As you are new to riding a motorbike you will have no doubt had lessons and be fully aware of the rules of the road. However, as you are new there are some skills that you will need to improve on over time to ensure that your personal safety and that of everyone else on the road is in good hands. It may take a few months to perfect these habits, but with time and a little effort, you will become a much better motorcyclist.
1. Tuck your heels in
If you are new to riding a motorbike this may seem a little counter-intuitive as you will probably want to keep your feet straight. The moment that you try “keeping your heels in” you will notice that you feel much more stable and in control of the bike.
2. Legs tight, loose arms
When you’re riding, your arms should be relaxed but in control of the vehicle. Try to consciously relax your muscles and not hold on too tight. This might be a little tricky at first as you may be a little tense for your first few rides. Just keep it in mind and if you catch yourself tensing up, take a deep breath and relax your upper body. This will also be much more comfortable on longer rides as if you are tense the entire time you’re on the bike your back will hurt a great deal.
Keeping your thighs squeezed tight on the bike as you ride will make sure that any movement you make will be controlled and not at the whim of the road. You will feel a huge difference by doing this at all times, although it may take some time to make it feel natural.
3. Don’t brake or speed up while turning
This is a golden rule of riding a motorbike. Braking during a turn will straighten the bike right away and you will overcompensate and lose control. This can be very bad when travelling at speed when other cars are around. Accelerating during a turn will also cause you to lose control, by keeping a constant speed through your turns you will be able to safely recover and continue on. This will have been covered in your lessons, but as a new driver that is used to driving a car, it can be hard to get out of the habit.
4. Look ahead to where you’re going to be
This is especially important while turning but applies to all motorcycle riding. You will need to keep an eye on what is happening ahead of you at all times. This can be a lifesaver. If you only look directly ahead during a turn you may miss something that you need to avoid around the bend. This is known as looking through the turn.
5. Keep the visor down
Wearing eye protection is essential for anyone on a motorcycle. You will be travelling at speed so you will be at the mercy of bugs, dirt, rocks and anything else that could hit your eye and cause temporary loss of vision. Make sure you are equipped with the necessary motorcycle gear to increase the safety of your ride.
6. Don’t trust anyone
As a motorcyclist you are vulnerable, even the smallest tap at speed can lead to catastrophe. Even the most experienced riders can run afoul of a terrible driver that is not paying attention. You should make sure that any car you are passing has seen you by making eye contact. Sometimes car drivers will move without looking. A good rule of thumb is to imagine that your motorbike is invisible. Assuming that no one can see you means that you will always be prepared to act as if they haven’t seen you.