You’ve been hinting to your friend for months that you’d love to take his new bike out for a spin. After weeks of not-so-subtle begging, he’s finally agreed to let you ride it—on the condition that you take very good care of it. You jumped on the back the minute he parked it in your driveway, itching to see what it could do on 71, quickly forgetting your promise to stick to city streets.
How to Prevent an Accident on a Borrowed Motorcycle
Your friend wasn’t just concerned for his bike—he was actually acting in your best interests. Even if you’re only taking Grand Boulevard up to City Market, there are many things you can do before you set off that can greatly reduce your risk of suffering a crash on someone else’s bike. After all, there are many things that can go wrong on the road, so taking care of your own vehicle will give you one less thing to worry about.
Before you set off, make sure that you have:
- Read the owner’s manual. You should always read a borrowed vehicle’s manual--even if you have never read completely through your own. Make sure you can locate all of the important elements of the bike, including the turn signals, headlight switch, fuel supply valve, and engine cut-off.
- Familiarize yourself with the controls. You should test the horn, headlight, taillight, turn signals, and brake lights before leaving home, and ride at a slow pace in order to test the front and rear brakes. If you are borrowing the bike for a few days or longer, be sure to check these things before every ride.
- Make sure the bike fits. Once you are familiar with the controls, you need to find out the other differences in this bike and your own. The first thing you should check is height: your feet should touch the ground while you are seated, and you should be able to see out of both mirrors. Take a ride around the block to test the throttle and clutch, making sure you can maintain control before getting on a fast-paced roadway.
- Ride carefully. Even if you’re an expert rider, you’re always a newbie on an unfamiliar bike. The gear shifting may be sluggish and the brakes may react more slowly. These tiny differences can add up to a major problem. Ride extra cautiously on a borrowed bike: accelerate gently slowly, take turns at lower speeds, and leave extra stopping distance. Playing it safe will help keep you healthy, and your friend will appreciate your taking care of his bike.
If you are involved in a motorcycle crash in Kansas City, you may have trouble getting fair compensation for your injuries. In our book, The Devil’s Advocate: a Biker’s Guide to Accidents & Injuries, attorney James Roswold explains how motorcyclists are often blamed for bike accidents even when they are not at fault. Click the link on this page to read through a free copy and find out how you can get justice after a crash!