Ten Things Every Rider Should Know Before They Start To Ride

Experienced motorcyclists might make riding look easy, but that’s only because they’re experienced. As a novice, there’s a lot you need to keep on your mind before you ride. These ten things will help keep you safe while having fun on two wheels.

10.) Don’t Let Your Feet Ride Low


Letting your feet hang low when riding at any speed won’t only burn the rubber off your shoes, it might leave you with some broken bones as well. Keep your feet in a position where they can act quickly if you have to react in an emergency situation, not dragging against the asphalt.

Suggested By: More Bikes Than Brains, Photo Credit: Uberto via Flickr

9.) Look Where You Want To Go

When riding a motorcycle, keep your eyes up and planted on the direction you want to be headed. Same goes for driving a car. Reader GareBare will tell you:

Sounds so simple, but is imperative on a bike. If you focus on the car/curb/tree you’re headed for, you’ll hit it 100% of the time. If you look where you want to go, the bike will follow.


Suggested By: GareBare, Photo Credit: driver photographer via Flickr

8.) Brake Before Turns And Take Precautions


Stay away from braking inside of turns, or trail-braking, unless you’re a real hotshot motorcyclist. Who are you trying to impress? Slow down more than you think you have to, leave room for error, and then corner.

Suggested By: Bultaco, Photo Credit: Bryan Ungard via Flickr

7.) Perform Regular Maintenance Checks


Performing regular maintenance checks and inspections are crucial if you want to build a close, trusting relationship with your machine. Blowing a tire on a car is one thing, you have three others you can rely on. Losing a tire on a motorcycle? Not fun!

Suggested By: PhilMills, Photo Credit: Iain Farrell via Flickr

6.) Get Something You’re Comfortable Learning On


Whether you’ve come to accept it or not, chances are your first bike won’t remain right-side up for much of its life. Find a bike that you’re comfortable riding, has just the right amount of power and displacement to get you going, and that won’t break the bank if you do have the misfortune of experiencing an accident.

Suggested By: Lynza, Photo Credit: Christopher Page via Flickr

5.) Don’t Ride Like An Idiot Just Because You Can


Thanks to the almost immediate connection to the road that motorcycles offer, they’re extremely easy to zoom in out out of traffic and pester other motorists with. Not only are the tossable, even seemingly low-powered bikes are usually considered quick by car standards. Serious injury and or death are both very real possibilities for riders that want to try and push their luck on public roads.

Suggested By: MoparMap, Photo Credit: Getty Images

4.) Be Predictable On The Road


If you are riding with traffic and not trying to get knocked over, make your movements predictable and easy for car drivers to move with or around. Reader porange can explain.

Other drivers have a hard enough time seeing you, so when you’re riding hard in traffic, going too fast, etc., you are taking yourself out of the norm of other drivers’ expectations.


Suggested By: porange, Photo Credit: Rhett Sutphin via Flickr

3.) Ride Defensively


When spending time out on busy public roads, keep an eye on everything moving around you, stay attentive, and be at the ready to save your own ass. You can hope all you want that everyone else on the road will see you in their blindspots, be completely sober, and or an amazingly knowledgeable driver, but we all know that’s never the case.

Suggested By: dmat, Photo Credit: Tom Hicks via Flickr

2.) Wear The Right Gear


If anything will save you if or when you go down, it’ll be your gear. Invest in gloves, a helmet, full-coverage armored clothing, boots, knee guards, whatever. Just cover all that skin up.

Suggested By: beardedbarsted, Photo Credit: US Army Africa via Flickr

1.) Do The Motorcycle Safety Course


Drivers’ ed in America might be somewhat broken, but motorcycle safety classes are on the ball, for the most part. Reader Justin Hughes can share some information:

This will teach most of what every rider should know before they start riding. Unlike typical automotive driver’s ed, the course will actually teach you how to control your vehicle and do it well. In many places, passing this course replaces your license exam. You can walk in with a learner’s permit and never having ridden a bike before, and walk out a license and the basic skills you need to ride safely.


Suggested By: Justin Hughes, Photo Credit: Public Affairs Office Fort Wainwright via Flickr

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!


Top Photo Credit: Aberdeen Proving Grounds via Flickr

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