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Motorcycle Season – Stay Safe!

    Let’s just say that motorcycle safety has nothing to do with the guy on the right. Unless you are a stunt person, this is probably inadvisable. However, even seasoned riders need some safety reminders after a long winter.

    The first thing to do before venturing out on the open road is to check your bike – make sure you have the right amount of fluids, check the tires, check the brakes. Make certain your bike is in top running condition. The unexpected happens often enough without having to worry about whether your motorcycle is fit for the road.

    Speaking of being fit for the road, make sure that YOU are in peak condition before take-off. That means being well rested, and more important, being clear-headed. It may be warming up out there, but no beers, not even one, before getting on the road. The number one cause of motorcycle accidents is driving under the influence. In that category also is driving when exhausted. Given that the only thing between you and that semi is protective clothing, you have to be wide awake with all reflexes ready to respond.

    It is also prudent to check the weather report. While it may not snow during spring, it does rain – a lot. First, remember that a spring rain affects visibility; yours and other drivers out there. A biker is at a tremendous disadvantage in that other drivers do not always see you coming. That means you need to wear bright clothing, and you need to stay an extra safe distance away from cars and trucks. That way, you can avoid some very dangerous skids. Be aware of broken pavement, potholes (there are many of them after winter), and oil spills. And, if it is a real downpour, you might consider postponing your ride for a sunny, dry day.

    So now you are on the road. Feel that wind in your hair? Feel the freedom? Feel the thrill? Stop right there. You need to pay close attention to where you are going and how fast you are going. Remember, it’s been several months since taking your bike out. So, now is not the time to imagine you are traveling with the gang from “Easy Rider.” Look out, you took that turn too fast. Oh, and do not slam on the brakes! Well, you made it through, but that was pure luck. Please take those turns cautiously.

    So, you are going along again – proud of yourself for getting out of that rough turn in one piece. Just then a dog runs out in front of you. Wow, it’s a good thing you learned to use your front brake so effectively. You stop just in time, and you even make time to collect the dog, read his tags and call his owner. Good for you.

    As you go on your way, remember not to swerve in and out of lanes between cars and trucks, to keep your speed reasonable, and to stay alert. Keep your eyes moving. Bike riding really rocks, but no one who has ever mastered the “art” has ever said it was easy. It is not. And, it shouldn’t be. Stay safe out there, and enjoy the season!

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