If you are a young adult who is preparing to become a motorcycle rider, this is without doubt an exciting time in anyone’s life and safety must always be a priority. Unlike driving a car, you have no bodywork to protect you when riding a bike, therefore, it is imperative that you wear the right gear.
Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when taking up motorcycle riding.
- Wearing inappropriate gear – It is a fact that when human skin comes into contact with the hard road surface, it always comes off second best. It is important to wear a leather jacket and leather trousers, along with a decent quality full-face helmet and complete the outfit with motorcycle boots and gloves. That includes a short ride to the local shops (most accidents occur within 5km of your home) and in the summer, do not be tempted to ride in a T-Shirt and shorts.
- Exceeding speed limits – You might think you have all the skills to open her up on a stretch on open road, and maybe you do, but when you increase your speed, you decrease the reaction time for other drivers. It isn’t only about your abilities, when fast moving traffic encounters an issue in front, this is when accidents happen. The speed limits are in place to protect all road users, besides, in urban areas, you’ll soon pick up a ticket.
- Riding illegally – You might think it won’t matter to ride without insurance for a few days, yet if you are involved in an accident, you have a major problem and if you caused the accident, you will liable for all damage. Riding without a licence immediately nulls your insurance and if you are caught, you are looking at a fine and possible disqualification. Road tax needs to be renewed annually (this includes your Po-Or-Bor insurance in Thailand) and you will be fined if the traffic police notice your tag has expired. You can apply for motorbike insurance from a leading Thai insurer with the lowest premiums and great cover.
- Miss a service – Just like any vehicle, a motorcycle needs to be maintained according to a specific set of mileage points, so keep your eye on the total kms and book the bike in for a service at the dealership. They will change the engine oil, check the plugs, tension the rear chain and make sure your brake pads are in good shape. The mechanic would give the bike a detailed inspection, replacing what is needed and checking tyres for wear and correct PSI. When your machine is regularly serviced, you can ride with some confidence, knowing that there are no issues. Here are a few more reasons to take up motorcycle riding, as if you needed any more reasons!
- Buy the wrong bike – What starts as love at first sight could quickly become regret; resist the temptation to buy the first bike you like – there are half a dozen bike manufacturers, each with a wide range of styles and engine sizes and you should book a test ride on any bike that hits your hot button. Sure, you could sell it and buy the right bike, but that would cost you money that you can’t afford to waste; better to be sure first time out. The big players include Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki, all offering state of the art machines from sports racers to street mean naked bikes. If touring is on the menu, a Harley Davidson would be an epic choice, or one of the big touring machines from a major Japanese manufacturer, the choice is yours.
If you approach this milestone of your life with some forethought and avoid all of the above, your bike riding experience will be long and rewarding. Most novice riders sign up for a half-day basic riding tuition course, which teaches you how to control the bike on a range of surfaces, and this will help you when you get out on the road.