Summer motorcycle road trips are a popular activity for many riders. The open road, the feeling of the wind on your face, and the thrill of adventure are why people choose to embark on this type of trip. However, with the excitement comes the potential for danger if proper safety precautions aren’t followed.
Perform an Inspection of Your Motorcycle
Performing an inspection of your motorcycle is crucial to ensuring that your bike is in good working condition before hitting the road. Regular inspections can help prevent potential breakdowns or accidents and prolong your motorcycle’s life.
- Fluid levels: Check your motorcycle’s oil, coolant, and brake fluid levels. Low levels can indicate a leak or other problem that should be addressed before riding. Riding with low fluid levels can result in overheating and catastrophic engine failure.
- Tires: Check the condition of your tires, including the tread depth and any signs of wear or damage. In New York, tires must have a minimum tread depth of 2⁄32”. You can check using the Penny Test.
Also, ensure the tire pressure is at the manufacturer’s recommended level. The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association recommends a cold tire pressure of 36 and 40 PSI.
- Brakes: According to the New York DMV, all motorcycles must have brakes in good working order to stop the bike within 25 feet at 20 MPH on a hard, dry surface. Test your brakes to make sure they are functioning correctly. Check the brake pads for wear and replace them if necessary.
- Lights: Check that all lights, including headlights, turn signals, and brake lights, are working correctly. Your license plate light should provide enough illumination so that the plate is visible from 50 feet.
- Chain or belt: Inspect your motorcycle’s chain or belt for wear and proper tension. Lubricate the chain if necessary.
- Suspension: Check that the suspension functions properly and make any necessary adjustments.
- Battery: Check the battery’s charge and ensure the terminals are clean and tight. Visually inspect it for any cracks, leaks, or signs of damage. Then, use a multimeter to test the voltage of the battery. A good battery should read around 12.6 volts or higher when fully charged.
- Controls: Test the clutch, throttle, and brakes to ensure they work correctly. Start the engine and ensure the clutch engages and disengages smoothly. Then, check that the throttle responds correctly and the brakes engage and release evenly. Finally, test-ride the bike and verify everything is functioning properly.
Wear Protective Gear
Wearing proper protective gear is essential when riding a motorcycle. It can help protect you from injuries in an accident and provide comfort during hot weather conditions.
- Cooling vests: Cooling vests are an excellent option for hot weather riding. These vests use evaporative cooling technology and ice packs to help regulate body temperature and keep you cool. They can be worn under a jacket and provide a cooling effect lasting several hours.
- Ventilated full-face helmet: A ventilated full-face helmet can help keep your head cool during hot weather rides. A full-face helmet protects the entire head, including the face, chin, and jaw, which are some of the most vulnerable areas during an accident. A well-fitted full-face helmet can improve visibility and reduce fatigue by reducing wind noise and turbulence.
Look for DOT-approved helmets with good ventilation and moisture-wicking lining to help keep sweat from building up.
- Riding jacket, pants, and gloves: Riding jackets and pants are essential protective gear for any rider and can help regulate body temperature. Gloves can help protect your hands from injuries and provide a better grip on the handlebars.
In the summer, look for garments made from lightweight and breathable materials, such as mesh or perforated leather, to provide airflow and keep you cool. Garments should have bright colors to improve visibility and reduce the risk of accidents.
Take Frequent Snack Breaks to Stretch and Hydrate
Taking frequent snack breaks during a motorcycle ride is essential to keep your body nourished, hydrated, and energized. Taking breaks every few hours is critical to prevent fatigue and avoid dehydration, especially during hot weather rides. Snacks such as fruit, nuts, and protein bars can provide nutrition to keep you going.
It’s also essential to stretch your muscles and take short walks during breaks to prevent muscle stiffness and fatigue. Hydrating is also crucial, so drink plenty of water or sports drinks during breaks to replenish the fluids lost during the ride.
Know the Traffic Laws and Drive Defensively
Knowing traffic laws and driving defensively are crucial aspects of safe motorcycle riding. As a rider, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the traffic laws and regulations of the area you’re riding in to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. This includes understanding speed limits, traffic signals, and right-of-way rules.
It’s also essential to drive defensively and be aware of other drivers on the road. Watch for signs of distracted or aggressive driving and be prepared to react quickly if necessary. Maintaining a minimum two-second distance from other vehicles, using turn signals, and making yourself visible are all ways to drive defensively and prevent accidents.
Contact a New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer After an Accident
Unfortunately, even with the best safety precautions, accidents can still happen. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to seek legal advice from a qualified and experienced attorney who can protect you from bias and fight for your rights.
Catalano Law is a firm that specializes in personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents. We have the expertise and resources to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.