“You have to be completely crazy to ride a motorcycle. Those things are dangerous!”
In small part, they are right. There is risk involved in operating a motorcycle. There’s also risk involved in driving on a freeway, even in a tank. The trick is to manage the risks and to not take dumb chances.
Managing risk is key, and taking a motorcycle rider course will help you do just that. (And, you may get a discount on your motorcycle insurance.) Keep your mental and physical skills sharp; practice good cornering and curve-riding techniques. Know the limits of your motorcycle and the limits of the environment.
Five Key Tips for Safe Riding
- Assume you are invisible to other drivers. Don’t ever assume another driver knows you’re there.
- Look where you want to go. It’s called visual and directional control. Keep your head and eyes oriented 3-4 seconds ahead of you when cornering. In an emergency, do not stare at the guardrail, the gravel shoulder or the oncoming car. The term for this is target fixation, and it can distract you from the task at hand.
- Counter-steer. Use precise inputs to the hand-grips to lean the motorcycle. Press forward on the left hand-grip, the bike leans left. Press forward on the right hand-grip, the bike leans right. You can learn this technique by taking a rider course.
- Use both brakes. Your front brake provides 70 percent or more of your stopping power in an emergency. Squeeze, do not grab the front brake.
Never stop riding the bike. Don’t ever give up control of your motorcycle. Again, part of the challenge of motorcycling is risk management. Don’t create dangers for yourself by taking unnecessary chances. As a biker, that is your responsibility, and the joy of motorcycling.
Watch for more articles about motorcycle safety, sense and sensibility.
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Information gathered from:
Minnesota Department of Public Safety