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Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riders New to the Road (or New to the Bike)

Whether you’re using it for a daily commute on I-49 or taking a pleasure cruise down River Front Road, your new motorcycle is practically part of you. You lean to steer, feel the wind in your hair, and are more alert and connected to the road than in your car—and you wouldn’t have it any other way. So if your new bike is going to be an extension of you, shouldn’t you make sure that the two of you get along before you get out on the road together?

Safety Tips to Remember When You Get a New Motorcycle

Every bike is different, so you should make sure your new bike “fits” you as securely as your last one did. If you are too low to the ground or have to stretch to reach the handle grips, your steering ability is going to be compromised, as well as your ability to see clearly out of your mirrors. When adjusting your bike, double-check the placement of the:

  • Seat. You should sit far enough forward that your arms are slightly bent when you hold the handlebars. If your arms are fully extended when you touch the handlebars, you will have to shift in the seat to brake or shift gears, affecting your balance. Your arms should be used to steer, not to hold yourself up.
  • Hands. Adjust the handlebars so your hands are parallel with your elbows. This will give you the best position for comfortable riding while allowing you to make sudden movements. You should be able to hold the handle grips firmly to keep control over the bike, even if the road surface is rough. Take the bike out for a short ride on a variety of surfaces to get a feel for the throttle response. It helps to keep your right wrist flat until you figure out how much throttle your new bike needs.
  • Feet. Your feet should stay firmly on the footrests while riding. This helps to maintain balance, but also keeps your feet near the controls, allowing you quick access to avoid road obstacles. Using the footrests can also help prevent you from dragging your feet, which can affect your control of the motorcycle—and also lead to serious injury or amputation at high speeds. When you turn, keep your toes pointed upward and your knees against the gas tank to maintain balance and prevent your feet from getting caught between the road and the footrests.

The most important things to remember when riding your motorcycle are to be honest with yourself about your skill level, to know your bike’s abilities, and to obey the rules of the road. To get more riding tips and find out about biker events in Kansas City, click the link on this page to get a free copy of James Roswold’s book, KC Biker Bible.

 

Victor Finkelstein
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Victor Finkelstein is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers compensation, & med mal attorney

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