Spring is here! While the weather has ranged from the mid-seventies to sudden snow squalls, we’re looking forward to long stretches of prime riding conditions. As we prepare for warmer days with less precipitation and more daylight hours, it’s always important to keep safety in mind before you head out for a ride. After all, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
1. Prep Your Bike
Even if your motorcycle was properly winterized, it will likely require some maintenance before your first adventure. All riders should perform checks on the basic parts, including:
- Fuel: Adding fresh gasoline will make for a smoother riding experience. Also check the tank, fuel lines and fittings for cracks or leaks.
- Oil and Fluids: Check all fluids and either drain or top off with fresh fluids for optimal performance. In the process, check all hose connections for wear and tear.
- Brakes: Check the pads and discs for signs of wear, clean the rotors and lube the hand lever and throttle cables.
- Big Picture: Check to see if the fork and steering head feel loose and tighten if needed. Ensure all lights, switches, electronics and gauges work properly.
- Battery Check: Keeping your battery charged is a key step of bike winterization. If you kept it on a trickle charge, clean off the cables and terminals, then reconnect it. Otherwise, you may need a new battery.
2. Practice Your Skills
Take a cruise around the block to get back into the motions of riding. Tailor your warm-up rides toward:
- Going around corners
- Counter-steering and push steering
- Going around obstacles
- Looking ahead for potential hazards
- Emergency stops
- Lane changes
- Sharp turns
3. Prep Your Gear
Spring days can give way to potential storms and colder evenings, so always have extra clothing packed to stay warm and dry. Being poorly dressed for cold, rainy weather may result in hypothermia, especially if you’re far from home with nowhere to stop. Check your gear’s in good shape for another season:
- Boot soles and fasteners for treads and grip
- Pants for rips and thinning material
- Hip and knee inserts should be able to stay in place
- Jacket’s zippers, shoulders and back area
- Gloves for worn-away materials
4. Ride Defensively
Many motorists have not seen a motorcycle in months, so your presence on the road could be a surprise. For this reason, stay visible with bright and reflective clothing, ride with your head on a swivel and avoid vehicle blind spots.
Furthermore, be cautious when approaching an intersection and look both ways multiple times before pulling into traffic.
Motorists are just one potential hazard you could face. Because roads are still being repaired from winter damage and temperatures can still plunge in the evenings, be prepared to react to:
- Damp patches
- Black ice
- Uneven pavement
- Potholes and asphalt cracks
As such, always look ahead for potential hazards, so you can be prepared to slow down or drive around any obstructions.
No matter how safe you are, motorcycle accidents can still happen. As riders ourselves, Trantolo & Trantolo understands the challenges bikers face and are prepared to protect your rights. To pursue a motorcycle accident claim, contact us today.