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Top Five Rider Rules for Motorcycle Awareness Month

It’s hot out, the weather is perfect, and means you’ll likely be piling up the miles on your bike. With that in mind, and to make sure all your trips are as safe as possible, here are the top five rider rules you should follow.

1.Proper training and licensing – Give serious consideration to taking an Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Course. Riding is serious business- and a heap of fun provided you’re properly trained to handle your machine and deal with the other drivers on the road. Half of all the riders on the roads right now have never taken a proper safety class, and that’s not optimal. With the idea in mind of helping motorcyclists earn their endorsements or license, MSF provides instruction to motorcyclists of any skill level. The instruction starts with the Basic Rider Course for beginning riders.

The course includes:

If you’re already an experienced rider, but you want to further develop your skills, you can hone your techniques in one of MSF’s advanced RiderCourses or take the new MSF Street RiderCourse. These new courses take riders beyond the traditional controlled learning environment and out into real-world traffic situations.

2. Wear the proper protective gear –  T-shirts and shorts? Great for the beach, just not so good for riding a motorcycle. You should gear up properly for every ride, even short hops down the street or in the neighborhood. Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and eye protection. It’s not just a good idea, it’s  the law in many states. Why take a chance? It’s a good idea even in states where helmets and eye wear aren’t mandatory. Boots? Make sure they cover over the ankle, and for good measure, long pants and a riding jacket provide you the kind of protection from road debris and bugs you’ll only appreciate if you don’t have it on. If you’re a sport bike ride and plan on traveling at, shall we say, the upper edge of the speed limits, body armor is ideal and a fashion statement in the bargain.

3. Keep your senses sharp and your mind clear – Bikes, booze and drugs are a dangerous combination and you should avoid them assiduously. Our government spends a lot of money on studies which show that 46% of riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking shortly before their untimely demise. When you’re under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, your critical motorcycling skills (agility, perception and awareness) are dramatically diminished. You may be well within the legal limits for most states, but having a blood-alcohol content greater than 0.05% ratchets up the chances that you’ll crash by a factor of about 40 times. It’s bad enough to get behind the wheel of a car with a big buzz on, but strapping it on and operating a motorcycle is akin to a form of Russian Roulette.

4. Stay within the limits of your ability obey traffic laws and signals – You know the limits of your ability.  Don’t attempt to exceed them. Your body functions best when it hasn’t been bounced off a light pole or ground down on the pavement. Unless you’re a trained professional on a closed course, to use the old advertising saw, stunt riding, high speed or stoppies in the parking lot are sure to cause you the kind of problems that can’t be repaired with olive oil and a Band-aid. Follow the traffic laws and stay tuned in to how fast-changing road conditions affect your riding and traction.

5. Don’t ride too long or too far – No matter how often or how long you’ve been riding, your perception is adversely affected when you’re tired. Your visual acuity is diminished, your reaction time slows down and your attention wanes easily. Maybe not critical (though they often are) when you’re driving your car, but deadly when you’re operating your bike. It only takes a moment for the worst to happen, and once it has, there’s not getting it back. Pay strict attention to what your body is telling you as you ride. Back hurt? Stop and stretch a little. Hands a little numb? Maybe it’s time to stop for gas and a quick cup of coffee.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation promotes is all about safety, and through their series of  rider training and education curriculum, operator licensing tests and public information programs, they have your back. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling.

Take them up on their expertise. You’ll learn some interesting things and you’ll live to ride another day.

And above all, make sure your insurance is in the proper order and adequate to provide protection for and replacement of your bike should the unthinkable happen. We can help you out with that, just read this completely comprehensive tome on any motorcycle insurance question you could possibly dream up, courtesy of motofotostudio.com, your wing men out on the road…

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