Picture yourself on a motorcycle, guiding your ride past majestic scenery, enjoying the freedom of the road. It’s hard to see where safety features into that picture, isn’t it? But safety for motorcycles is a serious matter, one worthy of your attention if you ride.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It’s a great time to make sure your bike is up-to-speed and ready for the road.

  • Check the frame for signs of road damage, paint lifting or cracks. Inspect the tires and wheels, looking for worn tread, bent or missing spokes, cracks, bent rims, and excess grease around seals.
  • Look for cracks, cuts or loose connections in cables and hoses. Check that chains and belts are tight, fit securely, and are lubricated.
  • Make sure the throttle, levers, stands and pedals are secure and respond to reasonable effort. Grips should turn easily when needed and not have worn surfaces.
  • Make sure your muffler is in good working order.
  • Check that the mirror is clean and provides an undistorted view.
  • Test that the battery, lights, signals and switches are in good working order.
  • Look over your personal equipment, looking for cracks, frayed fabric or holes in your helmet, eye protection, gloves, etc.
  • Keep the bike in good working order. Give it a tune-up and keep up with routine maintenance.
  • If you haven’t ridden for some time, take the bike to a parking lot for a test run. Make sure the steering is responsive, the brakes work smoothly, and your signals and lights work.
  • Take a refresher course. Community colleges and motorcycle boosters often offer these courses, which provide reminders on basic and advanced safety and accident avoidance techniques.
  • Make sure your registration, license and insurance is up-to-date. If you’ve customized or added accessories, check with your agent that the new features are properly insured.
  • If you tow your bike with a trailer, look into trailer insurance for extra protection.

When it comes to keeping safe on the road, there are a few tips to keep in mind for both motorcycle drivers and other motorists.

For motorcycle drivers

  • Try and avoid driving in poor weather conditions
  • Use turn signals for every turn or lane change
  • Make sure to stay out of other drivers blind spots

For other motorists

  • Allow for greater distances when following a motorcycle
  • Do not try and share a lane with a motorcycle, never try to share a lane with a motorcycle
  • Make sure to use extra caution when going through an intersection