Of the eight types of motorcycles on the road, each type provides a different experience for the rider and passenger. The types of two-wheeled motorized transportation include cruisers, standards, supersports, sport, unclad or naked sport, sport-touring, touring and scooters. No matter what type of motorcycle is ridden, a few quick checks before getting on the road can help provide a safer, more enjoyable ride.
Motorcycling, whether for commuting or just for fun, is naturally more risky than driving a car or light truck. Riding a motorcycle safely requires skills such as balance and coordination, alertness and good judgment. Accidents can happen and knowing a motorcycle lawyer can help with recovery.
Motorcycle helmets save lives and can reduce the severity of head injuries in an accident.
Research by NHTSA shows the use of DOT-approved helmets increased slightly in 2018, to 71%, an increase of 6% from 2017. Helmets considered DOT non-compliant were worn by 9% of motorcyclists, up nearly 2% from the year before while motorcyclists without helmets in 2018 dropped to 20% from 27% in 2017.
Motorcycles accidents were 25 percent more likely to cause fatalities for unhelmeted riders and passengers than those wearing helmets. States with the highest unhelmeted motorcyclist fatality rates in 2017 were Florida, Texas, Illinois and Ohio.
Other riding gear should include a leather or ballistic material jacket with long sleeves, denim or durable pants, gloves and protective glasses.
- Tires and Drives
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation says tire pressure should be checked cold before every ride. Look for proper tread depth, uneven wear and punctures. Wheels should be free of damage or cracks along the rim. Each brake should individually keep the bike from rolling and a visual check of the brake pads should confirm pad thickness.
For belt or chain-driven motorcycles, check tension at the tightest point. Chains should be lubricated when hot; do not lubricate a drive belt.
Handlebars, levers, cables and hoses should all be given a once-over before every ride. Bars should be straight and tight, levers should move without kinks and bar ends should be secure. The throttle should move freely and snap back when released.
Check that cables do not interfere with steering and that hoses are not cracked or kinked.
Automobile drivers involved in motorcycle crashes often claim they did not see the motorcycle until was too late. Headlights, brake lights and turn signals are key safety features on a motorcycle because they improve visibility. Operation of all lights should be part of every pre-ride check.
In addition to flipping switches and operating levers to ensure all lights are working, look for cracks in covers and reflectors, that mirror mounts are tight and mirrors are adjusted while seated on the bike.
Engine oil should be checked when warm. The bike should be upright or on a center stand. The sightglass on the brake fluid reservoir should confirm proper fluid level. Gasoline level should be checked either visually or by the tank gauge.
By taking a few minutes for a safety check before every ride, motorcycling can be a great way to get around and enjoy the day.