We all suffer from bad habits. Some of us bite our fingernails, others of us leave our wet towels on the floor. Most of our bad habits create minor annoyance for those around us, but a few can be dangerous. When it comes to riding your motorcycle, bad habits can put both you and others at an increased risk of physical injury and harm. These habits may start innocently enough but over time can grow and become overwhelming. The first step to changing these habits is to recognize them in yourself. Read through this list and determine if you are guilty of any of these habits. If you are, work to create new, positive habits that will help keep you and others on the road safe.
Avoid These Motorcycle Bad Riding Habits
- Failing to properly care for and maintain your motorcycle. Motorcycles are not maintenance free! They require regular care in order to keep them functioning in optimal condition and keep you safe. Give you motorcycle a quick once over before you ride. Are the tires in good shape? Do the controls function properly? Is it leaking any oil? If something doesn’t look quite right, do not assume it’s okay and ride anyway. Letting the care of your motorcycle go is a bad habit that you want to avoid. Spend a little time and investigate the problem further. Sometimes it may require a quick adjustment, like more air in your tires. Other signs of trouble may be more significant. Don’t take chances with your safety and your bike.
- Riding with a group at a pace that is too fast for you. Most motorcycle riders agree that one of the best parts of having a motorcycle is riding with a group. The pack mentality is fantastic and can help you be a better biker- but it can mean trouble if you are struggling to keep up. If you are riding with a group and having a difficult time keeping up, fall back a little bit. There is no shame in riding at a slower speed. Going too fast for your ability puts you and others at an increased risk of crashing. Lay off the throttle and enjoy wherever the ride may take you, whether you are with a group or not.
- Stopping at an overpass in the rain. At first glance this may seem like a good move. You are getting off the road and pulling over to a place where you can don your rain gear or just wait until the worst of the weather has passed. But it actually puts you at risk of being struck. Your best bet is to exit and find a parking lot where you can pull in safely. People travel the highway at high speeds and, during wet weather conditions it’s not unusual for cars and trucks to hydroplane. This can send them into the shoulder of the road, and if you have parked there with your bike you might be struck. If an overpass is your last resort, maneuver as far from the road as possible.
- Staring directly at potholes. Again, this sounds counterintuitive. We preach to bikers to be aware of the road and look carefully to avoid potholes. But once you notice a pothole, if you continue to stare directly at it you may find that you strike it. This is due to a phenomenon known as target fixation: you are directly drawn to move in the direction of your gaze. Instead of looking right at the pothole or road hazard, gaze in the direction you intend to travel. This should set you on a straight path and allow you to avoid the pothole.
- Wearing all black on a black bike. Look, I know your black leather jacket is awesome. I get it- I have one, too! It fits with the classic biker look that we all have come to enjoy and it keeps you warm. But when you’re riding, it is important to be visible. If you are wearing all black and you are riding a black motorcycle, you will blend into the asphalt of the road. Instead, choose a jacket or gear that has bright or reflective areas. This doesn’t mean you need to don a psychedelic get up and outshine the sun. It just means that you need to make sure that you and your bike are readily visible and don’t blend into the road around you too much.
- Assuming you are alone on the road. When you are on the road, you are never alone. Sure, the horizon may be void of cars up ahead, but you never know when someone will turn and join you on the road. And it goes without saying you should never assume you are alone on a winding road. Stay in your lane at all times. Don’t assume because you haven’t seen someone for a couple minutes that you can veer into their lane in a curve. That’s a great way to get hit.
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Avoiding these bad riding habits can help keep you safe and protect you from harm when you ride. But no matter how careful you are, motorcycle crashes do occur and injuries can be severe. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash, even if you were partly at fault, contact the experienced motorcycle injury lawyers at Kass & Moses today. They are just a phone call away at 1-800-MOTORCYCLE.