There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gunning a motorcycle down an open road, the wind tearing past, the sound of the engine filling your ears. Motorcycles are designed to be fast, maneuverable, fuel-efficient rides. By following some basic precautions, they can be safe as well.

There are four main principles to remember when riding a motorcycle:

  • Dress for safety and visibility. Always wear a helmet when riding your motorcycle, and take the time to find one that fits comfortably and gives you a good range of vision. Likewise, you should invest in a nice pair of boots, and clothing that will protect your skin in the event of a crash: leather, or specialist motorcycle gear. Bright, reflective clothes make it easier for drivers to see you.
  • Know your bike. The first time you take your new motorcycle on the road should not be the first time you have driven it. Take a riding course from a group like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to familiarize yourself with how the bike handles, and don’t head for the open road until you’re sure you can maintain control of the bike.
  • T-CLOCK.  The T-CLOCK inspection is a mnemonic developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Before each ride take a couple of minutes, walk around your bike, do a quick inspection using this checklist, and have a safe ride.
  • Know the rules of the road. Motorcycle and traffic laws can vary from state to state, and drivers in those states will be expecting you to drive in certain ways. Check out our own page on South Carolina motorcycle laws to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for this state, and do your research before taking a trip anywhere else.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Most crashes involving a motorcycle also involved a car or truck driver who did not see that motorcycle. When you’re riding, be aware of all the vehicles around you, and make sure they are aware of you. Stay out of blind spots, pass quickly, and give the drivers in front of you some extra space. Pay attention to traffic density, weather, and road conditions.

Check out these guidelines from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation for more detailed safety tips.

If you do get in a crash on your motorcycle, be prepared for all eventualities. Carry your license, registration, and insurance information with you, as well as a cell phone in case you need to call 911.

In the event that you are rendered unconscious or incapacitated after a motorcycle crash, it’s also a good idea to have an emergency medical identification card. This card from MedIDs has room for all the necessary information. Fill it out on your computer, print it out, and carry it in your wallet near your ID.

As long as you are familiar with your bike, dress appropriately, and obey both the law and common sense, you should be able to continue riding your motorcycle for years to come.

Don't hang out in the 'NO' zone. If you can't see the driver - they can't see you!