Safety should be a top priority for every motorcycle rider, whether following the  comfort zone of a long, uneventful riding season or the excitement of a new season.  Remember it’s easy to forget the safety basics.
Your motorcycle has to be as ready for each ride as it was at the beginning of the last riding season – which means checking your motorcycle to ensure that it meets all the basic safety checks and requirements.
This motorcycle safety checklist will help you remember to cover everything you need to prepare for an enjoyable and safe spring motorcycle riding season.
·        Tires: Check the tread on your tires. Don’t wait for your next inspection…you’ll want to have good tread to drive safely through showers and thunderstorms. Make sure that the rubber isn’t drying out, cracking, or otherwise damaged. Finally, check the pressure in your tires – it can affect the way your bike handles.
·        Fluids: Check all oil and fluid levels (refer to your owner’s manual for your bike’s specs). Improper levels will negatively affect engine performance and motorcycle handling.
·        Lights: Test your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and four-way flashers. Check the indicators on the dash as well. Motorcycle safety depends on motorcycle visibility; your lights are how you remain visible on the road.
·        Controls: Do an overall check of your bike’s controls, making sure there are no leaks or rust along the lines.
·        Throttle: Test the clutch and throttle. The throttle should snap back when you let go; the clutch should feel tight and smooth.
·        Brakes: Test the front and rear brakes one at a time. Make sure each feels firm and holds the motorcycle when the brake is pushed down the whole way. You won’t be able to ride safely if you can’t stop your motorcycle when you need to.
·        Horn: Check the horn. You need to be able to alert other drivers of where you are.
·        Mirrors: Adjust your mirrors before you begin moving. You should be able to see the lane behind you and the lane next to you. You can’t guarantee that other drivers will pay attention to you, so your safety depends on you being able to keep track of them.
·        Motor: Like going to your doctor nobody knows your symptoms like you.  This is true of your motorcycle too.  You don’t have to be a mechanic to know something is not right.  Check to see any fluid leaks,  listen for rattles and that the motor is running smoothly (both while idling and while riding on the road).  If your not a mechanic or are unsure it never hurts to ask, stop by your favorite repair shop and ask them what you should watch or listen for (there are some great tech articles on the Motorcycle R.A.G. web site).  Is it getting proper gas mileage?  Is it skipping during the idle? Is it not starting smoothly?  These and so much more can create an unsafe event on the open road if something goes wrong.  Whether riding solo or riding in a group your machine should be reliable and safe for you and everyone who shares the road with you. ·        Helmet & Gear: Your motorcycle safety check should extend to your gear as well. Your helmet should be free of cracks and fit snugly. Your leathers and armor should fit well and be free of any damage that undermines their integrity. Be sure that your helmet is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Wearing a helmet greatly increases your chance of survival if you’re in an accident.
When riding your motorcycle, always practice defensive riding, ride like you are invisible but still vulnerable. Visit the AMA web site and become familiar with your state laws , as well as the insurance laws. And last but not least, don’t drink and drive/ride. Check back for more updates on safety and Roads and Destinations…  Ride Safe, Hard and Smart… and never ride hungry!
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