Five Essential Safety Tips For New Motorcycle Riders

As a new motorcycle rider, safety is probably one of your chief concerns. Even if you don't spend a lot of time thinking of safety yourself, your friends and family members likely urge you to be safe whenever you head out the door to ride. So, how do you go about being safe as a new rider? Here are five essential tips.

1. Buy a Bike You Can Handle

That powerful sport bike may have to wait a year or two until you have more miles under your belt. For your first bike, you are better off going with something on the smaller, lighter side so you can handle it with confidence. Also, make sure your bike fits you well. When you go shopping for bikes, ask the salesperson to evaluate the fit of bikes you sit on. Ask them to recommend bikes that fit you, and not just ones that are fun to drive.

2. Opt for Anti-Lock Brakes

Bikes with anti-lock brakes cost more and may not be as "cool" as bikes without ABS brakes. However, ABS brakes are very important for safety, especially when you are a new driver. If you get caught in the rain or on a slippery road, the brakes can stop you from going down. 

3. Wear a Jacket

Obviously, you should wear a helmet for safety, but a proper motorcycle jacket is also important for your protection. Should you take a fall, road rash is a very serious, real threat. A jacket made of leather or very strong nylon can protect your skin and prevent the need for numerous skin grafts. You may not enjoy the warmth that comes with riding with a jacket in summer, but warmth is better than road rash.

4. Take a Safety Course

Some states require drivers to take a safety course before issuing a motorcycle license. Even if this is not a requirement in your state, taking a safety course is a good idea. You will learn ways to stay calm and react properly when in an emergency situation, and also defensive driving tactics to help prevent crashes. Safety courses are more fun than you might assume; you'll even meet new friends who you can ride with.

5. Steer Clear of Bad Weather

If it looks like it's going to rain, don't take your bike out that day. Riding in the rain is not safe, even for experienced drivers. The reduced visibility and slippery road surfaces make accidents more likely. Other drivers are less likely to see and avoid you, too.