Avoid Distraction



We all know distracted driving is a bad idea, but it's worse when you're riding a motorbike. One of the keys to staying safe on a motorcycle is staying hyper-aware of everything that's going on around you. Remember, motorcycles are tough for drivers to see –especially drivers in large cars or vans. You need to see and avoid them, rather than bet on them seeing you. If you're fiddling with your phone or iPod, you're reaction time is cut by several precious seconds, putting you at higher risk of a collision. And running into a Ford Transit while going 60 miles per hour is no one's idea of a good time.

In addition to the risk of distraction, taking your hands off your motorbike lessens your control more than taking your hands off the wheel of your car. Not only is steering compromised, but so is braking, accelerating and shifting. It's just a bad idea. If you're on a motorbike, remove all temptation for distraction. Don't wear headphones, and put your phone where you can't get to it.

Ride Within Your Skills



Riding a motorcycle is a skill, and like all skills, it's something that you need to develop. While you may be fine to go on an easy cruise around town, it takes time to grow the skills you need to be an expert rider. To stay safe, make sure that you always ride within your skill level. Your friends who have been riding longer may be able to go super fast, weave in and out of traffic, or control their motorbikes on curvy roads, but that doesn't mean you should. Take the time to build your skills and only ride in situations where you know your skills are up to the job.

Of course, you should still challenge yourself — that's how your skills grow — but you need to do it in a safe, controlled way. Many motorcycle dealerships offer advanced riding courses where you can practice more advanced maneuvers. And, if you're interested in motorcycle sports, it's easy to find a racing school. Those schools are not only fun, but they help you safely build your skills so that you're safer on the road.

Protect Your Feet



The right shoes are also important to riding safely. To shift gears on a motorbike, you lift up with your toes – so open-toed shoes can become painful fast. Plus, when you're riding a motorbike, you're sitting on the engine and exhaust system, which get hot. It's easy to burn your feet. Not only do open-toed shoes like flip-flops expose your feet while on a motorbike, they can slip off, causing a dangerous situation.

When riding a motorcycle, you want study shoes. Those shoes are the only protection your feet will have. Look for something with a rugged sole. Shoes with smooth soles make it easier for you to slip. When you're at a stop and using your feet to balance, the last thing you want to do is slip and drop your motorbike. Motorcycle shoes should also have sturdy ankle supports and a low heel. You want something that makes it easier for you to balance. Look for shoes or boots in a durable material, like leather, for better protection.

Get the Right Gear



We've all seen people on motorcycles in shorts and flip flops. Those people are not being safe. Since a motorcycle offers little protection in a crash, what riders wear is part of the crash protection system. Even if you aren't in a crash with another vehicle on your motorbike, you could simply lose control and lay the bike down. In that situation, you'll be sliding along on asphalt. That's not something you want to do in shorts.

There's a reason a lot of bikers wear leather: it's strong enough to protect their skin if they slide along the road surface. Plus, motorcycle riders are exposed to other road hazards, like small rocks, insects and cigarette butts, that people in cars are protected from. At 60 miles per hour, even a small rock can sting. Leather gear can help protect you.

Of course, you don't have to look like a reject from “Easy Rider" to ride a motorcycle. A lot of companies specialise in armored motorcycle gear, and it's not all leather. You can get vented motorcycle jackets that keep you cool while keeping you safe. These jackets are made of lightweight, breathable material, but have heavy-duty amour panels in key places (along the spine, torso, shoulders and elbows) to protect the wearer.