Most of us have wanted to ride a motorbike at what point or another, mostly because our mothers warned us they were dangerous and boys that rode them were trouble. However if you’re lucky enough to try a motorbike out there are a few important rules to make them a little less dangerous to ride.
Before you get on the road check your bike over including tyres, lights, oil, stands and controls. Once you start riding your bike it may be too late to notice your tyres are getting flat or your throttle isn’t working properly and ignoring these issues can lead to accidents or breakages. You’ll also want to check you’re wearing the right gear to protect yourself in case of any falls and against the elements, most importantly you need to have a helmet on by law. Make sure it is secured properly so not too loose but not so tight that you have difficulty moving your head from side to side, this ensures that if you were to fall off your bike the impact wouldn’t cause your helmet to come off leaving your head exposed.
Familiarize yourself with the bike beforehand especially if you haven’t ridden for a while or it belongs to somebody else as the shape and size of it can be completely different from the one you have been practising with meaning that the amount of pressure and movement you would normally apply may need to be altered. Practise with the brakes, throttle and clutch so you get a feel for how easy they are to move.
Once your bike is ‘on’ give it time to warm up and for the oil to reach all necessary parts before revving and starting up in case it splutters or fails.
Once you are out on the road trust your instincts, be extra vigilant of traffic at junctions and follow the natural bends in the road. If you are part of a group don’t just blindly follow everyone else, you need to think for yourself because the driver of the car they just passed may not have also seen you and the ten strong group behind you. Think about how you would handle the situation if a driver didn’t see you and how you can make yourself more noticeable especially at night, most drivers are unsure of how fast a motorbike can go and may make decisions based on their speeds and not yours. Avoid drivers blind spots by keeping in view at all times and having your headlights on day and night as well as reflective clothing where possible.
Zara Smith is a motorbike driving instructor and writes on behalf of thebikerstore.co.uk