Common Mistakes Made by Motorcycle Riders
We have all been newbies, rookies, and beginners. We all know there are certain steps we need to take, and that there will be mistakes.
Some of the mistakes we list here don’t only apply to inexperienced riders, as we’re sure you will realize while you read this article, and you find yourself nodding your head saying “yep, I’ve done that”.
One mistake not on this list but one you should avoid is buying cheap paint. Always make sure to buy high-quality motorcycle paint for any touch ups or new custom looks. Shameless plug done, let’s move on to the list!
We have all found ourselves at one some point in our riding career braking mid-corner because we thought we were going too fast.
If you do find yourself in this situation, don’t grab for the brake lever, just look for the exit of the corner and maintain constant throttle. This is easier said than done, but it will work, just believe in yourself.
The best advice is to learn what your skill level is and how to corner properly, which takes practice. But if you do find yourself in a sticky situation, brave through it and learn from your mistakes.
Manhole Covers and Other Road Markings
In the dry, manhole covers and other road markings can be slippery, especially under breaking, acceleration or mid-corner, but they can be absolutely lethal in wet weather.
The best advice: avoid them. If it is not safe to avoid them, then slow down your speed and try to go over them in a straight line under constant throttle, avoiding jerking movements.
Overconfidence in Lane-Splitting
Hundreds of bikers are involved in accidents due to lane-splitting in fast lanes (highways, peripherals, national roads, etc. during peak rush hours). The number of accidents almost makes people want to give up riding, but the joy of riding a motorcycle is so you can save time in traffic jams.
Our advice is to limit your speed, this is key, as it will give you more reaction time if the worst happens. The other thing to do is to make sure other motorists have seen you, look for their eyes in their rear-view mirror.
Choosing Bad Parking Spots
This is just annoying rather than dangerous. Especially parking on a slope.
The issue with parking on a slope is that bikes don’t have reverse gear, so no matter how you park, either back end in first or front, you will need to push your bike. Now, bikes, as we know, are not light and moving it backwards with the power of your legs, without slipping or falling off, is hard work.
If you have to park in this kind of spot, make sure you’re not alone. This way a friend can help you push your bike. Or just look for a flat spot to park and walk a little bit extra to your destination.
Forgetting Your Lock or Chain
Who hasn’t? I know I have been in a rush to get to work or whatever and completely forgot to take my lock off. The crunching sound will then ring in your ears for the rest of the day.
If you use a disk brake, the easiest way to avoid this is by having the small neon cord that attaches to your handlebars to visually remind you it is on. Get one. They are cheap. Just get one. If you, like me, use a chain on your rear wheel, spray it bright colors or buy one with some color, so you can see it before you jump on your bike and remember to take it off.
Ride to Music
I am guilty of this. You don’t realize it is a mistake until it happens.
When you ride a motorcycle, you need your senses to be at their best to see and hear any potential risks. As riders, we are at a higher risk than other road users, that is a fact. So, don’t ride with music, allow yourself to hear what is going on around you. Plus, the sound of your engine should be music to your ears anyway.
Poor Clutch Control
Clutch control is often difficult for new riders to grasp. I guess that is why many don’t move on from a twist-and-go style of machine. Your clutch needs to be treated gently and tenderly, and not like a switch you flick on and off.
The clutch on a bike is very different to that of a car, due to the power to weight ratio. Let go of the clutch too fast with too much revs and your front wheel will fly into the air, not enough revs, you’ll stall. Let go of the clutch too slow with too high revs and again, once the clutch finally lets off, the front wheel is in the air, not enough revs and you will barely move.
The key to good clutch control, just like good throttle control, is to practice. Find an empty parking lot and practice clutch control, slow speed maneuvers and you will quickly become a better and safer rider.
Forget to Cancel Your Turn Signals
Again, I am guilty of doing this. And I am sure it has happened to all of us more often than we care to admit.
More modern bikes now come equipped with self-cancelling turn signals, so if you are lucky to have them, then move on from this point. However, they aren’t as common as you might think, most of us still have to turn our signals off.
Forgetting to turn them off won’t cause a serious accident in most situations. It will probably just annoy the person behind you. However, it could cause a car to pull out in front of you at a junction if they think you are turning off.
Just make a conscious effort to turn them off after every turn, and soon, it will become muscle memory. But don’t worry too much if you do forget.