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.
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’t.do.it. – 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.