Motorcycle Safety Checklist for the Spring Riding Season
Safety should be a top priority for every motorcycle rider. In the enthusiasm to get riding again after your bike has been collecting dust in the garage all winter, it's easy to forget the safety basics.
Your motorcycle has to be as ready for the riding season as you are – which means checking your motorcycle to ensure that it meets all the basic safety checks and requirements.
This motorcycle safety checklist will help you remember to cover everything you need to prepare for an enjoyable and safe spring motorcycle riding season.
- Tires: Check the tread on your tires. Don't wait for your next inspection…you'll want to have good tread to drive safely through showers and thunderstorms. Make sure that the rubber isn't drying out, cracking, or otherwise damaged. Finally, check the pressure in your tires – it can affect the way your bike handles.
- Fluids: Check all oil and fluid levels (refer to your owner's manual for your bike's specs). Improper levels will negatively affect engine performance and motorcycle handling.
- Lights: Test your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and four-way flashers. Check the indicators on the dash as well. Motorcycle safety depends on motorcycle visibility; your lights are how you remain visible on the road.
- Controls: Do an overall check of your bike's controls, making sure there are no leaks or rust along the lines.
- Throttle: Test the clutch and throttle. The throttle should snap back when you let go; the clutch should feel tight and smooth.
- Brakes: Test the front and rear brakes one at a time. Make sure each feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is pushed down the whole way. You won't be able to ride safely if you can't stop your motorcycle when you need to.
- Horn: Check the horn. You need to be able to alert other drivers of where you are.
- Mirrors: Adjust your mirrors before you begin moving. You should be able to see the lane behind you and the lane next to you. You can't guarantee that other drivers will pay attention to you, so your safety depends on you being able to keep track of them.
- Helment & Gear: Your motorcycle safety check should extend to your gear as well. Your helmet should be free of cracks and fit snugly. Your leathers and armor should fit well and be free of any damage that undermines their integrity. Be sure that your helmet is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Wearing a helmet greatly increases your chance of survival if you're in an accident.
When riding your motorcycle, always practice defensive riding. Know your state helmet laws, as well as the insurance laws and license requirements for motorcycles. And last but not least, always drive sober.
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