The first sign of spring used to be a robin in the front yard. Now it's a pack of motorcycles riding down the highway. As we head into the riding season, it never hurts to be reminded of the basics because it's the basics that keep us safe. Accidents are called accidents because they are just that – stuff happens. But as a rider our job is to do whatever we can to put the odds in our favor.
~ 1. Inspect before you ride. It make take a couple of extra minutes, but it's always best before you ride to check the air in your tires, fluids, cables, lights and turn signals. Make it a safety habit.
~ 2. Don't exceed personal limits. This is really important, especially when riding with others. You may be tempted to push yourself to keep up with other riders. DON'T! If you are a beginner, let the others know. They can position you for safety. Discuss what you will do if the ride gets too difficult.
Also, sudden road or weather conditions can change everything. Know our limits and stay within them.
~ 3. Make you own head check. When riding with a group, it can be very easy to just follow the person ahead of you without checking traffic for yourself. No matter how much confidence you have in the other rider – ALWAYS check out traffic for yourself. Just seconds can make all the difference in the world.
~ 4. Be aware of fatigue level. It's easy to make mistakes when you get tired. Try to stay aware of how you're feeling. Keep hydrated. One of the main problems from sun, wind, and dry riding conditions is that it can cause dehydration which can increase your exhaustion level. Make sure you get a good night's rest before long rides. And remember – it never hurts to pull off and chill!
~ 5. Watch out for distractions! With modern conveniences like cell phones and iPods, it's easy to have our mind on other things. Even talking to a passenger can lead to distractions. There can be a major sight or sound distractions all around you. Make sure your first focus is always on the road.
Kathy Tolleson is the founder and CEO of ROAR Motorcycles, Inc.
She lives in Daytona Beach, Florida with her husband, Rodney. Together they have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.
As CEO of ROAR, she has helped bring a fresh look to the female segment of the motorcycle industry. From motorcycles to accessories designed with women in mind, ROAR is impacting the fastest growing segment of the industry with their "out of the box" philosophies.
Kathy is also an author and in 2009 wrote Hear My Roar! Women, Motorcycles and Mental Health, in which she shares her love of motorcycling as well as personal anecdotes to help empower women to be all they can be. Whether you ride or not, her frank look at life will challenge and inspire you. Warning: You could end up buying a motorcycle after reading this book!