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Motorcycle Safety Part I: Preparing To Hit The Road

When readying yourself to ride a motorbike, what's to prepare? Do I just get on it and ride? Not quite. There are three things to prepare before riding: the motorcycle, your physical self, and your mental self. If any one of these is not properly prepared, the motorcycle ride might not be enjoyable and could even be dangerous.


Two major differences between cars and motorbikes are stability (two wheels versus four) and vulnerability (harder to see and do not have energy absorbing protective body structure). These differences make it imperative that the motorbike be in top operating condition. A mechanical problem that might be manageable in a car could be disastrous on a motorbike. If anything were to happen to reduce its stability, it might take a lot of effort to control the motorbike and bring yourself to safety. Start with a careful review of the motorbike. If you suspect something on it is not operating properly, don't ride the bike. Have the potential problem checked out and corrected. Once parked on the seat, you shouldn't worry about whether the motorcycle will make it to your destination without breaking down. There are plenty of other things to think about.

Begin checking the motorcycle from the ground up. The first thing to consider is the tires -- as they help steer, brake and assist with acceleration. Check for proper inflation, cracks, or foreign objects like nails embedded in the tread. Because a spare tire can't be carried on a motorcycle, a flat can be a tremendous hassle. Check the tread for sufficient depth (1/16") and even wear for optimal traction. If the tires are overinflated, the tread will wear in the center. If the tires are underinflated, the sides of the tread will be worn.