight-colored clothing & gear so you can be seen in the dark.
- Try to avoid riding at night, if possible.
- Use reflective tape to increase your odds of being seen by other road users.
- Tap the brake when slowing down to warn the cars around you that you are coming to a stop.
5. Proceed With Caution
- Leave a buffer between you and the cars around you.
- Look out for traffic signs & signals.
- Keep your eyes on the roadway & avoid distractions, especially from your phone.
- Scan the roadway ahead.
- Ride defensively to lower the chance of a collision.