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For avid riders, nothing beats two wheels on the open road. We know the risks, and we’re willing to accept them, but that doesn’t mean that we have to tempt fate. Follow this checklist to ensure a safe driving experience:

  • Helmet
    Everyone knows you should wear a helmet, but not everyone does it. No doubt about it – there’s something liberating about the wind in your hair at high speeds. But there’s also something mortally dangerous about it. Research suggests that roadside mortalities increase by a factor of time in places with relaxed helmet laws. Rely on helmets that meet British safety standards, and inspect it for cracks and lose parts before setting out.

  • Tyres
    Check the tread on your tyres to ensure you have a continuous band at least 1 mm deep and no less than three-quarters its original breadth. Actually, that’s a legal requirement, and it exists for good reason. Anything less, and you’re putting yourself at risk.

  • Mirrors
    Mirrors are an essential component of the driving experience. Align them so that you can see everything around you. Motorcyclists cannot afford a blind spot, and – unlike four-wheeled motorists – they don’t have to have one. Check for cracks, smudges and loose components.

  • Chassis
    The motorbike chassis (the suspension and frame) is an essential component, and cracks, dents and other damage are not always easy to spot. Even so, they can be the cause of a major accident. Furthermore, if you are buying a second-hand motorcycle, order a bike check online to see if it has been involved in a previous accident. Some damage can be covered up without being corrected.

  • Protective Clothing
    The helmet has your head covered, but you have plenty more worth protecting. Many motorcyclists shy away from protective gear such as leather or textile jackets, gloves and riding shoes because they are expensive. That said, your safety and wellbeing is worth a great deal more. Even a minor accident can cause serious road rash and other abrasions.

  • Fluids
    Check your brake fluid and engine oil before you set out. The latter will protect your motorbike from damage or an unexpected breakdown, while the former guards against a nightmare situation in which you’re unable to stop.

  • Brakes
    Check your brakes and brake pads before setting out. This is easily one of the most important safety checks you can make. The brake fluid reservoirs are located in two places – one on the rear of the motorbike and the other on the handlebars.

  • Lights
    The lights and electronics make you visible to other vehicles on the road, and that’s of vital importance. Periodically check your lights to make sure none of your bulbs are burned out. Check reflectors for damage and inspect your battery terminals for corrosion.

  • Horn
    Some riders don’t realise this, but a working horn is a legal requirement in the UK. Sometimes other drivers don’t notice motorcyclists, and this can be catastrophic. The horn lets you make your presence known in a pinch.

   

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About me: Alice Lees is a freelance writer from CarweB, one of UK's sole providers of vehicle information lookup services and technical data. They also offer analytical reports about the motor industries, and as well as services such as car and bike check.

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