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Guest Post: Keys to a Safer Ride

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As the weather starts to heat up, many of us will be itching to take to the streets on our two wheelers. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting out on your motorcycle or scooter. But along with that great feeling comes dangers we should all watch for.

  • Go over your two-wheeler carefully before heading out. You should give your bike or scooter a thorough review every time you use it. But pay special attention when getting it out after winter storage. Tire condition, air pressure, fluid levels, suspension, lights, brakes and more can change while the machine is in storage. Make sure all your systems are safe and fully functioning.
  • Wear proper gear every time. The goal is to make it to your destination and back without incident. But if you do have an issue, you will be glad you took the time to don a jacket, helmet, gloves and boots, even for a short ride.
  • You’re not the only biker back on the road. With the advent of warmer weather, the streets are suddenly flooded with motorcycles and scooters. Other road users should be paying plenty of attention, but your smaller profile isn’t as obvious as cars and trucks, especially in congested urban areas.
  • Other road users may easily not see you. Bright or reflective clothing will help, but the best thing you can do is ride defensively. Be sure there is plenty of room between you and the other vehicles on the road.
  • Give yourself extra time to get to where you are going. Between the extra time to check over your bike and the time it takes to put on your gear, you’ll need 10 minutes or more of additional time before heading out. The need to hurry causes us to be less cautious in our actions. And you don’t want to be anxious while on two wheels.
  • Sign up for a riding course. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new rider or veteran rider. The Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program offers free basic rider courses for beginning riders. BRC2, which allows you to improve basic skills on your own bike, and advanced courses are also available for more experienced riders.
  • Know where and how to park. The Philadelphia Parking Authority has special rules for motorcycles and scooters. And the city offers parking corrals for bikes. You can find the “Do’s and Don’ts” here.

The keys to city riding are to remain focused, ride defensively and gear up. Have a great riding season!

 

Marie Wuelleh is the recreational riding and volunteer manager for the American Motorcyclist Association.

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