I recently heard that a family friend who is a complete car person is thinking about getting a motorcycle.
I of course was super excited.
Then I wanted to write him a long email with tons of advice that he might need, but most likely does not want to hear. However, it doesn’t make it bad advice, and since my younger brother is still threatening to start riding, I can pretend this is to him also.
There are just three or so things that I would consider so important that I would waste anyone’s time lecturing on them. Most of these are not things that I came up with on my own. They are things I’ve picked up from reading about motorcycles non stop for the last five years. They are also founded on the Hurt Report (the only comprehensive study on motorcycle accidents in the USA, sadly 30 years old).
Enough about where I got these, here they are:
Most importantly, wear gear. All the time. Even down the street to the Starbucks. Now I know it’s a pain to deal with, but at the very least gloves, helmet, jacket and boots. If I could find a pair of comfortable riding jeans I would never ride with out full protection.
Get training. Take the MSF. Go to a track day or three. The difference in your riding is amazing. The flip side to this is take it easy and practice some before you throw yourself out into traffic.
Don’t drink and Ride. Even a little. The links between deaths on motorcycles and alcohol is insane. Something like 40% of all motorcycle deaths are alcohol related. I mean if you think about how much coordination riding takes (especially when you’re new to it) and how much even a little alcohol can affect this, how can it go together with out possible disaster.
There are others, like don’t ride with groups, be careful with your front brake in the dirt, and a bunch of other random little things. Those three will be enough to avoid many a lot of potential suffering.
I don’t want to scare people away from motorcycles, quite the opposite, I just don’t want your fun to be ruined because I neglected to say something.
It really is some of the most fun I’ve ever had.