General Guidelines for Riding a Motorcycle Safely
- Remember that motorists often have trouble seeing motorcycles and reacting in time.
- Make sure your headlight works and is on day and night.
- Use reflective strips or decals on your clothing and on your motorcycle.
- Be aware of the blind spots cars and trucks have.
- Flash your brake light when you are slowing down and before stopping.
- If a motorist doesn't see you, don't be afraid to use your horn.
Dress for safety:
- Wear a quality helmet and eye protection.
- Wear bright clothing and a light-colored helmet.
- Wear leather or other thick, protective clothing.
- Choose long sleeves and pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
- Remember – the only thing between you and the road is your protective gear.
Apply effective mental strategies:
- Constantly search the road for changing conditions. Use MSF's Search, Evaluate, Execute strategy (SEESM) to increase time and space safety margins.
- Give yourself space and time to respond to other motorists' actions.
- Give other motorists time and space to respond to you.
- Use lane positioning to be seen; ride in the part of a lane where you are most visible.
- Watch for turning vehicles.
- Signal your next move in advance.
- Avoid weaving between lanes.
- Pretend you're invisible, and ride extra defensively.
- Don't ride when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Know and follow the rules of the road, and stick to the speed limit.
Know your bike and how to use it:
- Get formal training and take refresher courses.
- Call 800.446.9227 or visit www.msf-usa.org to locate the Motorcycle Safety Foundation hands-on RiderCourseSM nearest you.
- Practice. Develop your riding techniques before going into heavy traffic. Know how to handle your bike in conditions such as wet or sandy roads, high winds, and uneven surfaces.
Remember: Give yourself space. People driving cars often just don't see motorcycles. Even when drivers do see you, chances are they've never been on a motorcycle and can't properly judge your speed.
Information provided by: Motorcycle Safety Foundation