Motorcyclists are ecstatic that springtime weather is finally flourishing throughout New England, and for good reason. Hitting the scenic open roads can be an uplifting experience; which is why this time of year tends to influence those who have been itching to purchase a motorcycle for the first time. While the temptation may be growing, there are many things to consider before investing in that two-wheeler, more specifically, motorcycle safety.
Abide by These 7 Motorcycle Safety Tips to Keep Your Riding Experience a Happy One:
In Massachusetts, state law requires anyone operating a motorcycle or riding as a passenger to wear a helmet that meets the minimum requirements laid out by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. This law also applies to sidecar passengers. Although helmet laws vary from state to state, it is an undeniable safety precaution that ALL motorcyclists should abide by to prevent significant injury in the event of an accident. And leather jackets aren’t just a ‘fashion statement’ of the motorcycling community. Many bikers wear these jackets because they are thick and dense, which can provide better bodily protection if a fall takes place. Eye protection and thick gloves are also recommended.
Bikers must be even more alert of their surroundings than automobile drivers. They need to be mindful of any roadway hazards that could put them in a dangerous position. Always keep yourself visible to other drivers and keep an appropriate amount of distance from them. Communicate your directional intentions clearly by using proper signals and always keep your headlight on. It’s also recommended that for bikers of every experience level to use the least congested lanes. Noticing upcoming roadway activity, keeping balance and reacting to other drivers and/or animals on the road is crucial in safely operating a motorcycle, so avoid daydreaming and stay vigilant!
Know Your Bike
Before even considering making that first bike investment, familiarize yourself with how a motorcycle operates. Once you’ve learned the basics, research the specific mechanics and features of the bike you are looking into. NEVER buy one that hasn’t passed a thorough inspection or buy from an unknown and potentially unreliable source. After you’ve chosen the perfect ride for yourself, get into the habit of making a mental pre-ride checklist to ensure the bike is in ideal operating condition. Here is a checklist of items to double check before you hop on:
Fluids – Oil and all other fluids should be filled and checked for leaks underneath the bike
Tires – Should have proper air pressure and tread
Lights – Switch on all lights to make sure they are in working order; including turn signals
Throttle and Clutch – The throttle must be able to snap back when released and the throttle should feel smooth and tight.
Horn – Honk to test efficiency so other motorists can hear you
Brakes – Test the front and rear brakes separately to ensure they both hold firmly when applied
Mirrors – Keep them clean and adjusted according to your posture while on the bike
Check the Forecast
Driving in inclement weather can be problematic for any motorist, let alone bikers. The most experienced riders can get caught in a rainstorm, especially with the unpredictable New England Weather. No one wants to be on the first leg of their scenic bike ride only to roll into a wall of rain, so stay tuned to a reliable weather forecast in your area. In addition, roadways are the slickest immediately after rainfall begins because the water actually pulls oils from road surfaces.
Plan a Route
If you are buying a motorcycle with the intent to take in the sites, take the time to strategically plan out your trips. Take in into account road quality, attractions, and accommodations that are available on your preferred route. The Shelburne Falls Loop is a great example of a well-planned Massachusetts route for beginning and experienced riders. A big part of practicing motorcycle safety is knowing the areas in which you visit to avoid getting lost or stranded.
Know Your State’s Laws
Aside from the required licensing that is needed, bikers must familiarize themselves with the laws of any state that they plan on riding in. Simply knowing the laws of your home state could prove risky in the event you get stuck out of town, so research motorcycle laws and restrictions of your surrounding states as well.
Protect Yourself Financially
Last, but certainly not least, choose an adequate motorcycle insurance policy that is catered to your specific needs. Motorcycle safety isn’t only about protecting your physical well-being, but also for protecting your assets in the event of an accident. A quality insurance plan doesn’t have to break the bank either, and we’d like to prove it to you!
If you’re a first-time bike owner and wish to acquire a cost-effective insurance policy, call Northeast Insurance Agency at (800) 443-7007 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.