Now that the weather’s finally getting warmer more motorcyclists will be taking off for the open road.
Just a reminder for those in USAREC who ride; before you head out make sure you have all the proper documentation filed with your unit to include form 1236, copies of your driver’s license, registration and insurance for your motorcycle and your Safety Course (MSF) card. Please also abide by the following motorcycle safety tips:
1. Always wear the appropriate attire when riding including a helmet, eye protection, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, raingear if necessary, and high-visibility gear such as reflective vests. The goal is to cover exposed skin from the elements.
Even though some installations don’t require reflective vests and some states do not require helmet use, both are recommended.
2. Know your motorcycle. Know the use of the controls, how to shift gears, how to brake appropriately and be familiar and comfortable with how your bike turns. Always check out your motorcycle prior to riding. Many motorcyclists are fair-weather riders and do not ride for long periods of time. Things can go wrong and the bike can require maintenance even though it’s not been used.
3. Keep up with the maintenance on your motorcycle, know how to troubleshoot minor problems and avoid equipment failures. This will help you remain in control when handling special situations such as emergency braking, skidding, etc.
4. Know your surroundings. Highway and street surfaces are not constructed the same way a racecourse is constructed. You cannot corner and maneuver your motorcycle quite the same way on regular street surfaces the way you can on a track. Watch out for debris and objects in the road.
5. Always adhere to all traffic laws. Violations could not only end your riding season but also your life.
6. Experience is important. Ride often and take part in group rides as well as motorcycle safety courses where you can learn tips and techniques as well as lessons learned from other riders. All military riders are encouraged to take a multitude of rider courses every five years or when they change geographical regions. If you have not ridden your bike in awhile, you might benefit from retaking the course.
7. Riding under the influence is not only illegal but highly dangerous, so don’t to it – it’s not worth risking your life and losing your career. If you take prescribed medication, it’s important to read and understand the proper use and dosage to ensure your medications do not hinder your ability to operate a motorcycle or any vehicle.
8. Get plenty of rest before operating a motorcycle. Motorcycles take more independent actions to operate than does an automobile. You need to be alert in order to properly operate a motorcycle.
9. Always plan out your riding route especially for long distance trips. Know where you will stop for rest breaks, and to get food and fuel. Always let someone know where you are going, especially if you’re riding alone.
10. Make smart choices about the types of motorcycles you choose to own and operate. Choose a bike that you can handle. If you don’t feel comfortable and confident riding anything larger than a 600 CC sport-bike, then you shouldn’t buy a 1300 CC race-bike just to fulfill a popularity contest. Wait until you get more experience before moving up to larger and more powerful bikes.