12 Safety Tips Seasoned Riders Swear By

By Mary Panerio

Living on the edge is part of what makes riding a motorcycle so gratifying. But when your safety is on the line, do you know everything you should about when it’s important to play by the rules?

You can learn a lot about motorcycle safety from a safety course, and we certainly suggest every rider take one. However, there’s a lot to be learned from experienced riders that you might not pick up in a safety course. That’s why we’ve compiled this list for you that includes 12 motorcycle safety tips from some of the industry’s top professionals, as well as seasoned riders. Keep reading…they may just change the way you ride!

1. Ride with people who know how to ride and that you trust.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but ask yourself how often have you ridden with someone who was intoxicated, showing off or didn’t know how to handle their bike or the situation they were in? I ride alone a lot because there are only a few people in this world I would share a lane with. No amount of safety will save you from someone else more than this one.
– Masyn Moyer, Rider for 25+ years


2. Be Seen.
Brown and black apparel is not our friend on the road. If you blend in, others cannot see you. Wear something bright, or safety neon apparel that is offered by many motorcycle companies. One of my favorite equipment pieces is a nylon mesh vest with neon reflective taping.
– Diva Amy Skaling, Put 70,000+ miles on her Diva Glide in five years


3. Wear the right gloves.
My smaller hands have a harder time maneuvering the clutch. This is important when you think about what elements affect your reactions in an emergency situation. I look for thinner leather gloves for better control…but then my fingers often get cold. Heated grips fixed that problem. In the summers, I dig out my old horse riding gloves, as they are a thinner leather and are reasonably priced. I love my Harley gauntlet gloves for cool weather riding.
– Michelle Radcliffe, Rode her Street Glide through South Africa, Rome, Malaysia and Singapore with Davidson family in 2013


4. Never ride tired.
Never ride tired. And I mean NEVER! Stop every 75-125 miles. Every rider knows their tolerance. And we all seem to like to push it. Set your rule. Stop. Stretch. Refresh yourself and your brain.
– Joan Krenning, Logged over 32,000 miles in the past 10 months, taking focus to a new level


5. Always keep at least a 20-foot cushion between you and fellow riders.
– Lisa Bone, Logged 52,000 miles in the past four years


6. When riding in a group and there is oncoming traffic, be sure and let them know how many riders are behind you.
If the oncoming rider or vehicle does not signal in kind, assume there are others and proceed with caution.
– Tigra Tsujikawa, Powersports Industry Professional and Enthusiast


7. Feather your clutch on slower tighter turns.
All clutch or no clutch leads to tipping your bike when making moves such as turning into a parking lot, making a u-turn, or following a group of slower-moving riders. By feathering your clutch, it allows you to have the perfect amount of momentum you need to make the turn.
– Jessi Combs, Rider for 24 years


8. Use the “outside, inside, outside” path of travel.
When riding in a curve, remember to start at the outside part of your lane, move to the inside part in the curve, then back to the outside. It straightens out the curve.
– Christine Paige-Diers, Sturgis Motorcycle
Museum & Hall of Fame


9. Leave room for an escape route.
When I come to a signal and stop, I stay in gear and watch the traffic coming up behind me. I will always leave room for an escape route.
– Tigra Tsujikawa Powersports Industry Professional and Enthusiast


10. Always look where you want to go.
If you are looking at a curb, you’re most likely going to hit the curb. If your looking off the cliff you don’t want to ride off of, you’re bound to freak out and hit the brakes or go over the edge. If traffic suddenly stops and you’re staring at the cars in front of you, you may become their new rear bumper. Instead, look for a clear spot, look through the turn, look where you want to go… it never fails and will keep you confident and up on two wheels.
– Jessi Combs, Rider for 24 years


11. Ride your own ride.
If you’re in a group and they’re riding faster than you are comfortable with, hang back and go your own speed.
– Christine Paige-Diers, Sturgis Motorcycle
Museum & Hall of Fame


12. Be wary of semi trucks.
I do not ride next to semi trucks, and when I go to pass make sure to get in the drivers mirror so he/she knows I’m there. I will go when I can pass quickly and safely. Large trucks cause wind turbulence and other drivers have trouble seeing a motorcycle around a large vehicle.
– Tigra Tsujikawa, Powersports Industry Professional and Enthusiast


If you recognize these seasoned riders, it may be because many have participated as riders or speakers in the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s annual Biker Belles celebration. Reconnect and tell them what you think of their tips in the comments section below!