BEFORE YOU RIDE:  Pre-Ride Motorcycle Safety Checklist

Never let a preventable problem be a cause of a motorcycle crash or injury.  Here's how...

Pre-Ride Safety Checklist For Motorcycle Riders

I sarted riding motorcycles when I was 11 years old.  SO I know as well as anybody that all we want to do on a beautiful day is hop on the bike and go.

But following a quiock and simple checklist before rising your motorcycle is a real good idea.

So here's what I do.  Let me know if you think I missed anything.

The "walkaround"

The first thing you should do before writing your motorcycle is take a good look at it with the garage lights on. In other words, in a well lit area.

Walk around the motorcycle. Are the tires flat? Are there any loose cables or nuts or bolts? Is there damage to the mirrors or the tires? Are the handlebars bent? Is the motorcycle leaking any fluid?.

Taking a good look at the motorcycle before you start writing can often expose problems all by itself.

Tires

Check for tread where and tire pressure. Are the sidewalls of the motorcycle tires damaged? Are there nails or glass in the tire?

Brakes

With the motorcycle off its kickstand and you pushing the motorcycle, apply the handbrake.  Does the motorcycle stop?  While sitting on the motorcycle test the rear brake.  Does it stop?

When it comes to brakes, don't take any risks. If the brakes feel "mushy" or loose or they fail to stop the motorcycle under human power, you aren't going to stop while riding.

Lights

Make sure your brake lights, and turn signals and headlights all work. If you're going to be riding in the dark, make sure you can see your display or odometer. It's dangerous enough with other motorists who don't give motorcyclists enough leeway to ride without signals and lights.

Mirrors

Make sure your rearview mirrors are adjusted properly and allow you a clear view of what's behind you. If they are cracked or damaged, replace them. You need as much information and feedback while writing your motorcycle to avoid problems.

Bent or damaged frame

This should probably be visible on your visual inspection "walk around" but if the frame of the bike is bent or something feels "off" when you sit on the bike, you could have broken welds or other serious frame problems with motorcycling you should not ride.

Oil or gas leak

If the motorcycle is leaking any fluids, it's probably a really bad idea to ride. If your motorcycle is the leaking gas or oil, you could have a fire as soon as the engine gets hot. You can also irreparably damage your engine if you are writing without proper oil.

And who wants to run out of gas?

Check for leaks, but also look to see that your levels are appropriate. That goes for the brake fluid as well if you have hydraulic brakes. A brake fluid leak can result in brake failure halfway through your ride, and you do not want that on a motorcycle.

Battery level

If your motorcycle is equipped with a battery, make sure that the battery charge is good, that the battery isn't leaking or faulty. The last thing in the world you want is a motorcycle that won't start when you need it to.

Your safety equipment 

Do you have sunglasses or clear lenses for riding your motorcycle in the dark? Are you wearing appropriate attire, as in an appropriate jacket and pants, perhaps with ballistic inserts, to ensure that if you take a tumble you can avoid road rash. As someone who has had road rash, believe me, you should avoid it.

Does it start?

Once you've completed the rest of the inspection, start the motorcycle. Does the engine run smoothly? Or does it die out? Are you leaking fluids after you start the motorcycle? If you put the motorcycle in gear does it go into gear and operate as you expect.  Is the clutch mushy or loose?

You should never take a motorcycle that isn't running properly on the road. You could be stranded, and a loss of power could mean that you're not able to get out of a tough situation.

If you follow these guidelines, you are well positioned for a fun and safe motorcycle ride.

I hope this brief rundown of what to check for a safe motorcycle ride was of help.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, maybe I can help.   Please feel free to give me a call at 312-500-4500.

As a lifelong motorcycle rider, I know it can be hard to be at to get a fair shake, and I know that after an accident, folks have lots of questions. Please feel free to give me a call.

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Scott DeSalvo, Injury Lawyer - 312-500-4500


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