Lessons a first-time motorcycle rider needs to learn

Seeing the road open in front you, feeling the wind on your face, no barriers between you and the sky above you. Riding a bike gives you a feeling of freedom and adrenaline unlike any other. While it’s okay to enjoy it without much previous knowledge, once you’re on the road it’s your responsibility to become a safe rider for yourself and those around you.

You don’t have to stop riding until you become an all-knowing expert on every motorcycle safety rule there ever was. But you do need to make sure you’re being the safest you can be to avoid an accident and maximize your ability to enjoy your new-found hobby:

Practice target fixation

Your ability to watch where you want to go is key. When you’re riding a bike, you’ll go wherever your eye goes. Ideally, you should be staring off into the distance while keeping your immediate surroundings in your peripheral vision. The trick is being able to anticipate any hazards or difficult places you’ll want to avoid. You need to be aware of tricky corners, children, animals, or pedestrians that might come in your way. That’s another reason why you can’t be looking straight into the ground.

Be more defensive than when driving

A car is extremely easy to spot while on the road. Even the sleeker designs take up a lot of space. Motorcycles, on the other hand, are smaller and easier to miss. And sadly, there’s no guarantee that a driver isn’t distracted while on the road. What’s more, a small collision on your car might result in a slight bump, but that same collision on your bike might seriously injure you or total your bike. So you need to be aware of that and ride accordingly. You will need to be hyper-aware of everything that happens around you. You don’t want to end up riding in someone else’s blind spot or be riding way too close to someone when they suddenly decide they want to change lanes. Take a moment to scan the road for any blocks, accidents, or constructions that may give you a hard time while on the move.

Remember your mirrors

With a car, if you need to adjust your mirrors all you need to do is push a button. On a bike, you might need a wrench to get them to move. The last thing you’ll want is to be on the road and realize that you need to move your mirrors to properly see your surroundings. Make sure you sit on your bike and check the positions of your mirrors before you start riding.

Beware of chrome

Chrome gets extremely hot when exposed to the sun. That means that if you have chrome grips, you will absolutely need gloves; preferably armored gloves that will keep your hands from getting sweaty.

Don’t underestimate layers

When you’re riding, the temperature will feel about 10 degrees lower than when you’re just standing around, so you have to be prepared. Even when it’s hot outside you have to cover yourself from the sun and avoid dehydration. Remember to invest in garments that allow airflow and you’ll be fine during hot weather.

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