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Bad Motorcycle Habits You Need to Break

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We all have habits we need to break, but bad habits while riding can have dire consequences. These habits are often picked up over time, so if you’re new to riding, it’s good to know the no-nos you should avoid right off the bat. We’ll cover a few common occurrences we see all the time on the road, and we’ll give you a few tips on how to correct them.

Putting Off Required Maintenance

You might have the latest and greatest bike, but let’s face it- all motorcycles require maintenance at some point. No one wants to deal with this part of riding, but keeping your bike in good shape is crucial so it stays in top working condition. To stay on top of any maintenance issues, we highly recommend using the T-CLOCS method before every ride. This helpful acronym reminds you to check your Tires and wheels, Controls, Lights and electrics, Oils and fluids, Chassis, and Stands before you head out. As soon as you see an issue with your bike (small or large) make sure to tackle it head-on and try not to put it off.

Not Wearing Safety Gear

Wearing the proper protection is incredibly important while riding. We see so many bikers riding in t-shirts and we can just imagine the road-burn. The truth is, you never know what’s going to happen out there – so it’s better to be protected at all costs. Check out our blog on Safety Gear 101 to see the staples you should be wearing on your next ride. There’s some really cool/stylish gear out there and the safety and technology behind these products is mind-blowing – take advantage of it.


This is probably one of the top bad habits we see out on the road. Whatever you drive, both speeding and tailgating can be dangerous – but this is especially true when it comes to riding a motorcycle. It might be tempting to drive fast, but you never truly know what is going to happen out on the road (bad weather, potholes, cars… the list goes on) and your reaction time needs to be on point. When it comes to tailgating, just.don’ – it’s that simple. Tailgating also cuts down your reaction time significantly and if you need to get around a car that’s going too slow, safely pass them when it’s appropriate. We know cars often tailgate motorcyclists (not cool), but let’s try to be the bigger people here.

Being a Know-It-All

We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but you don’t know everything. There – someone had to say it. So whether you’ve been riding for years or if you’re new to the two-wheeled lifestyle, there’s always something new to learn in the motorcycle space. Being a confident rider is great, but overconfidence can lead to making mistakes or taking shortcuts while riding that can lead to safety issues. We recommend continuing your motorcycle education by taking a refresher course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation provides a variety of classes to riders of all levels, and just because you’re a veteran rider doesn’t mean you should stop your education. They have classes on starting the ride, improving the ride, and mastering the ride that we highly recommend – check them out here.

Riding in Blind Spots

You need to make your presence known while you’re out on the road. This includes using hand signals, turning on your headlights, and riding where other motorists can see you clearly. Every driver has a blind spot and not all of them use fancy mirrors or have a motion detection system. It’s crucial that you stay out of drivers’ blind spots while riding – this means either slowing down or passing the driver so you remain safe if a driver fails to look twice before switching lanes.

Not Knowing Your Limits

Take a good look in the mirror and get to know yourself as a rider. What rides do you like to take? Are you a new rider? What level are you operating at? It’s easy – especially while riding in groups – to push yourself past your limits as a rider and we encourage you to scale it back to where you feel most comfortable. If you’re new to riding and your buddies are taking a trip to Tail of the Dragon – you might want to reconsider. Riding isn’t a competition, it’s supposed to be fun. Once you become more in tune with yourself and your motorcycle skill level, we encourage you to try different rides, just don’t overdo it before you’re ready.

Do you have any bad motorcycle habits you need to break? There’s no time like the present to start correcting them. Let us know some of your habits or some that you see out on the road in the comments below.


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Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the recreational brands RV Trader and Cycle Trader. Her mission is to provide thoughtful, practical content to those who are always on the hunt for their next adventure.

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20 Responses

  1. I think it's a big mistake to shift into neutral at a traffic light. It makes you a sitting duck. I always keep my bike in first gear at a stop and I'm also checking the mirrors for possible approaching threats. Getting rear-ended while stopped is all it takes to make you a believer…

  2. A rider should allways be checking side to side and behind as much as looking forward. Remember you are an invisible egg! A 74 year old BMW rider 260,000 mi
    Be Safe and enjoy your RIDE!

  3. Lean your bike into curves rather than trying to steer the handle bars. Prepare for curves by slowing enough before starting to accelerate all through the curve.

  4. If at all possible avoid riding behind large SUV's. They sit up high so you are usually looking at metal. If not their rear widows are tinted so you can't see what is ahead of you. You are depending on the skills of that driver. Who knows if that person is distracted by personal issues, work issues, or some other matter.

  5. Wipe your disc brakes down paper towel soaked with acetone. Repeat until the discs are clean. Try it. I think you will like the results.

  6. Do not take off or jack rabbit start, when the light turns green,there could be a red light runner coming the other way! I have seen this more than once. Check the intersection one more time when the the light changes green for a late arrival coming the other way

  7. Learn to use both front and rear brakes, even in curves and in bad conditions. That extra stopping power could save your ass. I know a lot of "old heads" that just ride that rear brake all the time.
    If you are starting out, I recommend learning on a dirt bike first. Get riding off road reasonably down pat before you hit the street. You will learn a lot about handling your bike slipping and sliding around in dirt, mud,g gravel, etc. that will help later, when you hit the street on a larger bike.

  8. Very important to become as visible as possible to other drivers. Brighter headlight, running lights, and turn signals make a big difference. An aggressive upgrade to the best solution available for your bike is the best money you can spend.

  9. Look where you want your bike to go. Don't look at the pot hole. Look at the smooth road beside it. Train on this so it becomes natural in an emergency situation.

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