Thinking of getting a motorcycle

I am thinking of getting a motorcycle. A buddy of mine has an old Honda CB350. It looks like this one in the below video — only orange and not as clean:

Since I want a bike, I looked around the InterWebs to find out a few tips for riding since I am a newb. Here’s a list of what I found.

Take A Safety Course

If you are an inexperienced rider, it is a great idea to take a quick safety course. These courses are typically a couple days and can be completed over a weekend. Each course reviews basic safety and also has a riding component so attendees are able to get out on a short course and practice some of the tricky skills such as stopping, starting, corners, parking, and other basic skills.

Wear Proper Gear

When riding a motorcycle, it is critical to wear the proper gear. Eye wear is crucial and required in most states. Ensure you have the correct eye, head, and skin protection while riding. Invest in a DOT approved helmet and mesh jacket with armor for a cool, comfortable, and safe ride.

Conduct An Initial Safety Check

Before taking off into the sunset, make sure your bike is ready to go. Check to see you have enough gas in your tank, that your lights are working, your horn is working, and inspect your breaks, break lines, and chassis so you don’t have any unexpected issues while on the road. Make sure your throttle, clutch, and brake are all accessible. Don’t use a motorcycle throttle lock for cruise control.

Get Used To Extra Weight

Riding alone is one thing; riding with a passenger is totally different. It is a great idea to take a quick ride around the block first before you set out to get used to having the extra weight on the bike. Get a good feel for how the bike handles with someone on the back. Train them to sit still and how to lean into corners. Keep in mind that having a passenger on the back of your bike is a trust exercise for both parties.

Keep A Safe Following Distance

It is easy to ride a bike similar to your car, but it is critical that you maintain a safe following distance to the car in front of you. It is often difficult for other cars to see motorcycles so maintaining a safe following distance has the dual benefit of allowing you ample time to stop and also allowing the surrounding cars the time to see you.

Watch Your Surroundings

In conjunction with maintaining a safe following distance, it is also important to stay out of blind spots. This is especially the case with the large trucks. If you are unable to see the driver, they cannot see you. This puts you in danger as they can change lanes at any given time and run you off the road.

Traffic is difficult to navigate on a motorcycle. It is essential that you assume cars will merge unexpectedly into your lane without a signal. Ensure you are visible to the cars behind you so if a car does merge quickly, other cars see you and have a chance to avoid you. Watch the car’s front wheel, not the driver. This will allow you to see the motion quicker and react better.

When cars stop at an intersection, it makes it even more difficult to see a motorcycle. Weaving slightly in your path and keeping closer to the center line will make you more visible to left turning cars.

If you notice a car approaching too fast at a stopped intersection, quickly move into the primary escape lane to avoid being it. Flash your break light to attempt to grab the attention of the approaching driver. While no one likes to see an accident, it is better for the accident to happen between two cars, rather than a car and a motorcycle where the rider can be seriously injured even in low impact accidents.