If you’ve just started riding a motorcycle, you may find yourself making a few small mistakes here and there. Like doing anything new, riding a motorcycle requires practice before you feel entirely comfortable on the machine. However, while there’s nothing wrong with making a few mistakes, you do want to be sure you don’t make mistakes that lead to injuries. By understanding some of the common mistakes new motorcycle riders make, you’ll be able to avoid them.
Many of the mistakes below can lead to motorcycle accidents. While a traffic accident can throw you for a loop, you must seek medical attention if needed right away. Below is some excellent advice from a California accident attorney.
Eliot M. Houman, an attorney at The Accident Guys in Victorville, explains, “After an accident, it’s important to photograph the damage to all the vehicles involved and obtain the other driver’s insurance information. I recommend not engaging in any small talk with the involved parties to avoid accidentally providing information that may work against you.”
Not Following the Rules of the Road
Even though you’re riding a motorcycle instead of driving a car, you’re still expected to follow all of the road rules and all posted traffic signs. While some of the things you need to do to follow these rules are the same as you would do in a car, some are different. For example, motorcycles don’t have a rearview mirror to check. Instead, you need to look over your shoulder. This may take some getting used to, but you must incorporate looking behind you into your riding habits. Remember that just because your motorcycle may be smaller than other vehicles, you need to remain in one lane and not attempt to drive between lanes.
Using the Clutch Lever
If you aren’t comfortable using your bike’s clutch lever, you may find yourself stalling out several times. When the lever is completely pushed in, your bike will not move regardless of how much throttle you give it. However, if you don’t slowly release the clutch, the engine will stall. It can take a little bit of practice to get a good feel for your motorcycle’s clutch and how much throttle you need to apply. Fortunately, while stalling does happen a lot in the beginning, you’ll naturally stop making this mistake as you become more comfortable with how your motorcycle responds.
Trying to Shift with the Kickstand Down
A safety feature most motorcycles have shuts down the engine if you have the kickstand down when trying to shift into gear. If you forget and try to do this, you may find yourself on the pavement. Fortunately, you’ll soon get into the habit of picking up the kickstand before you start riding, though sometimes even experienced riders forget now and then.
Turning Off Your Turn Signals
Some motorcycles do have turn signals that turn off as cars do. However, many don’t. This means you might forget to turn off the signal and drive for miles with it on. While this may not necessarily result in an accident right away, it can confuse drivers behind you and make you feel embarrassed. Canceling your turn signal will eventually become second-nature to you, but in the beginning, you will need to remember always to turn off your signals once you’ve completed your lane change or turn.
Failing to Refuel
One difference between cars and motorcycles that many people don’t realize is that some motorcycles don’t have fuel gauges. This means it’s very easy to run out of fuel if you’re not paying attention. You need to know your motorcycle’s fuel range so you know how many miles you can ride before you need to refuel. However, the range isn’t the only factor in refueling. The way you ride and what type of riding you’re doing also play a part in your fuel usage. If you’re starting and stopping a lot, you’ll use up more fuel than if you were cruising.
Having a Feel for Your Bike and Traffic
This isn’t necessarily a mistake but a reminder that it takes time to get a good feel for your motorcycle and how it operates in traffic. You may find yourself leaving too little or even too much space between your bike and other vehicles or failing to take off and stop smoothly. Over time, you’ll get better at these things. Just remember to give yourself that time and to avoid making as many common mistakes as possible. Once you’re comfortable with your motorcycle, driving it will become instinctual, and you’ll be able to focus on enjoying the ride.