You know what to do. You’ve taken the motorcycle safety classes, earned your license and are ready to hit the open road. You know how to use your mirrors, perform safety scans and lean into your turns. But before you jump on that bike, have you thought about what you should not do while riding? Often, it is not failure to do what you should, but doing what you should not that causes an accident.
Don’t Ride in Too High of Gear
Sure, that high gear might make you fly on the open road, but when you are in traffic, drop it down to a lower gear. Why? Because sometimes you need enough power to jump forward in an instant. If that SUV next to you starts to swerve into your lane, braking may not be the best option. If you drive in a lower gear, you can step on the gas and zoom ahead out of danger. As an added bonus, the cars around you just might hear you better with the higher revs.
Don’t Take a Passenger Without the Right Equipment
Your girlfriend wants to jump on the back of the bike and take a ride with you? Great, but only if she has all of her safety gear. If you would not ride wearing what your passenger is wearing, then she should not either. Remember, your motorcycle is going to handle much differently with a passenger on the back, so the likelihood of having a problem increases the moment that person jumps on. Do you want to have the guilt of causing serious injury to someone you care about? Insist on proper head, leg and foot protection.
Don’t Ride if You Are Not Well
Feeling a little woozy? Don’t get on your motorcycle. You need to be healthy, comfortable, hydrated, rested and fed in order to ride safely. Most accidents are not caused by a faulty bike, but by a faulty rider. Feeling well is important in a car as well, but it is even more so on a motorcycle where the machine responds to the slightest change in your posture. Take care of yourself before you get on your bike.
Don’t Look Down
Whatever you do, even if you think you are going to crash, don’t look down. Your eyes need to stay ahead, looking where you are going. If you feel like you are going down, keep your eyes where you want to be. The fastest way to miss a corner is to point your eyes downward, even for a second.