Motorcycle Safety & Maintenance Guide

motorcycleMotorcycle safety is very important as riders are more exposed during accidents, they, along with motorists, need to exercise extreme caution when riding or driving near motorcycles. There are a few things that motorcyclists need to do in order to be safe while riding. Training on how to be safe while riding should be first priority when you first get a motorcycle. Keeping yourself and others safe while you ride will help prevent accidents and safe lives. Along with training, one should keep good care of their bike making sure that there are no mechanical issues that could cause an accident or harm to others. Below is a list of training tips for motorcycle safety and a maintenance guide to help you know how and when to take care of your motorcycle.

Motorcycle Safety Training

Of course to become fully trained, one needs to fully know how to ride a motorcycle which  requires time and practice riding the bike; however, here are some tips to remember to keep yourself and others safe while riding:

  • Get trained and licensed: Taking training courses and reading books will greatly improve your knowledge of motorcycles and how to get out of sticky situations. Motorcycle licenses are required for all those who wish to ride a motorcycle. The DMV will provide a handbook that includes topics such as:
    • wearing the right gear
    • knowing your motorcycle
    • knowing your responsibilities
    • basic vehicle control
    • keeping your distance
    • seeing what’s happening around you
    • handling intersections
    • making yourself seen
    • avoiding crashes
    • handling dangerous surfaces
    • mechanical problems
    • flying objects
    • carrying passengers & cargo
    • earning your license
  • Wear the proper gear: Wear all the gear, all the time.
    • Helmet: Though it is not required in the state of Utah, it is highly recommended that all riders wear a helmet.
    • Visors and goggles: Wearing goggles or any type of eye protection is important for keeping you safe from wind, rain, insects, or road dirt that may affect your while you ride.
    • Protective clothing: Motorcyclists wear clothing that is made from man-made materials or leather. Choose clothing that gives additional protection for the shoulders, elbows, and knees. The legs of your pants should cover the top of your shoe, preferably made of leather or denim. Be sure to wear long sleeves or preferably a jacket made of durable materials and cover the shoulders.
    • Gloves and gauntlets: Always wear gloves or something to protect your hands if you were to fall off your bike. Full-fingered gloves are always the best choice.
    • Motorcycle boots: Boots provide the perfect protection for riding a motorcycle. Shoes should be made of leather and cover the ankle bone.
  • Ride unimpaired by alcohol or other drugs: This type of driving behavior could lead to serious consequences both physically and financially. For more information about drunk driving, click here.
  • Ride within your own skill limits: We may all think we are race car drivers but doing things that are risky or require more skill than you have will most likely result in an accident or injuries.
  • Be a lifelong learner: Learning how to ride a motorcycle doesn’t just happen when you are trying to get your license. Take refresher rider courses to keep you up-to-date with safety and motorcycle improvements.

Maintenance Guide

Knowing your motorcycle and how to maintain it is very important for safety. If you bike is not running properly, you may encounter issues that could potentially lead to accidents down the road. Below is a list of recommendations for maintaining your ride.

  • Follow the recommendations in your manuals: Surprisingly or not, your motorcycle manufacturer knows more about your bike than you do. The good news is, they want to share this information with you to keep your bike well maintained. Read it, study it, memorize it.
  • Breaking in your bike: The most important miles on your bike are the first few hundred then the next couple thousand. The best advice it to ride it gently as you are breaking in your bike.
  • Keeping up with oil changes on regular basis: The best way to keep your engine lasting is getting regular oil changes. Keeping your engine’s parts well oiled will help them not grind and cause more damage then you would like. Schedule it often and if you ride in dirty or dusty areas, change it more often. Make sure you use the correct oil too!
  • Clean or change your air filter: This should be done about once a month. What goes in your motorcycle doesn’t always come out and a lot gets stuck in the air filter. This dirty air filter could be cutting off air to important cylinders in your bike’s engine.
  • Check your tire pressure: Making sure you have the correct air pressure in your tires will help the handling of your bike and your fuel consumption. Check your tire pressure once a week and add or drain as needed.
  • Grease your bearings: All riders should keep their bike well lubricated. On some new bikes the bearing are maintenance free and covered but the exposed ones such as the suspension linkages need regular care. Even if you are consistent about greasing your bearing, the time will come that they will need to be replaced anyways. Be sure to be checking them to know when that time has come to do so.
  • Watch your drivetrain: Fresh oil and a clean air filter generally will keep your engine and transmission running right, but that’s only two-thirds of your bike’s mechanical make-up. The rest is the drivetrain—the chain, belt or shaft that transfers power from your transmission to your rear wheel. Depending on what type of final drivetrain you’re running, you’ll want to keep an eye on chain stretch, sprocket wear, belt cracking, or the condition and amount of oil in the shaft housing. Chain drive systems generally are the most maintenance-intensive.
  • Check your battery terminal and wires: A new battery starts dying the second you start using it. The life of the battery will depend on how well you keep your battery in good shape. Use a trickle charger to keep it charged while not in use.
  • Get quality: When looking for parts to fix your bike, make sure to get great parts that will help your bike run smoother and won’t give you problems down the road.

You may think that your ride doesn’t need maintaining yet but it will save money on repairs to check if your bike is in good running condition. Also, don’t over think it. Over-maintaining your ride could cause more problems than you think. Don’t crank that wrench unless you actually need to. We hope you find this information helpful, if you have additional questions about motorcycle accidents, click here. Christensen & Hymas helps those who have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another’s negligence or recklessness behavior. Call (801) 506-0800 for a free confidential consultation to discuss the compensation that you deserve for the pain and suffering you have endured.

Image “2008 BMW F 800 GS” copyright by Pervasivelight.

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