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Newbie Rider Mistakes

Squid (Squiddy) – Acronym, SQUirrely kID. 1. Used in reference to younger motorcycle riders with little respect to posted speed limit laws, self safety or safety of others. 2. Inexperienced newcomer, someone trying to ride beyond his skill level with arms flailing (like a squid) to try not to fall. This may be just a Southern term. 3. Stupidly Quick, Under dressed, Imminently Dead. 4 Any Sportbike Rider – seems this term got twisted along the way and has many meanings. 5 Sportbike riders who wear tennis shoes or flip flops, shorts, T-shirts, etc. on their nice shiny new sport bikes. 6 Anyone that rides without all proper gear , rides recklessly, or rides beyond their limits. 7. Someone who rides a sportbike on the street as if he or she were on a racetrack.

– From the The Motorcycle Bikers Dictionary

Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous, and while that’s part of the thrill, it’s also part of the problem. Why be in an hurry? Take your time to learn about your abilities and your machine before you need to have pins put in your legs or have an E-unit scrape you off Route 66.

What are the five major mistakes new riders make when they climb astride their first machines?

Here’s the short list, with more to follow:

1) Over-confidence
2) Skimping on the proper gear
3) Over-reliance on the rear brakes and fear of the front brakes coupled with a compete lack of emergency braking practice
4) Looking at the ground in front of the bike instead of out on the road or track ahead
5) Failures in situational awareness and being too focused on operating the machine and not focused enough on possible threats and road hazards.

Buying a new Harley as your first bike

If you are a new rider or a re-entry rider, your first motorcycle should be used, Japanese and no more than 500 cc. Bikes in this class are light weight, easy to handle and cheap. Give yourself a season to figure out if riding a motorcycle something you really want to do. If you are still properly geeked after the first 5,000 miles, you’ll have more than enough experience rider to move up to a larger bike.

Losing your concentration…

It’s easy to forget that you’re not in a car. It’s suicide to ride for ten minutes thinking about work, your girlfriend or for that matter, anything other than riding. Your reaction time needs to be right next to nothing as mistakes you can get away with in a car are catastrophic on a motorcycle.

Failing to strap on your gear…

It may be hot, you may be going on a short hop or you might be in a hurry. Your skin doesn’t care a whit about any of those excuses, and if you lay down your bike, your skin comes off in strips. Not attractive and painful as hell. Dropping your bike, even in a parking lot, can have some hellacious repercussions to your body, so take the time to prevent them from happening.

Not giving  your bike a quick once over every time you ride…

Check tire pressure. Make a fast visual inspection of the entire bike. Check your fuel and oil levels? Are all the tins and fairing parts secure? A couple of minutes of preflight can save you some serious embarrassment and pain later.

Not keeping an eye on the gas gauge…

There always isn’t a gas station where you need it, and running out of fuel is not just horrifically embarrassing and inconvenient, it can also be dangerous in a big way. A ride across Arizona interrupted by a fuel shortage could leave you dehydrated or frozen like an ice cream bar.

Riding too fast for your ability…

Until you’ve put lots of miles on your machine, you have no idea what your skill level is. Take is easy at first and give yourself time to find out. Riding outside your skill level is a leading cause of motorcycle crashes, and inexperienced riders are five times more likely to to have them than more experienced riders.

Not giving the proper respect to Cagers..

No one in a car can hit you if you aren’t in the way. A good rule of thumb? Just stay the hell away from cars whenever it’s an option. Maintain a safe buffer zone around you. Assume you’re invisible to other drivers, because, well, you damn near are invisible to other drivers. Expect everyone to pull out in front of you from side streets. They will. Prepare for the idiot to change into your lane, because it’s bound to happen.

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